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In my extended social circle, some people are calling for unity and healing now that Joe Biden will be the next President. Others aren’t so sure that healing is really what’s needed.
The offer basically sounds like this:
It’s time to repair the wounded relationships between the people who supported a lying, racist sociopath for President and those who wanted to replace him.
That’s a crappy offer. It doesn’t land well. The most airy-fairy people I know seem to be swallowing it and trying to invite people into some awkward reconciliation phase, but most seem to be declining this offer and searching for a better one, at least for now.
There’s some stress and sadness too because people aren’t sure if there is a better offer on the table right now.
The problem with this offer is that this election wasn’t really about the usual politics where otherwise good people may have different views about certain subjects. This election went into much darker territory.
Even though Biden won, which caused great relief, lots of people around the world (and in the USA too) were still shocked and dismayed to see that more than 70 million Americans cast their ballots for Trump – voting against racial justice, against global cooperation, against the environment, against human decency, against science, against health, and against so much more that people care about. How can they not see this as being so, so backwards in this day and age?
And it is truly backwards. My international friends are right in their assessment.
While some blame the media, Trump has been one of the most communicative Presidents ever. Anyone can watch his speeches or read his tweets. Even when there’s a Twitter warning label attached, you still get to see the original messages. There’s an over-abundance of primary source material for all the world to see. Fox News may add fuel the fire, but there’s more than enough coming from the White House itself, direct and unfiltered.
More people voted from Trump in this election than voted for Obama each times Obama won. Fortunately a lot more people voted overall, which pushed Biden into record territory, gaining more than 75 million votes.
So what do people of good conscience do about this?
Some people are starting with a bit of celebrating. People have been dancing and cheering in the streets in some cities. But it’s a bit of a black celebration. Even if you do celebrate, what comes next?
Do we now offer hugs and handshakes and say, “Oh well, your guy lost the election… better luck next time”?
Are we suppose to pretend that people who voted for Trump are just good people who slightly lost their way or just voted for their party or for financial reasons? And now that he’s on his way out, they should be fine in a month or two?
I think a lot of people realize that there’s no going back. The cat is out of the bag. Too many Americans scared the hell out of the world, first by voting for Trump in 2016 and then again this year. Now the world and the rest of the country want answers – why did this happen, and what will be done to prevent this from happening again?
Patching things up with delusional friends and family members isn’t going to cut it. That would only be a temporary bandage, and too many people would still be left with a feeling of lingering dread that we could be right back here again in 2024.
There are complex issues to be unwound and resolved regarding causes and solutions. I’m not going to get into that now, but at this point I will say that I think a first good step is to decline the healing offer. It’s a phony offer, tantamount to sweeping these issues under the rug. We can’t do that. This was a wake-up call, so stay woke about it.
I for one won’t be reaching out to ex-friends who went nutter and became Trump supporters. This has nothing to do with politics. And it’s not really even about values or beliefs, however delusional those beliefs may be. It’s about their behaviors and the effects of their behaviors. I hold them accountable for their actions. To offer some form of healing is just foolish at this point.
Such people didn’t wound me. They just caused me to lower my assessments of them. They violated my boundaries for friendship, and so they got tossed out of my social circle. I’m not going to invite them back in if the boundary violations would remain unresolved.
This isn’t about holding a grudge, and it’s not about forgiveness. It’s about the importance of maintaining healthy boundaries and intelligent standards. I’m not going to reach out just to be re-exposed to such people’s misaligned behaviors and fanciful conspiracy theories. They’ve shown me how low they’re willing to go, and I accept that as their choice.
It’s not even really accurate to say that I don’t trust them. I do trust them to continue behaving as they’ve been behaving. I trust that they’ll continue promoting conspiracy theories, being okay with lying, promoting racist ideas, voting in support of racist policies, and taking irresponsible actions that will result in more infections and deaths. I trust that what they’ve shown me is likely to continue in some form, and I’d rather remain aware of this instead of pretending that it isn’t there.
I will not be an enabler for such people, so I won’t invest in relationships with them. There is nothing to heal because this isn’t a wound. It’s simply part of reality to be accepted.
Truth alignment is empowering. Start by looking at the USA and acknowledge that yes, a whole lot of Americans really have gone full-tilt nutter. Let that sink in. There’s no need to resist this realization.
Even though it may seem otherwise, my relationship with such people is still rooted in compassion. That’s because I was raised as a religious nutter myself. I can look at the Trump supporting nutters today and still recognize something of myself in them. I don’t feel like it’s impossible to understand them. But that doesn’t mean I’ll let them drag me into the nutter abyss with them, and it doesn’t mean I want to invest in listening to their daily nonsense; I’ve done enough of that to last a lifetime.
When I was a religious nutter (and a different kind of nutter a bit later, like a shoplifting nutter), it didn’t serve me when non-nutters swept my nuttiness under the rug and still tried to relate to me based on our commonalities. That just empowered me to remain in nutter land. They might have thought they were being tolerant, but they were just being short-sighted and foolish. They weren’t doing what was best for me.
What really helped was when I encountered people who stood firm in non-nutter land, and they made it clear where I was standing. Their certainty (which was really truth alignment) nudged me to start having doubts, which led to reconsideration of my beliefs, which led to a whole lot of growth and transformation. This in turn eventually led to helping more people escape nutter land, people who expressed gratitude for this afterwards.
Nutters don’t need hugs and handshakes to patch things up. They need constant and unwavering reminders that they’re standing in nutter land. They need truth, not denial and pretending.
Being a Trump supporter is stupid, plain as day. The reasons people use to justify such behavior are irrelevant. Voting for Trump is a stupid action, no matter the reason. We can assess its stupidity based on the results alone, which are measurably dreadful.
Being a Trump supporter was stupid four years ago. It was stupid a week ago. And it’s stupid today. If you are a Trump supporter, your behavior is stupid, no doubt about it. You don’t have to remain in nutter land though. There is an exit door. Walk through it when you’re ready.
I’m here to support, encourage, and serve the non-nutters of the world. The only service I offer to the nutters is to doggedly remind you that you’re still in nutter land, but you must choose to leave. That’s the gateway that shifts you from unconscious growth to conscious growth.
If you choose to stay in nutter land or if you pretend you’re not there when it’s pretty damned clear that you are, then I’ll just keep reminding you how dreadfully stupid you’re being. And if you don’t banish me from your life for good – if you keep that door open just a tad – then we both know you’re eventually going to leave nutter land and come play with the smart people. It’s only a matter of time.
Personally I don’t think nutter land should be abolished. I think it serves a worthwhile purpose. Its presence can be healthy for us, especially as a reminder. The presence of nutter land raises the stakes and helps us gain clarity about what we’d like to create and experience instead. If supporting Trump is ridiculously stupid, where is the ridiculously smart path? I think it’s good to be aware that nutter land is always nipping at our heals, challenging us to dream bigger and bolder and to not get complacent.
Nutter land woke me up too during the past four years. The sheer lunacy of that last four years got me feeling more engaged in the game of life. It got me to finally register to vote for the first time ever. And I must say that it was fun casting one of the votes that kept Nevada blue. I picked a good time to start voting. It really did feel like my vote mattered. I loved being part of the team that said to the nutters, “You shall not pass!”
They also helped me see the importance of being anti-racist (not a passive non-racist), including participating in a diversity committee in an organization I belong to, which is still ongoing.
The nutters reminded me of the importance of full engagement with life. And for that I actually feel grateful. I’m still going to stand firm against their various insanities though.
So I don’t think polarization is a problem. I think it’s good and healthy. The more extreme the nutters become, the more their behavior encourages me to sculpt my character in different ways – if only to counter-balance their nuttiness. The more they assert their insanities, the more they encourage me to grow in ways I may have been overlooking.
So the healing offer is declined. There’s nothing to heal. There is a lot of work to be done, but the nutters can’t stop us from doing it. They’re just going to make everyone else stronger, more attentive, and more resolved. And many nutters will soon leave nutter land because nutter land is becoming a dreadful place to stay.