On Trump Expectations

As you can probably imagine, I often wonder what the fuck is the point anymore in the Age of Trump. It's hard to do this day after day, for a lot of reasons, and right at the top of the list is that it's nigh impossible to feel like I, or any of us, can make any meaningful positive difference when there is a president who is intractably resistant to listening, and makes massive, destructive decisions with the sweep of his pen.

Some days, I feel like all I am doing is documenting the fall of my country. And that is a terrible feeling.

What keeps me going in those moments is remembering that harm mitigation is a crucially important thing to do amidst vast harm. I focus on the small things I can do with my miniscule platform to make things a little bit easier for as many people as I can, even if that means just validating the perceptions of people being viciously gaslighted by their own government.

I said two days after the election that love would be the center of my resistance, and I believe that still. Every day, I am motivated by a compassion for and love of people that exists in inverse proportion to the lack of same demonstrated by Trump and his vile party.

One of the important parts of harm mitigation, for me, is sharing my perspective (hard won, let me tell you) on what constitute reasonable expectations in terms of practical accountability for the Trump administration. That is, what the likelihood is of Trump being removed from office, and associated issues, like the chances of Pence being simultaneously removed from office vs. elevated.

The reason that's important to me is because, over the last 13 years of doing this work, I have seen progressives demoralized over and over because of unmet expectations, like checking the hell out of politics altogether because "Fitzmas" didn't deliver the goods on Bush. Or swearing off getting invested in politicians because President Obama wasn't as wildly progressive as they thought—whereas I, who didn't start out as an Obama fan exactly because he wasn't as progressive as he was widely reputed to be, ended up quite pleasantly surprised by his presidency.

So I find myself cautioning against having unreasonable (not inherently, but based on likely outcomes) expectations, in the hope of avoiding people getting hurt and demoralized.

Sometimes that particular attempt at harm mitigation makes me sound (and feel) like a real fucking buzzkill.

But I'm going to keep doing it, because finding balance so we all on necessary optimism rather than misplaced hope is the way we're going to get through this shit.

Anyway. With all that as preamble, here is a Twitter moment I wrote earlier today, on keeping measured expectations regarding Trump: The Bulwark Against Demoralization: Realistic Expectations.

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