I realize this is the unpopular opinion in most of my liberal peer circles, but I’m optimistic about President Donald Trump. In my opinion, he’s already made America great again. Before you start composing my death threat, let me explain why.
HE’S INSPIRED PEOPLE TO TAKE ACTION
Finally. I don’t feel inspired to attend a Women’s March—not because I don’t believe in the guiding principles behind the marches—but because I deeply resent the fact that it’s Donald fucking Trump, a trust fund baby who makes shit up as he goes along, who’s managed to finally galvanize our nation into action.
We should have been marching in the streets for years after we bailed out the banks in 2008, or during the decade-long war we’ve waged in the Middle East, or after it was revealed that the government was tapping our emails and communications. We should have never let the one percent become so rich. We should have never turned a cheek to genocide and our backs on Syrian refugees. We shouldn’t have allowed companies like Wells Fargo and Volkswagen still do business despite lying to and cheating hard-working Americans. The water in Flint is still undrinkable, and we let Newtown happen. We should have marched after every single incident—and we should have marched when Trump secured the fucking nomination in the first place.
HE’S FORCED US TO FOCUS ON POLICY
We’re lost in a forest of identity politics. Nowadays, we protest personalities, not policies. We protest feelings, not facts. There will be organizations at the Women’s March protesting policies, but you can’t deny that the big uniting factor, no matter what cozy rhetoric you cloak it in, is a deep hatred of one lone man.
Trump has been demonized to the point I worry liberals actually want him to become what they fear, “the next Hitler,” just to be vindicated. How do you create a self-fulfilling prophecy? Simple. You wish for the worst rather than working toward something better.
The “Trump is an authoritarian” narrative liberals have constructed is flawed. This is America. If you think it’s that easy for the United States to devolve into a totalitarian regime, you have no faith in our democracy—which is the exact opposite of Trump voters, who fully believe in democracy, because that’s what elevated their candidate.
Progressives need to stay focused on strategizing how to undercut congressional support. Take some notes from the Tea Party. Get ready to put daily pressure on Congress on the grassroots level. More important than protesting and boycotting, Democrats in Congress need to mitigate the consequences by asserting their interests and negotiate with the Trump Administration. Trump’s conflicts of interest leave him open to constant challenge. That’s an absolute fact that’ll beat feelings any day, and it needs to be activated.
HE’S REVEALED OUR BLIND SPOTS
I’m a resident of liberal Hollywood. Ever since November 8, 2016, I’ve felt alienated for my libertarian opinions, specifically for accepting the election results. I’m not pro-Trump, but I’m not anti-Trump either. I’m more “Let’s wait and see what his actual policies are and fight specifics.” But there is little room for nuance in the liberal media circle-jerk. I begrudge such a black-and-white mentality that automatically labels me a racist for accepting reality. The “You’re either with us or against us” mentality and histrionics do little for us.
HE’S FORCED US TO RECONSIDER OUR VALUES
About two years ago I tweeted “Kim Kardashian made $75 million dollars last year. Trump will be our next president.” Of course he won. Trump is more representative of our cultural values than were any of the other candidates. We worship fame, money and the cult of personality. We overpay our entertainers and athletes and underpay our teachers and first responders. We treat our veterans and the elderly like second-class citizens. You can’t tweet “Trump is Hitler” and two hours later tweet about #TheBachelor without accepting the connection between his rise and your love of reality TV. All of us are responsible for examining how we contribute to these values, directly and indirectly.
HE’S PROVEN JUST HOW ADDICTED WE ARE TO ENTERTAINMENT
As they say when you get sober, it takes what it takes. So, I’m grateful for Trump. For years I’ve feared that America is circling the drain and approaching rock bottom. Maybe Trump is our rock bottom and now, we can get better.
People want to ascribe all kinds of terrible reasons as to why he got elected: racism, sexism, xenophobia and foreign interference. All of those things exist in our America. Trump played on those heartstrings because he knew it would get reactions. The reality TV star knows how to create drama. And so, he turned our election into a reality show and we allowed it. Even if you didn’t like him, you couldn’t help yourself from rubbernecking at the scene of the accident. He won because a majority of us is addicted to entertainment and uninformed about politics and policy. We are all guilty of complacency, and complacency is what led us here.
HE’S WOKEN US UP
Today, people are promising to no longer sit on the sidelines and be apolitical. Promises for a midterm resurgence are being hatched all over the country. Trump has forced us to shake our slacktivism—to wake up from our apathetic stupor and realize we can no longer trust that government has our best interests at heart.
We need to look to the sustained protests of the Civil Rights Movement for guidance. Progress is a marathon, not a race. Disaffected people have shouted a lot of brouhaha. We need to follow through. Instead of watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians, attend your city council meetings. Start organizing a grassroots opposition. And for the love of God, stop arguing with each other on Facebook and put that energy to practical use. Volunteer at a Veterans Affairs office. Spend time at a nursing home. Mentor at-risk youth. Stay woke.
Trump has brought a lot of deadly poison to the surface. But divisiveness, racism and hate? He didn’t create it. It was all already there. He just shined a light on darkness. For that, I’m thankful. He’s terrible, but in a way he might be the best thing that happened to us.