We’ve all have had it happen. A friend request appears on Facebook from an old high school buddy that you haven’t seen in 30 or 40 years and the initial feeling is “Wow, that’s cool, wonder what he’s been up to!?” Then the curiosity turns to shock as you see from his posts that he’s transmogrified into a raging alt-right Trump acolyte. Damn!
From that point on, after the obligatory “how’d the last 40 years go for ya?”, catch-up pleasantries, yer FB relationship turns into a collection of annoying salvos of oppositional political posts and reverberating, half-joking, thinly veiled loathing skirmishes.
But then the day comes when they finally send you something that demands a stronger reaction. For me, this came from an old friend from my hometown in Connecticut in the form of a three-word post: “Suck it up”. This was in response to one of my posts stating that Hillary was (for now) 1.5 million votes ahead in the popular vote. When I read his post, I was irked and dwelled on it for a few days.
However, over time, these three words began to take on a different meaning…one that was less irksome. Yah see, like many Trump fanboys, my friend was attracted to a tough talking, take charge, strong arm, allegedly apolitical character, who for every problem there is always someone (or some group) to blame. But not just blame, someone who can be hated and vilified, and from this blame Trump followers can nearly just about reach the point of an anger orgasm.
Upon realizing that, my old friend’s hidden message in those three words became clear. He was becoming aware, at a sub-conscious level, that the anger arousal phase of the campaign was over now and that soon he would be cut off from this addictive energy—Trump, the finger-pointing, rabble-rouser has now become Trump, the President-elect.
Shit was changing up fast for my friend and without even knowing it, he was advising me on a coping strategy that he was going to need to survive his own impending disappointment. He wasn't consciously aware of it yet but his psyche was prepping for the inevitable letdown and telegraphing it to me!
Thus, as a student of psychology, I figured I should return the favor and help him to process and transition these thoughts from the hidden world of the sub-conscious, to the bright light of objective reality. Since he was so kind enough to share them, the least I could do was to write him back with some empathy and information about how he could use the “suck it up” coping strategy more proactively and effectively.
Here is that post (slightly edited to protect identity of my old friend and my hometown)
I’ve taken a few days to consider your advice to “suck it up”. As ya know, life frequently gives us the opportunity to suck it up in the face of adversity and often times the effective use of such coping strategies can actually serve to prevent PTSD and, by contrast, lead to an experience of post-traumatic growth. On that path, I’ve reflected a bit and have come to the startling realization that in moving forward, I should count my blessings and that your own advice may actually better serve you and the rest of the minority bloc of US voters who chose Trump. Here’s why.
Trump promised to “drain the swamp” in Washington, and thus far he is populating his cabinet with a buncha olde, failed, musty-assed, mainstream rethuglican relics.
Trump promised to “drain the swamp” in Washington, and thus far, with the exception of the alt-right, white nationalist (euphemism for Racist/Nazi), Steve Bannon, Trump is populating his cabinet with a buncha olde, failed, musty-assed, mainstream rethuglican relics still reeking from the stench of the bygone Bush era and beyond. Add to that a shit ton of DC-based lobbyists, and it starts to look like the swamp is actually going to get a little bit deeper and murkier than what was promised!
I imagine it has to be heartbreaking for you to not see any real drainage of the vile DC muck, but instead, have to watch a recycling of the fetid sludge from a previous, failed administration, even to the point of the laughable resurrection of the long-dead, but somehow reanimated, corpse of the neo-con, Iraq war monger, John Bolton, as a contender for Secretary of State (and let’s not forget Romney as another also-ran establishment automaton being considered for the spot).
Thus, the “politics as usual” droids all seem to be thriving in this administration, although I suppose the blow is lightened for the alt-right faction of Trump supporters now that KKK-endorser Jeff Sessions, was picked to be attorney general. You remember this is the guy who was quoted as saying the KKK was, “OK, until I found out they smoked pot”. Aside from getting it wrong on both counts, he was determined to be so racist that his nomination to be a federal judge was rejected during the Reagan administration, at a time when bullshit like that typically got a pass.
So while Sessions comes with the credentials to appease the alt-right side that wants to make America white again, he is exactly the type of lifelong, conflict of interest-laden, moldy, olde school, crusty career politician that ol’ Trump promised to “drain” from the DC swamp! That must honestly be a real mouthful to have to “suck up”!!
Then there are some of the economic plans leaking out from Trump insiders that will be bad news for many of his supporters. First off, no matter what he said previously, the same big bank Wall Street tools that had screwed us so fiercely in 2007 (and continue to every mille second, Wells Fargo!) are not going away. In fact, Trump’s short list to head up the Treasury Department is packed to the rafters with these same white collar criminals that you loved to hate when they paid good money for a Hillary Clinton pep talk at one of their dinners! That’s gotta hurt, bro.
By contrast, for me and my family anyway, Trump’s plan to cut taxes dramatically on the upper 1-5%, kinda got me clickin’ my heels together in joy, since that means every time I go to a bar and order a beer, the first one (or maybe the first five) will be thanks to the Donald. With the benefit of this reduction in my taxes, each time I go out, I will raise my glass and toast Trump for actually covering these rounds, while supporting increased employment in the bartending industry, which is where my windfall tax reduction will likely trickle down to the most!!
By contrast though, I imagine there will be a fair bit of “sucking it up” by all the poor working stiffs that believed the Trump platitudes about making things better for them, as they realize that with saps like me drinking free on my reduced taxes, they will have to float my tab on their taxpaying backs. And with racist extraordinaire, Steve Bannon, trotting out a trillion dollar infrastructure budget line item, there are gonna be more bills to pay by those fiscally conservative, lower middle income white folks who thought papa Trump was gonna save their ass for them! Ouch!
Oh, and now we’re hearing that there are some parts of Obamacare that Trump wants to keep, like the “pre-existing condition” and the “stay on your parents insurance til age 26” clauses. How cool is that!!! So, instead of repeal and replace, were gonna keep the most costly parts of the affordable care act, but eliminate all the other parts that actually pay for young adults and folks with pre-existing conditions to be covered. No worries for me! I won’t have to “suck it up” with my USC-employer funded “Cadillac” health insurance coverage. But, this doesn’t bode so well and literally has gotta suck for the unemployed or low wage, angry, and desperate, middle class folks who voted for him. Especially if the time comes that one of their loved ones gets a cancer diagnosis and Paul Ryan shows up at their door with a Eddie Munster smile and $20K in healthcare vouchers to cover procedures that typically hit the $100’s of thousands. Goodbye life savings—time to “suck it up”!
Then there’s the right wing assault on Planned Parenthood and Roe vs. Wade that is sure to happen. Well, shit, I’m past the age where I gotta worry about that stuff, so who cares if more low income women can no longer make their own choice about their parenthood decisions and will require more public assistance to raise their kids—the costs of which of course will be borne again on the backs of the blue collar working stiffs who wanted to make America great again! Remember, my taxes are going down with Trump, so the money gotta come from somewhere, right? And the people making those decisions are the same trickle-down wingnuts that brought us to the economic precipice in 2007!
Moreover, for a group of angry folks who are so stridently opposed to government control or overreach, having Bible-thumpin’ red state politicians impose their religious beliefs on your daughters’ or grand-daughters’ decision-making about their own bodies has really gotta sting! Goodbye Constitutional protection for those who don’t ascribe to someone else’s 2000-year old fairy tale inspired religious doctrine. Start suckin’ folks!
Next, there is already the Trump walk-back on the 10-12 million immigrants that he promised to deport—to what he stated on 60 Minutes last week, now being about 2-3million of the criminal immigrants (which Obama has already been doing more than any previous president, including Reagan, by the way). That has gotta shake yer faith in Trump, just a little, eh? I mean the sycophants I saw chanting at Trump rallies led me to believe they actually wanted that shit???? Also, there’s been no real mention of that little wall that Trump promised you guys that Mexico was for sure going to pay for. So without the wall, who da hell is gonna cover the substantial increases in ICE and Border Patrol costs that will be required?
Oh well, to beef up security without the wall, they can always poach or eliminate the Department of Education budget, since education is way less important for makin’ America great again in the modern global economy, than protecting us from the migrant workers that pick our crops at substandard wages and other immigrants looking for better life in the USA (like what my grandparents and probably yours did)! And besides, a less educated populace has the added benefit of leading to more future voters for the rethuglicans. Long-term win for them, but in the short run, the duped lower middle class Trump voters will have to cover the costs, since my tax “relief” will be trickled down to the Liquor/ Brewing/ Bartending industries.
It reminds me of the similar ill-conceived and economically wasteful war on drugs. Ya gotta be worried that this is going to be yet another useless conservative, Washington-insider, feel-good, fool’s errand? I mean, do you really worry about your safety from immigrants? Anyway, that cost for enforcement will likely have to get picked up by all those struggling angry white former middle class folks who got deluded into voting for this thin-fingered vulgarian, since it’s not comin’ from my taxes (which again, I shall remind you will be goin down like an anchor with Trump’s plan)! Somebody’s gotta pick up the slack and “suck it up”, but it won’t be me!
And speaking of sycophants chanting at Trump’s historical recreations of those quaint 1930’s Munich beerhall style rallies, do ya remember the one about, “lock her up, lock her up, lock her up”? Your side of angry followers got woodies every time The Donald would ask you what he was going to do with Hillary Clinton if he was elected. Sadly for you, the actual reality is that we don’t live in some banana republic where such things are routinely done once you win power and control the military!
It must simply crucify your ranks that just the other day on “Morning Joe”, the same person who had just dished out 25 MILLION DOLLARS to “settle” the Trump University scam, stated that, “…when it comes to bringing in a special prosecutor, I don't want to hurt them [the Clintons]. They're good people." That has got to make yer head explode along with the collective heads of all your goose-steppin’ brethren who yearned for the day when she would be persecuted for all the conjured accusations of wrongdoing that have never been proven outside of the imaginary alt-right kangaroo court of your dreams, going back to Whitewater, Vince Foster, through the Benghazi and Email fairy tales. I mean honestly, Bill, how do you suck that one up?
And let’s not forget about those miners that Trump promised to get back to digging coal again. Aside from not having the courage to tell them that coal is no longer an economically feasible energy source, now having been displaced by natural gas, if it was to make a comeback, it would have to be heavily subsidized by the American taxpayers…the same ones that won’t be getting the same tax break that will lighten my liquor bill. And as a climate change denier, Trump really has no concern about the resulting increase in fossil fuel usage. This is in spite of the fact that the vast majority of credible scientists (oh, about 98%) suggest that this will lead to an increase in respiratory and other forms of cancer/illness and produce a rise in sea level that will create some real (and costly) problems for coastal cities.
Who is gonna pay those added healthcare and environmental costs? Not me—my taxes are goin down, and by the time this really hits hard, I’ll be long gone anyway.
Who is gonna pay those added healthcare and environmental costs? Not me—my taxes are goin down, and by the time this really hits hard, I’ll be long gone anyway. So Trump idolaters, start warning yer kids now about how they’re gonna have to “suck it up” in the future! I’ll be drinking in that great pub in the sky, while they’re gasping for an unpolluted breath while clinging to some flotsam while floating down Main Street.
Finally, there is the in-the-pocket-of-the-Russians-and-despised-by-most-other-military-generals, neo-con warmonger, Michael Flynn. Well, shit, I don’t have any kids to worry about being sent off to bumfuck Syria or Iraq, so let’s leave it to the young angry white working folks to send their kids off to spill their blood and minds fighting Islam in a 21st century rebirth of the Crusades. Military service is not a rich man’s job (see Trump and all of his family), so, Johnny Get Yer Gun!! As for me, a lot of my work is about fixin’ Veterans’ mental health, so damn, there will be plenty of new business ahead for me along with the promised increases in the military budget that will help lavishly fund my lab. Woohoo!!!
Anyway, I could go on and on about how my need to “suck it up” will be potentially very minimal in a functional sense. But I won’t rub it in. And in fact, I will admit that yes, I am being a little facetious here.
I certainly will be sucking it up from my progressive worldview as to what I believe is really right for all of the USA, the Planet, and Humanity in general. Yes, just like I wonder why all those people in the rethuglican-decimated middle class essentially voted against their interests by putting another rich rethuglican oligarch in power, I, too, voted against my own self-interest by voting for the candidate that would have likely raised my fair share of taxes as part of a thoughtful and nuanced plan to address the problems we all face.
Why is that? Perhaps it’s because sometimes yer own self-interest shouldn’t be the rudder that you want the nation or the world to be steered with. Sometimes a greater good should overrule what you believe will feather your own nest in the short run. And sometimes, maybe the goal in life is not to accumulate a lotta shit, but to share as much as ya can with those in need of the basics, but who didn’t have the same luxury of being borne into an advantaged family.
Regardless, I have moved from the gut punch reaction to the election to an almost whimsical, “what’s he gonna do next” critic role. But make no mistake, the MAJORITY (by over 2 million voters now) of the people who voted in the USA, did not vote for this narcissist orangutan in a smart suit, and we are NOT going away! So now we get to play the contrarian role and call you Trumpets on yer shit, every step of the way! Not sure which role is easier, but I do know that everyone is gonna have to “suck it up” now whether financially or ideologically. But either way old friend, the next four years are on your tab now! Drink up!