When Trump was elected president (god, will it ever get easier to type that sentence?), I couldn’t handle it. I refused to watch the news, or even listen to anything where it was possible that I might hear his voice. It was just too awful and I couldn’t deal with it.
Nine months later, I still won’t watch him or listen to him. This rule has served me well, especially when I read transcripts of something he said, the sole delivery system for Trumpspeak that I will accept. The odious content and repugnant ideas are all there, intact, but at least I don’t have to hear it.
Moments ago, I read a partial transcript of Trump’s comments regarding the incident in Charlottesville, in which he again blamed “both sides” and tried to lay blame at the feet of the “alt-left.” It made me violently ill, which I guess is just the way I’m going to spend this week, until further notice.
Luckily, I have a coping strategy. When I’m not feeling good, one thing that helps me feel better is to try to put something positive into the world. It is in this spirit that I offer the following.
I am in the unique position of knowing some people who voted for Trump, and who now regret doing so. I know this because they told me, and I respect them for doing so. I know people who committed ancient fuckups decades ago and will never apologize for them, so I get that it isn’t easy.
Where I feel real sympathy for these people is that they, too, see the guy on television, and they get to be reminded of the fact that they helped put him there. The closest comparison I can make is that they got infected with herpes, and despite regretting it and vowing never to make the same mistake again, they still have outbreaks for years. They get to see him in his capacity as the President of the United States and feel responsible for it.
To them I say, there are things you can do if you regret this and want to help undo it.
You can donate to politicians who are running against people who supported him. You can make a sign and march. You can canvas for candidates who you think can undo some of the damage that he’s doing, and that makes it a little harder for you to sleep at night.
There are a lot of things you can do to make this better, but it all starts with admitting your mistake publicly. Everything after that is easy. We all fuck up, some of us worse than others. But it’s important to remember that when you do, you can do things to mitigate the damage. You can learn from it and try to do better next time. And that starts with going public with your mistake and your apology.
You’d be surprised how much acceptance there is on the other side of that apology. Trump, in addition to being a white supremacist, is also a gaslighter and a liar, and what drives people crazy about that is the rank dishonesty of someone looking you right in the eye and lying to you. Publicly admitting your mistake, really, is all anyone wants.
On the other hand, if you voted for Trump and you think he’s doing a great job, or you think he’s not a Nazi apologist, or you think anything that’s in any way charitable to him, then I have nothing for you. I will pray to god every night before I go to bed that the next Confederate statue that gets pulled down lands squarely on your genitals, rendering you unable to reproduce.