A guide to personal recovery from Trump
Taking ownership of the past four years
My middle eastern ex would repeat compulsively “hamsa hamsa” to protect himself against the evil eye. Plasticky “hands of god” would be hanging in every corner of the DC house we shared. I vaguely remember him throwing salt over his left shoulder in dire situations. I am not superstitious. I don’t believe in “jinxing” stuff. No offense, besides to him, but I think superstition is for the weak-minded.
I can tell you confidently that Trump is going to lose on November 3rd. On January 20th, he will be stuffing his antics and belongings — including Richard Grenell, Jared and Ivanka hopefully — in the back of his stretch limo and head to Mar-a-Lago. We will hear from him sporadically and then one day he will be completely gone sealed in a coffin of gold and cheap velvet silk in the Florida swamp. In fact, once I have written this piece, I am going to book a room at my club for the Biden inauguration — because I need some inspiration in my life — and then drive to my storage unit to get a suit and a decent umbrella out of storage.
Now is time to think about recovery. And while the Biden administration is going to bring back some normalcy in our lives, recovering from 4 years of Trump is going to demand more radical individual actions than waiting passively for politicians to restore our dignity. In fact, counting on Joe and Kamala to restore our belief in American ideals is as superstitious as throwing salt above one’s shoulder.
Because American ideals of freedom, justice and equality for all are dependent of our personal ideals of honesty, integrity, knowledge, common sense and service to a greater good. There would have been no battle of Trenton without an inspired youth ready to make sacrifices. When we give up this thrive for a better self is when our common vision collapses.
The first step will be for us to finally admit that WE ARE ALL TRUMP For four years, democrats (and some republicans) have bought into a narrative that Trump is an aberration. Get rid of Trump and you get rid of the problem! But now is the time to face the fact that Trump is the result of our culture’s decline and that the sum of our individual behavior created that culture.
Culture is the “outlook, attitudes, values, morals, goals, and customs shared by a society”. Therefore, if one wants to change culture, one needs to have a close look at its personal beliefs, ethics, desires and behavior. And then adjust them to match it to the collective culture he would like to see emerge.
Ultimately our individual behavior and the influence it has on people next to us is where our only power resides. The way we conduct ourselves. The way we interact with our colleagues or with workers at the supermarket. The way we educate our children. The way we consume. What we read, what we watch and what we listen to. How we spend our time. Where and the reason why we travel. How we portray ourselves on social media. The impact of our vote every four years and our Facebook political declarations in election years pale in comparison with the impact of our daily actions.
Everybody can understand that the Trump years did not start in 2016. Our common obsession with wealth, fame, independence (misinterpreted as individualism) and physical appearance has only grown since the Great Gatsby was written in 1925. Our culture, not Trump, generated white rage, divisive politics and fake news. Trump was the final act in the drama, the end and culmination of a long process. And now that we had to face an orange caricature of ourselves for four long years, we have an opportunity to choose a different path.
Last night I closed “Heartland” a New York Times bestseller and an eye-opening depiction of poverty in America that I was attempting to read by the fireplace, so I could watch the new “Borat” on Amazon prime in my bed. Thursday night it was “Emily in Paris”. And the night before that I fell into a rabbit hole of TikTok memes and Instagram abdominals. Each time, I rested my head on my pillow afterwards with the vague feeling that I had given up on something important. It is that carelessness that I share with Trump. The retreat in the face our instincts, impulses and superstitions. Starting on November 3rd, I commit to do better and take responsibility for the past four years and the years after that.