HOW TO DEAL WITH A BULLY
It was a depressing conversation, because there are lots of really great columnists who are: a) smarter, b) more eloquent, and c) certainly harder working than we are.
But we bring two strengths that our competitors may lack.
We’re pretty sure that David Brooks, Richard Cohen, Timothy Eagan, Gail Collins, Dana Milbank, Karen Tumulty, Dr. Paul Krugman, E.J. Dionne, and our particular fav, the Washington Post’s hilarious and brave Alexandra Petri, presumably don’t use their backyards as bathrooms, and therefore, they are not as connected as we are to America’s true grassroots.
And while we are far removed from the wolf packs and feline prides of our ancestors – in fact, we live embarrassingly sheltered lives as we are waited on day and night by our resident Humans – our genes likely retain residual knowledge of what takes to survive The Jungle.
You know whom we mean: the sadistic, narcissistic, psychopathic, racist, lying, worst comb-over ever, Putin-loving, environment-hating cad who has cowed an entire political party, out-maneuvered every opponent and confounded every pundit, historian, pollster, fact-checker and countless other “expert” experts, by losing the popular vote but still managing to move into 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington DC, 20500.
And he's destined to remain there another two years, although even that cannot be said for sure, because with the current resident, anything is possible, including the chance he’ll get bored with his current job and slither back to Mar-a-Lago and The What’s-His-Name Tower in Manhattan.
Now, where were we?
How the heck should we know?
We are just a dog and a cat, and we are uniquely susceptible to being bullied ourselves, given that one of us weighs only 51 pounds, and the other is just 13 pounds, which is obese for a cat, but still leaves us pretty much at the mercy of any man or beast who wants to push us around.
But like our competitor/colleagues, Mr. Brooks, Dr. Krugman Ms. Petri, etc., etc., we are not paid to admit that we have no answers. (In fact, we aren't paid at all).
What follows is our best guesses, straight from the grassroots and The Jungle:
Do NOT try to out-Trump Trump.
Trump is a master of the insult; he can’t be humiliated; can’t be shamed.
Even if you succeed in learning the Donald’s black arts, you and the rest of us will lose, since the last thing the planet needs are more Donalds.
Further, you don’t want to want your kids to grow up acting like Donald Trump. Nor do you want to wake up every morning with that face leering back at you from the bathroom mirror.
Do NOT play on his terms. The talented Harvard University professor and now U.S. Senator, Elizabeth Warren, is in a position to write the ultimate academic and political case study on that topic.
Hoping to escape Trump’s relentless taunts, calling her “Pocahontas,” she fell for his challenge to “prove” that her ancestry includes Native American roots by taking a DNA test. Thr test proved nothing, and she drew the scorn of Native Americans, while removing herself as a viable replacement resident at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Do NOT fall for Hollywood’s remedy, in which the “Dad” equivalent character, humiliated by the sight of his bloodied, bruised and whimpering “Son,” instructs the lad to return to the schoolyard at the earliest opportunity, but this time carrying a baseball bat. “Beating the shit” out of someone sounds as criminal and wrong as it is likely to be unsuccessful and counterproductive.
So, you ask, what do you do with a bully like Donald Trump?
So here they are:
DO call out the bully, as well as his enablers. It’s the Republicans, after all – the McConnells, the Ryans, the Grahams and the rest of the suck-ups, brown-nosers and cowards of the GOP, who are making his presidency possible, along with the mindless cult-followers who don’t care if Donald blows someone’s brains out in the middle of Fifth Avenue.
But unlike Trump, his followers can be humiliated and shamed. It may take a while, but history and possibly even some of Tuesday’s voters will look unkindly on the quislings' association with him.
DO counter-attack, but just don’t do it on Trump’s terms.
What should Professor/Senator Warren have done to deal with the Pocahontas insults? First, she was on the right track years ago, when opponents first questioned her ancestry references.
She made a convincing case that Native American ancestry was family lore and that it shaped her self-image, although her remarkable academic and political careers were not built on that association.
As for Trump’s insult, Warren should have called it for what it was and still is, a terrible slur: on women, on Native Americans and on all Americans. Proof of Trump’s racism, and another chance to stick him with that shocking but true label.
It's our belief that ultimately Americans don’t want a racist-in-chief living at Pennsylvania Avenue, any more than they want to be known as bigots themselves or are looking forward to a second Civil War.
DO provide a better vision of America than Trump has offered. Do talk about long-term job and income prospects for workers sidelined and frightened by new technology.
Propose a guaranteed living wage while we get this artificial intelligence stuff sorted out. Revive the idea that our immediate mission is to “save the planet” from global warming, and that we have less than a decade in which to do it. That's an undertaking which will create millions of new jobs that the robots can’t handle.
Healthcare for all. Affordable housing for all. Education for all. The New Deal never should be allowed to grow old. Nor should the noble words of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence ever become old-fashioned.
Ask what Americans can do for their country – a year or two of national service, perhaps?
Restore America’s honor as the leader of the free world.
Don’t be afraid to adopt the Other Party’s better visions: Reagan’s shining city on a hill, Bush’s thousand points of light, Teddy Roosevelt’s move to create and protect vast national parks.
America is as much an idea as it is a place, which is why so many people come here.
DO vote. Vote on Tuesday. Vote in 2020. Vote in the 2022 midterms. And in 2024.
You can’t stop a playground bully with a baseball bat. But you can beat him senseless at the polls.
Will it work?
Hey, we're just one cat and one dog, and we’re spoiled rotten at that.
But we’re speaking not only from the grassroots, but from our hearts.
And take it from a simple dog and a simple cat, we are not living in The Jungle. That may be a suitable place for a bully like Donald Trump to do his worst, but it’s no place to raise a family or a place that anyone in their right mind would choose to live.
And while you’re at it, put up a flag at your house.
It belongs to all of us.