Predictions for 2017, or “How to Survive the Unthinkable”

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Predictions for 2017, or “How to Survive the Unthinkable”

by Elena Greco

January 22, 2017

This is an unusual year. It started with the Inauguration of a new President who is unlike anything this country has ever seen, and who is perhaps the biggest threat to our country’s continuation as a great democracy that we have ever seen. That Inauguration followed an election unlike any in our country. And the fun is just beginning!

I’m going to discuss the election and our new President, but this article is not about Donald Trump. It is about us. We as Americans are being forced to take a look at what it means to be an American, and to think about what our country is going to become. This is not the time to feel helpless; we are not!

Not a leader. Donald Trump is a narcissist in the textbook sense. A narcissist sees others as objects to be manipulated for their own needs; they lack empathy and compassion and do not have the ability to relate to people. Trump also appears to be a compulsive liar, and to be emotionally stunted, seemingly stuck in a 12-year-old mind (with a 12-year-old’s vocabulary and ability to focus). He obsesses over his numbers—numbers of viewers, numbers of attendees, numbers of voters. It is all about showing that he’s “the best.” Anyone who disagrees with that is shown the kingly “off with his head” position that Trump frequently takes. That position can easily shift from day to day as Trump’s moods and needs change, which is one way he (knowingly or unknowingly) keeps everyone around him in a state of fear. He is also known as a con man by those who know him best, the businessmen who have been on the unfortunate end of his swindles. He can be charismatic and convincing, which is how he stays afloat, but pity those who buy the package, as they will surely come to an unfortunate end.

These are clearly not traits of a great leader. They are certainly not the traits of a President of the United States. And yet he was elected—by our electoral college, at least—primarily because of his ability to use his charisma and con-man double-talk to sway voters who were looking for a change. Yes, some of his supporters are Neo-Nazis (alt-right) and Tea Partiers who wanted to get their foot in the door of our government, but I believe many of his supporters were just ordinary people in Middle America who were tired of being tired, tired of being hungry, tired of not being able to get even a toe-hold on the American Dream of having a decent life if they put in a hard day’s work.

His supporters. So I think it’s important that we not attack each other, even those who supported Trump. Most of them really didn’t understand what and who they were voting for. I watched a show (before the vote) in which Trump supporters were asked how they got their information. Without hesitation, virtually every single one of them said that they got their information from right-wing news websites or occasionally from mainstream news. Curious, I went to quite a few of those right-leaning websites, and without exception, none of them were publishing any of the disturbing news coming out about Trump even before the election. And at that time, virtually none of the mainstream media news shows were, either. And they still do not!  I believe that the majority of his supporters really do not know the facts about him, and about the continuing unfoldment of shocking allegations, many of which appear to have legs, because they never see or hear about them.

I think that explains why his supporters sometimes appear to believe that those of us who are so upset about his election, and our determination to fight what we see as a real threat to our country and our democracy, is simply that we’re “sore losers.” They really do not seem to understand that this is not about our candidate losing a race to another candidate. It is MUCH more than that. We believe our country is under siege, and as loyal, patriotic Americans, we believe it is our duty to save it.

Impeachment. But more important than having a narcissistic child-man with no leadership skills in the most important office of our government are the forces that are behind him. I’m not talking about the voters. The old-guard Republicans who were responsible for putting him in that office have plans. And they don’t include “we the people.”

I predict that Donald Trump will not finish his term, and quite likely will be impeached in his first year. He will make rash decisions that endanger the country, indulge in foolish behavior and antagonize other nations, and the Republicans will collude behind closed doors, and decide to correct things.  His past will catch up with him; the massive debt he owes to Russia and other countries, his secret dealings with those countries, the personal peccadilloes and more will bring him down. The only question is when.  That will depend partly on how long the current investigations into him take, and partly on whether independent groups such as Anonymous publish new information.

When Trump is impeached (or steps down), some of his followers will be quite content with Mike Pence as President (which is probably what the Republicans had in mind all along). Those of us who understand what is truly at stake will not be, and that is when we most need to unite. What we do in the next few years as a society, as a group, as Americans, will determine the future of this country.

And speaking of Pence, Mike Pence and Steve Bannon are the ones actually calling the shots now, while Trump distracts us with his temper tantrums and insane tweets.  Don’t take your eye off the ball!

It is pointless to try to convince Trump’s supporters of these issues at present, as I believe they are at the effect of Trump’s persuasive techniques, in a sense brainwashed. And really, why do we need to? In order to protect our country, all we need to do is keep ourselves informed to the best of our ability about what is happening, and then unite and support each other in doing what has to be done to keep our country healthy. Most of all, we need to avoid giving in to despair and checking out.

The dangers ahead.  Whether or not he is impeached, I do fear for some dire changes in our country, at least in the short term.  Our society and culture as a whole will be compromised, human rights could be trampled, women could be harmed, science will be hamstringed, the planet will be endangered in numerous ways, our landscape and natural resources are in danger, and our water and food supplies might well be compromised.  There are powerful forces at work in our government that reach far beyond Donald Trump.  In addition, I believe there will be at least one major event involving China, plus an event involving one other country, that will negatively affect our country.  However, I have hope that we will pull together and prevent the worst of these things from happening.

I would also add that I would imagine that during this Administration, it might seem that the economy is improving. That is what typically happens when Republicans are in power.  Then when they leave, the next Democratic President finds themselves with an enormous deficit to deal with, and that Administration takes the heat for the true, unfortunate state of the economy.  This has happened repeatedly.  However, in this particular case, there is much lasting damage that can be done, much more than in the past.

United We Stand. Yesterday, when I saw the sheer numbers of women participating in the Women’s March, not only in cities all across our country, but in our small towns, many of which were in Red States, as well as in cities all over the world, from Ireland to Antartica, I was greatly moved. Huge numbers of women everywhere in the world were uniting to say, “We’re standing up for ourselves; we will not let you take away our rights; we’re here to be heard; and we are together as ONE.” There were several times the number of women (and those who support women) at the March in Washington DC yesterday than there were at the Presidential Inauguration. The videos and pictures from these events were awe-inspiring in their scale.

In order to truly make a difference in our country in the coming few years, it’s important that we focus on the ideology and not the person. These marchers were FOR us as women, not against Trump or the Republicans. If something is not for us—as women, as Americans, as evolved and evolving human beings—then we make it right. We do not need to annihilate anyone. We just need to make our presence known, and speak our truth. As we saw yesterday, we have the power to unite in great numbers and take action. That is all that is required.

Keeping our resolve; effecting change. It’s important that we not get tired, that we keep our resolve, our enthusiasm for our ability to change things for the better, our sense of togetherness, alive.

To that end, I have one seemingly small recommendation, but one that I think will save a lot of wear and tear on our psyches.

Trolls. If you’re on social media at all—and who isn’t now—you have likely experienced trolls. In case there is anyone alive who does not know what a troll is, an example is when someone who is conservative or Republican goes to a Timeline or Page that is clearly liberal or Democratic and posts something inflammatory about liberal beliefs or something irritating about a Republican belief or “alternate fact.” It is obvious to these trolls that their remarks are inappropriate and unwanted, yet they butt into a party to which they were not invited and post inflammatory comments. Would you go to a party celebrating Elvis and make negative or inflammatory remarks about Elvis to everyone there, insulting their taste? We would call that rude, correct? So a troll is someone who rudely posts unwanted comments on a Page or Timeline where they are clearly not invited.

Don’t take the bait! The intent of a troll is to provoke you. Do not ever take the bait. They know it’s rude to post their inflammatory opinion to your post; you don’t need to tell them that. They already know that you disagree with their opinion; you don’t need to tell them that. Their sole intention is to provoke you. Trolling is a form of non-physical violence, an aggressive act (done behind the faceless safety of a home computer, a cowardly provocation). If you don’t react to it, if you walk away, if you ignore them—you have won!

Again, one of the most effective things you can do to someone who is deliberately trying to provoke you, is to IGNORE them. That is the one thing that will (a) frustrate them and (b) make them stop. If you don’t respond to them, they’re talking to an empty room. So just don’t engage with them. Continue posting your positive thoughts on what needs to happen and what is happening and post the truth as much as you can, and ignore the trolls. You will save energy and aggravation, and keep your state and mood serene.

Options. You can choose to disallow posting or replies by non-Friends on Facebook so that you will limit troll posting if that makes you feel more comfortable. I choose to leave my posts open for any and all to see and Comment on, and if someone trolls or is otherwise disrespectful, I simply delete their post. Every has to decide what feels right to them and what works for them professionally and personally.

As for the Republican trolls who don’t seem to give up, even seemingly decent people who troll the well-meaning posts of people like me, they will understand soon enough what has happened, or else they never will. But someone who is in the frame of mind that they would troll someone doesn’t have basic good manners, and trying to engage with them as if they do is going to be pointless. Ignore them; delete their posts if they’re on your own Timeline; and if they’re trolling your Comment on another Timeline or Page or someone else’s post, either delete your Comment or ignore the post and move on. Another possibility is to Comment “Troll” to alert others not to waste their time figuring out or responding to the offending post, and move on. Whatever you do, DO NOT ENGAGE.

You know, even politics is an arena where Americans of a certain standard are expected to show good sportsmanship. Ungracious or crass winners are just as unfortunate as sore losers. I am sad to see that there are still quite a few Trump trolls on liberal or Democratic pages where good Americans are trying to console and uplift each other, giving each other hope for the future at a time when some of us are depressed or highly concerned. There’s a time and place, and this is certainly not it. However, again, we can choose to take the high ground, ignore or delete, and move on.

Another possibility. The flip side of not giving in to despair is ACTIVISM. We can each participate in whatever way is appropriate for us to create positive change in our society. I think there is much positive growth for our country and ourselves that can come out of the current debacle.

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