If you voted for Trump, you may have engaged in one or two real-life arguments about the elections by now. If you’re into social media, then go ahead and triple that number. After Thanksgiving, double that number again. It’s tough to defend your reasons for voting The Donald to one of the most influential positions in the world when you’re engaging with people who are not merely annoyed, but are downright seething with hostility.
Here’s a few ways to get through the next four years without getting punched in the face. (Disclaimer: This is no guarantee that you will not get punched in the face. The political climate right now is basically the equivalent of martial law Wild West. It only takes a glance at the nightly protests on the news to realize these are not friendly waters for conservatives.)
Stay Off Facebook
Social media has always been an ugly and unfriendly place for differing opinions, but right now it’s downright zombie apocalyptic. Every man for themselves! Take no survivors! Negan is coming and he’s going to unfriend you! I remember naively thinking that after the election was over, no matter who won, Facebook will be a much more docile place and people will go back to posting pictures of their dogs and kids and what they ate for dinner. How stupidly wrong I was. I’ve never had so much profanity and ‘unfriending’ business directed at me than on November 9th and 10th. And this was from people I actually liked at some point in my life. If you voted red anywhere on your ballot, it’s best to limit your social media activity or they may eat you alive.
Stay in the Trump Closet
I was one of those late “undecideds” the media was so perplexed about. It took a lot of hand-wringing and mental night sweats before I finally took a shot of bourbon and connected the line to Trump/Pence on my ballot. I signed, sealed the envelope, and then looked at myself in the mirror and said, “I can speak of this to no one.” And I didn’t. I watched women waving their I’m With Her signs on the street corner and I looked away. I didn’t tell my friends. Honestly, it makes me a little nervous writing about it now. The hard truth is, to many people, if you voted for Trump, you are, dare I say it, “deplorable.” In 2016, there is nothing worse than being called a racist, a homophobe, a misogynist, a xenophobe, etc. Right now it is more socially acceptable to be an ax-murderer than a hater. Many believe if you voted for Trump you are all of these rolled up into one gross package. It’s best to stay silent about it for the next four years. If you’re backed into a corner, tell them you voted for neither one. That is slightly more acceptable to them than voting for Trump and they may leave you alone.
When All Else Fails, Use Reason
This is the hardest way to survive, and I only recommend it for the strong and well-spoken. It may be helpful to have data from a reliable source if you can. Because if you have even an iota of flawed logic in your narrative, they will attack with abandon and call you a redneck racist. Depending on your opponent, you may be able to point out that your astronomical monthly insurance payments will be cutting into your grocery budget, but that may backfire and they could accuse you of being selfish and not wanting to pay your fair share. You could point out that you haven’t been able to find a job for over a year and a half, but they could counter that with Obama’s chart that clearly explains how unemployment is at its lowest in eight years. You will have to armor yourself well. For every concrete example you can pull from your own life to explain that, you know what, maybe life wasn’t all that great for every person under the Obama umbrella, they will show you ten charts to prove you wrong. Your life doesn’t really matter to facts anyway.
With savvy survival skills we conservatives can get through this. At least I think so. I’ve been consoling a lot of my liberal friends in the past two weeks, telling them that things are going to be okay, don’t worry, it’s going to be fine. But more recently, I’ve taken to consoling my conservative friends too, but for different reasons. And to be honest, my convictions aren’t as strong. I tell them we’re going to make it through this alive. I’m pretty sure. Mostly sure. But just in case, maybe we should start packing survival kits and head for the hills to ride this out.
What I’m reading right now: Ted Bundy: Conversations with a Killer, The Death Row Interviews by Stephen G. Michaud and Hugh Aynesworth