So a friend of mine went missing on Facebook shortly after the presidential election. He wasn’t just a Facebook friend; I’ve known him for decades, long before the Internet was invented. He was last seen wearing a custom “I’m With Her” T-shirt.
I mentioned his absence to my girlfriend the other day, who was sitting at her computer and with a few quick keystrokes said, “It looks like he’s blocked you. It looks like he’s blocked me, too.”
Such are the hazards of publicly supporting Donald Trump—or just hanging out with someone who publicly supports the president-elect, like my poor girlfriend. Banishment! My friend may never talk to me again. That thought saddens me.
At the same time, it kind of ticks me off. I’ve been very careful with my words since Trump won the election. I know a lot of people didn’t see what I saw coming, and many still remain in shock at the results. I’ve mostly refrained from gloating, which hasn’t been too hard, because I understand that with the Trump presidency, we’re amid shifting sands in uncharted territory.
If there was a post that set my friend off, it came about a month after the election, after the electoral votes were tallied, and I told Hillary Clinton supporters clogging my Facebook news feed to stop their incessant whining already.
The post had little effect of course—except to perhaps encourage my longtime friend to block me. Trump evokes the sort of anger and ire that makes people, from establishment elites to activists in the streets to normal people like you and me, go blood simple. When I say Trump will be sworn into office this Friday providing he’s still alive or there’s not a coup, I’m mostly kidding, but there’s a not-small voice in my head saying anything can happen.
So I’ve been trying to be nice, with the articles I write, my social media posts and my conversations in public. I’m not perfect, though, and every once in a while I slip, like I did the other night during outgoing president Barack Obama’s farewell speech. Obviously, he’s going to put a positive spin on things, but taking credit for an economic recovery that never really happened for most of the United States struck me as dishonest, and I posted something to that effect.
In retrospect, it was one of those posts you’d like to take back, because calling the president of the United States dishonest is a little bit rude (even if he’s being dishonest). Obama shifted halfway through the speech and began personally thanking people, his family, Vice President Joe Biden, everyone who has been with him over the years. He was humble and endearing, reminding me why I voted for him twice, and I went to bed, forgetting all about my post.
In the morning a half-dozen Clintonistas had brutally trolled my Facebook post, including one woman who I occasionally run into in public, who told me that she thought I was intelligent until I started supporting Trump. Ouch. I deleted the post and personal-messaged her, saying that my post was rude and so was her remark and that I was going to try to be more polite in 2017.
“Good luck with that, Trump brings out the ugly in all,” she said.
If by “all” she means establishment elites from both parties, the mainstream media, millennial college graduates-cum-social justice warriors and diehard dead-end Democratic rank-and-filers, I’m afraid my acquaintance may be correct. It looks like there’s going to be more demonstrators than celebrants at the inauguration, the vanguard of a well-funded, organized resistance we’ll undoubtedly be hearing a lot from in the coming years.
Oh, yes, it could get very ugly, already is very ugly. Witness the latest bout of Trump-slinging, the opposition research dossier alleging, with no corroborating evidence of any kind, that the Russians have video of the president-elect cavorting with prostitutes at the Moscow Ritz-Carlton. With very few exceptions, the mainstream media have pedaled this totally unverified “information” as further proof that Russian president Vladimir Putin “hacked” the US election and is controlling president-elect Trump.
Mark my words, one day, the Russophobia currently being ginned up by the media and apparently disgruntled members of the intelligence community will go down as one of journalism’s all-time great failures. We have Democratic congressmen—when did Democrats stop being the party of peace?—clamoring for war with Russia because its state-sponsored media, like the globally popular Russia Today website, presents news from a—gasp!–Russian point of view.
In fact, RT, which I read frequently, along with hundreds of Internet news sources, had fairly balanced coverage of the presidential campaign, but considering Clinton’s anti-Putin rhetoric, who could blame them for favoring Trump?
Strangely enough, the only mainstream media source that’s been fair and balanced on the Russia question has been (I can’t believe I’m writing this) Tucker Carlson from FOX News. If you’re truly concerned about U.S.-Russia relations, I urge you to watch Carlson’s interviews with one of our leading Russia experts, NYU Professor Stephen Cohen, and journalist Glen Greenwald, co-founder of The Intercept and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for publishing the first stories about Edward Snowden.
Two years ago, you would have been far more likely to find Cohen and Greenwald, both of whom are anti-Trump, being interviewed on MSNBC, further evidence of shifting stands. I can’t recall a changing of the guard in my lifetime, not even President George W. Bush’s, that was fraught with as much uncertainty as Trump’s. I truly hope everyone finds their footing soon.
Until then, I’m crossing my fingers and hoping for the best. A Facebook friend, a reluctant Hillary Clinton supporter I know from real life who is protesting at the inauguration, asked me how I could possibly be optimistic.
“Someone has to be,” I replied. “Everybody feels so bad.”