I awoke this morning to yet another day of negative social media bombardment about Trump. It seems that people cannot get enough of spouting off about how much they hate the man. And I started to wonder: at what point does this say something more about our current frustration as a society, and less about Trump himself?
First of all, I will state that I am not a Trump supporter. Hopefully this declaration will enable people to keep reading.
There has been an overabundance of negativity recently in the news, with killings of police suspects and policemen, on top of terrorist attacks. Hence, it surprises me that people feel the need to add to this negativity by turning social media, particularly Facebook, into a hail of bullets. A psychologist might argue that Trump serves as a convenient entity through which people can channel their rage.
Whatever the case, I can safely say that all of this negativity is not good for the individual. Negative, hateful thoughts do not make your day any easier. And therefore, I would like to help put things into perspective.
Save your Breath
To begin, there are two types of people who will vote for Trump: those who have already made up their minds to do so, and those who will vote for him out of sheer spite. The former have heard every attack against him for nearly a year. Their minds aren’t changing, no matter how many negative posts there are on Facebook.
Regarding those who will vote out of spite, it is a lesson in psychology: pick on someone enough, no matter how distasteful they may be, and people will start to feel sympathy for him, and even defend him.
Furthermore, at this point, is there any need for people besides Trump to help him dig his own grave? Why bother?
Perhaps people are bothering because there is not exactly a wealth of positive things to say about the opposing candidate. One would think that most Trump-haters would spend their energy in singing Hillary’s praises. But interestingly, Trump-haters aren’t necessarily Hillary-supporters. This is not surprising, given Ms. Clinton’s scandals and her overall personality problem.
Yes, we are faced with the two most unpopular presidential candidates since 1964. However, Barry Goldwater was a gentleman compared to Trump, and Lyndon Johnson, whatever his faults, was a darn sight more likeable than Hillary. In a nation of 300 million people, we have managed to put two people up for office who we wouldn’t even want to have as casual friends.
The Bright Side
It is said that “every cloud has a silver lining”. In this case, the silver lining is the realization that the Republican Party is no longer functional. I say this not as a Democrat or Independent, but as someone who has seen this party mistreat society since the 1980s and who wants to see it finally go. It chose to support the rich rather than the middle class. Its demise is well-deserved.
Trump’s candidacy is symbolic: it symbolizes the death of a party. That a major institution calling itself the “Grand Old Party” cannot put up one statesman in the primaries to defeat a loudmouthed businessman with no political experience is pathetic, and indicative that the party is imploding under selfishness, extremism, and faction.
The party’s tenets — Big Business, trickle-down economics, and its own narrow definition of family values — have shown to be inapplicable to the present state of the economy and society. Whether they were ever applicable is a matter of opinion, but now they are anachronistic. The GOP has used “family values” as an opium to deflect attention from its support for supply-side economics, but now even middle-aged would-be Republicans from the declining middle class are starting to see through the ruse.
The gradual disappearance of the middle class — the fact that intelligent, hardworking, educated people will not be able to afford the same lifestyle as their parents — is an issue which the Republicans cannot deflect. Without a middle class, we see people in their 30s, and even their 50s, suffering a drop in lifestyle, something which is bound to cause anger. Without a middle class, the poor have two options: to settle on being poor, or to aspire to be filthy rich. Both are dangerous. The former causes inaction, defeatism, and a lack of progress. The aspiration to be filthy rich, without a structure to attain it, causes frustration, rage, and violence. Yet the Republican Party has chosen to support the wealthy.
The GOP will go the same way as its predecessors: the Federalists and the Whigs. Like the Federalists, it will continue, for some time, to be popular at the state and town levels. Eventually, as it will have no leaders on a national level, it will disappear completely and become a part of the history textbooks — serving as a lesson.
So here’s the positive side: with the impending death of a party, we have the opportunity to start a new one, which will give priority to preserving and sustaining the middle class. Instead of channeling anger into hatred for The Donald, channel it into thinking what we can create as a replacement. Take that energy and pour it into learning how we can fix the problems that the Republicans and Democrats don’t seem willing or able to fix.
I do not want to spend the next three months surrounded by the current barrage of negativity, nor do I think this negativity is healthy for any of us. Like I said above, the detractory remarks and posts against Trump are superfluous. Instead, it is a time for us to focus on ourselves. If this presidential race is indicative of anything, it is that our society – our middle-class society, which used to be the envy of the world – will not be saved by politicians. It’s up to us to set things right, and that all starts with being a lot more positive.
Tom McKinley is the author of self-help book Winning the Fight to Be Happy