There is a powerful and dangerous temptation to use the Orange Man as the baseline and fountain for our public discourse. I am not suggesting that we pretend that he is not the POTUS. What I am saying is that it is absolutely critical that we take responsibility for polluting our own minds and corrupting our shared discourse.
The bar for critical thinking and public discourse continues to fall. But do we ever see ourselves as complicit in this downfall? When Trump’s deficiencies become monolithic in our minds and totalizing in our discourse, we become the very thing that we criticize him for, defensiveness, inept at handling complexity, and intolerant of others.
With Trump as our lightning rod and barometer, our discourse has become brittle, scripted, and utterly divisive. We find ourselves hopelessly stuck, unwilling or too afraid to take personal responsibility for our part in this disaster. It’s as though we have forgotten how to think and talk about life without reverting to the faulty logic and grammar of politics.
So, if you are genuinely sick of all this shit, and you are tired of looking at this “Valley of Dead Bones”, I have a suggestion for you. Try repeating the following mantra: “Trump may be the president of my country, but I refuse to make him either my ‘leader’ or my ‘mis-leader.’ When called upon, I may be willing to die for my country, but that does not mean that I am willing to live for it!”