Sometimes your friend gets a boyfriend you don’t like and it bugs you.
And it keeps bugging you, because you’re convinced your friend deserves more – deserves better. You can’t reconcile this choice they made with how great you know they are.
You can’t, as much as you try, see what she sees – you just can’t find the good in him.
In the simplest terms, in the most basic example, that’s how I feel about Trump.
I think we deserve better.
But I know there has to be some good in him, otherwise so many good people wouldn’t have voted for him, so many people I love wouldn’t have voted for him. So, since I respect them and their ability to make an informed choice, I have to believe they found some good.
I just wish the good wasn’t so hard to find. Because, I think, all of us should be able to agree that the good is a bit harder to find than we may like.
If there is good, which I sincerely hope there is, it’s hard to hear over the bravado, narcissism and Trump’s strong and seemingly unrelenting desire to say whatever he wants, whenever he wants.
It’s not presidential, and that’s why so many people are upset.
It’s not just because we’re sore losers. (For the record, my candidate was Bernie and he was out a good long time ago.) But the thing is Democrats have lost before and admittedly, I was younger at the time, but I don’t remember it being like this.
Because as far back as I can remember, there hasn’t really been a candidate like this – one who says anything and everything he wants, seemingly without consequences (sometimes blatantly disgusting and terrible things. Here’s one.)
This kind of thing is new.
Some people (though they disagree with the contents of Trump’s speech) may still find the candor with which he speaks to be a good thing. They may find it refreshing or seemingly more transparent than the more polished and more artificial-sounding communication techniques of other politicians.
I get that.
Trust me, it was once my job to go through government forms, line by line, word by word, punctuation mark by punctuation mark to make them more understandable to the average citizen. It was as mind-numbingly boring as you’d expect.
For that reason, I hate bureaucratic, nonsensical speech as much as the next person. Probably more.
But I don’t think you have to sacrifice being respectful to be more truthful. You can be honest as well as kind. The two aren’t mutually exclusive.
You can communicate your thoughts in a way that is clear without resorting to name-calling, ALL CAPS TWITTER ranting, or bullying.
You can make yourself heard and understood differently.
And that’s all that I’m asking him to do.
That is not a Democrats versus Republican thing, a liberals versus conservative thing, a generational thing, an elites versus working class thing, or even a dreaded political correctness thing.
It’s just manners. It’s just being decent.
And if we’re going to move forward in a more united fashion (which I sincerely hope we do) we could all stand to be more decent to each other.
Because that’s the least we all deserve.
And it’s not asking for much.
P.S. I realize that all my recent, Trump-related posts seem cloying earnest and self-important. Sorry about that. I’m not saying I’m an expert in communicating respectfully – because, ironically, that’d be a rather jerky thing to say. (Also, I don’t believe that to be true.)
I’m just saying that I think all of us, including our incoming president, need to find a way to talk about politics more productively.
Because, for all the good and the bad, hopefully good, Trump is about to be our president, and we’re going to have to find a way to talk about it.