Monday, March 27, 2017

"The map is wrong" and Why It's Time To Ignore Trump

Living with an autocrat is never easy, not least of which because they can be erratic and unpredictable. Some of that unpredictableness comes from the fact that they warp reality around their assertions that their view of the world is the one and only correct view of the world. Let me give you an example:

When I was no more than seven or eight, I was having a discussion with my mom about a geography thing I learned at school that day. It was one of those "what did you learn today" moments. As I was telling her, my dad butted in with, "That's wrong."

Now, when I was a kid, I never held that typical belief that my parents were the ultimate authority on things. That was a view I held for teachers. Teachers were infallible. At least, at that point in my life, they were. So, of course, my response to my dad was something along the lines of, "But my teacher said..."

To which he responded, "Your teacher is wrong."

Some of you may have realized that I can be pretty... forceful... about the things I believe, and that has always been true, even when I was a kid, so an argument ensued. An argument which ended with the purchase of a map of the state, upon my insistence, because I was determined to prove that I was correct. We opened the map up, found the landmark, and...

I was right. It was just as I said from what we learned in class.

And my dad said, immediately, "The map is wrong."

I tried to argue. An argument which was cut short by my dad saying, "I'm right because I say I am."

I was, needless to say, flabbergasted. I just could not understand his insistence that he was right when, clearly, reality said otherwise.

It was also the very last time I ever argued anything with my dad. What was the point?
Also, that's a difficult lesson to learn when you're only seven or eight.

My dad also had that infuriating thing that you've probably seen in movies where he would ask me a question then yell at me not to "talk back" to him when I tried to answer. So, yeah, reality warping.

My tactic for dealing with him by the time I was in middle school was to just walk away. Literally. (And I have to say that it was actually quite satisfying, because it would leave him flustered and yelling, spittle flying out of his mouth as he did so. Seriously. (You didn't want to be close to him when he was yelling about something because there was always spittle.)) I refused to engage with him because you could never tell where you stood or what kind of crazy -- I hesitate to call them lies, because he was never "lying." -- untruth was going to come out of him. And you couldn't argue because facts didn't matter. He was right because he said he was. So, yeah, maybe it was disrespectful, but I would walk away, usually to my room but, sometimes, to outside.

And you know what? It would shut him up. I mean, after the "don't walk away from me while I'm talking to you!" part, that was the end of it. He never resumed anything later and there were never any consequences. Well, okay, there was the occasional "you're grounded!" that followed the bit about not walking away, but he never paid enough attention to ever enforce that; it just made him feel good to say it. Like he was actually doing something, I suppose.

Now, here's the punch line:
Trump is just like my dad. Or like my dad would have been if he'd had someone to give him a "small loan of a million dollars" to get him started off in life.

I realize what I'm about to say is more than impractical, but the way we need to be dealing with Trump, as a society, when he starts spouting nonsense is to "walk away." Ignore it. Deal with the actual business at hand and not pay any attention to his untruths. Because I'm pretty sure that Trump, also, isn't "lying." He's just saying stupid shit because
1. He's not very smart. and
2. He's right because he says he is; therefore, to him, anything he says is reality.

So here we are, two weeks later (as I write this and, probably, three weeks later as you read this), and we're still talking about Trump's completely unsupported and demonstrably false statement that he was wiretapped by Obama. Why are we still talking about it? Because we have allowed Trump to warp or reality. Rather than talking about him and his ties to Russia or any number of other things, we are now focused on whether Obama, the least scandalous President ever, had Trump under surveillance. With the British! Because Trump has to continue to warp reality to keep us focused on the wrong things. On non-things.

All of that to say this:
It's time to move the conversation back to where it should be, on Trump and the evil of his cohorts and how they are trying to ruin the world for everyone except the very wealthy. Because, actually, some of Trump's untruths are lies and, certainly, the people around him are lying all the time, just look at Flynn and Sessions for starters.

What we need to learn, as a society, especially the press, is that when Trump offers up something that comes without proof, something like "I was wiretapped," we need to not even acknowledge it. You stay focused on the actual story (in this case, it was the story about Sessions and how he lied under oath, but we haven't heard anymore about that since Trump made his completely fallacious claim) and resist chasing the squirrels that Trump is tossing into the room.

Personally, I think it would be great if we really could just walk away from him, just like I did with my dad. I bet Trump spittles, too, when he yells.


  1. Your dad had a lot in common with my mom. I've never thought of her in relation to Trump. Oh, dear.


  2. I don't know. This is a person who, as disgusting and horrifying as the thought is, wields a tremendous amount of power and what he says can't be ignored. Like what he said about the wiretapping is libelous at best and illegal at worst. Obviously it's more important we pay attention to the evils that group is perpetrating, but even his bullshit needs to be noted for the trouble it causes.

    1. Jeanne: Sure, you acknowledge it just long enough to say, "That's a lie," then you go on. When the media then spends two+ weeks dissecting the statement, he has achieved his goal of distracting us from the actual issue: his ties to Russia and Putin.
      And, now that the wiretapping thing has died down, he's started again by suggesting an investigation into Clinton's ties to Russia. Fortunately, I don't see the media running with that story yet.

    2. He uses his tweets and Kellyanne's stupid comments to distract people from the real story. I'm glad Rachel Maddow decided to stop covering his tweets.

    3. Janie: More people need to do that, just not cover the things he says. Almost all of it is just blame deflection.