Tuesday, October 25, 2016

After Election Day?

(A  new thought on this day --In desperation to find one kernel of hope in this outcome I'm wondering if maybe the Republicans and Democrats can finally be united by the common enemy that is Donald Trump.) Please check out the more recent post regarding what to do the day after the day after. I first wrote this piece, thinking we would need to show compassion to those who voted for Trump after he lost.  I think that they may need even more compassion now that he has won.)

After Election Day?
In the last few weeks the outcome of the election has become more certain, but this has raised new worries.  It’s possible that some Trump followers might find this outcome further confirmation of the conspiracy belief that has been one of the driving dynamics of the election. I'm also concerned that the hostile, tribal and sports-style of the contest will leave a toxic residue. (Interesting that Mr. Trump was once involved in the professional wrestling world.)
         As a psychologist and hopeful American, I'm trying to think what approach will help the "losers" accept and find a positive way to address their lingering and legitimate concerns. I honestly feel compassion for people whose very real concerns have been hijacked into a personal campaign to prove self worth in an insecure mean-spirited man.
So now, what can be done? I want Clinton to acknowledge, in no uncertain terms, the problems of people who have felt powerless. It’s not surprising that some found a solution to the feeling by aligning themselves with the power of a man whose identity and desperate effort is to be powerful.
       There are some who support him due to party loyalty. There are some who do believe his recent connection with the conservative issues they hold. Some followers have been duped by the magical thinking, simple solutions and unrealistic promises. They appreciate that he “tells it like it is”, even when he so often tells it like it isn’t.
In addition to acknowledging the legitimate concerns, Mrs. Clinton must lay out and follow through on specific steps. Mrs. Clinton has talked about a big investment in infrastructure. More talk, more specifics and more action are all necessary.
Perhaps those principled Republicans who did put country above party by rejecting Mr. Trump will find a face-saving way to collaborate and create plans and projects that truly benefit their constituents --especially those who feel cheated and powerless. It would be wonderful to see what can be accomplished when neither side is seeking the credit, (nor trying to ascribe the blame.) What a gift it would be to the American people, after this divisive period, to feel that the people who represent us actually do.
Then, my next question is, “What can we as individuals do?” Maybe as Democrats we can shut up, not gloat and keep those in mind who have been left behind as Mr. Trump moves on to his next self-aggrandizing mission.
For our Republican brothers and sisters maybe it is time to contact their representatives and let them know that they will not blame them? They will not blame them for working with Democrats to create jobs and a better country for them!
There are probably better metaphors than “Don’t shoot yourself in the foot” or “Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face.” But the message is the same. Please don’t harm yourself (and us) in trying to harm the other.
My version of magical thinking is believing that there will be enough of us on both sides who agree on one thing -- we must demand that our representatives work together. For this to work, our job as citizens does not end when we leave the voting booth.

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