Shun. Avoid. Ignore.
And Keep the Bleachers Empty
WE WRITE to you on April Fools’ Eve. It’s Day 71 of the Trump presidency, and by now, things can be said with certainty:
The election was a mistake. These things happen. They happen to dogs with gorgeous eyelashes. They happen to cats with low-slung stomachs. To families. To businesses. To Nations.
We do things, the wrong things, and the consequences can be terrible. Dogs see an open door and make a break for it and never come home (other dogs, that is). Cats run in front of cars (I wish). Families give their kids cell phones AND the keys to the car.
Democracies elect the wrong people.
As a candidate, Trump presented himself as unqualified, unequipped and unfit.
As a president, he’s proved it.
He is a liar.
He is cruel.
He is dangerous.
“SO WHAT DO we do about it?” Cat asked. This was earlier today, at our regular morning news meeting, and we were debating whether we should post a Special April Fools’ Edition of the blog.
Cat was totally opposed to that idea.
“Why?” I asked
“Because the election wasn’t a prank,” Cat said. “Trump is no joke. Associating Trump with April Fools’ Day makes it seem like it was just a harmless prank, which can be undone, or a joke that didn’t really happen."
Cat was on a roll.
"The election happened, Trump won, Trump was inaugurated," Cat said. "And, as he told a Time reporter: ‘I’m president and you’re not.’ ”
So Cat and I came up with this premise:
Any rational community – a pack of dogs, a herd of cats, the world’s oldest and greatest democracy – would never put up with a disaster like Trump.
Nobody wants a president who makes things worse, who makes people feel miserable when they wake up every morning, who’s trying to cut medical research, who's hoping to foul the air, pollute the water, bankrupt the sick, hate the immigrants, wreck the economy, steal from the poor and give to the rich.
So, here’s our suggestion for The Duration: let’s have nothing more to do with Donald J. Trump. Just because he won the election doesn't mean we're obligated to treat him like an actual president, to let him enjoy his time in office. He should be shunned, avoided and ignored.
SO, IF YOU’RE a reporter, don’t bother going to his press conferences or collect his Tweets. He’s a liar, meaning there’s nothing to be gained by repeating what he says. The Washington Post’s feature that tracks presidential falsehoods, says he’s only had three days in which he hasn't lied in public: on March 1, March 12 and March 19.
Instead, reporters should cover what he actually does: sign bills and execute orders. They should report on the consequences. Dig. Work hard. Get the truth out. Call your sources. Keep at it.
If you’re a Republican, stop enabling him; so far, you’re responsible for making Trump possible. If you are a Democrat, get in touch with your inner-progressive and come up with good ideas, which you haven't done since the New Deal.
Whatever your side of the aisle: do your job as one of the three branches of government. Sit quietly during the next State of the Union speech, if there is one. No more of that standing ovation nonsense. Don’t pass Trump’s bills. Don’t approve his nominations. Skip White House dinners..
Do hold hearings. Do investigate conflicts of interest. Get to the bottom of the Russia thing. Pass your budgets, not his. Fund medical research, fight global warming, protect the water, heal the sick, feed the hungry, protect public schools, clean the air, publicize Trump’s tax returns. Make America proud.
If you’re the chief executive officer of a car company and are invited to a Washington jobs summit, stay in Detroit. If you’re a prime minister, stay in London. If you’re rich, vacation in your own summer place. If you’re an economist, keep to your ivy tower. If you win the Super Bowl again, stay in Foxboro.
Citizens, keep the bleachers empty. Don’t visit the White House. Don’t go to Trump rallies. If you are at an event where Trump is present, don’t applaud, don’t shake his tiny hand, don't clap. Do read (and pay for) the papers; watch the news; stay tuned; go to rallies; write your Senators; donate; join a party or found a movement; organize; run for city council. If necessary, if he shows up, turn your back.
And all of us, the next time we vote, let’s be careful.
SO LET’S CELEBRATE April Fools’ Eve, and not act like the election was a joke, or worry that the joke was on us.
Trump was just a mistake, not the end of the world.
Sure it was a big mistake, a scary mistake, an embarrassing mistake. But mistakes can be corrected, fixed and repaired.
It’s what democracies do.