Tag Archives: 2016 presidential election

“But, I don’t want to apologize!”

One of the things that I find immensely frustrating about our new President-Elect is his inability to apologize.  The fact that he lacks such a basic societal function should be great cause for concern, yet his supporters don’t seem to mind.  Why is that?


via GIPHY

Accountability is something we teach to our children, applaud our spouses for, and appreciate in friends, co-workers, and bosses alike.  The ability to admit you have made a mistake is not only vital for healthy relationships, but it’s also an important step towards personal evolution and self-growth.

And yes,, there are follow-up steps required for an apology to be truly effective – if we only mutter the words “I’m sorry” but don’t change our behavior afterwards, those words lose their power pretty quickly.

  • “I’m sorry I hit you when you took my toy car. Next time you take one of my toys without my permission, I’ll ask you to give it back to me instead.”
  • “I’m sorry I hurt your feelings.  Your friendship is important to me, so I’ll try to be more sensitive to your needs”
  • “I’m sorry I ran the red light.  Next time I’ll drive more carefully”

In every instance, accepting accountability and weighing the fall-out from our actions (losing a friend, losing a lover, paying a fine, getting fired etc.) help us change our behavior for the better.  And that’s why the the “Next time I’ll try to…” part is crucial – it demonstrates just how much your remorse has effected you and helps you set a personal goal to be better.

But we are about to have a president who can’t apologize even when he’s caught red-handed for insulting/offending people.  We are about to have a president who blames everyone else for his mistakes.  He lashes out at news reporters reporting on facts and shoots vindictive and petty tweets at anyone who offends him.  He is vengeful.  He is almost exclusively focused on himself and how the world effects him.

 
“Stupid” is one of the president elect’s favorite words  via GIPHY

These are not qualities we would encourage or put up with in our children or our friends/family. They are not qualities we would put up with from a co-worker or boss.  They are not qualities we would set down as examples for our neighbors.

And yet… here we are.

And this inability to accept blame, to apologize for insulting/damaging behavior – it has consequences.

I’m seeing a lot of Trump supporters in the news who are unable to separate their own hopes for Trump’s administration from the facts of his behavior thus far.  They believed he would drain the swamp, even though he’s since admitted that he was just saying that because the people liked it.  They believed he would surround himself with the “best” advisors, and refuse to look closer at the Wall-Street elite and billionaires unfamiliar with or against the very departments he’s tasked them with heading.  They believe he will serve this country, although his own life proves that the only person Trump has ever served is himself.

It’s really, really hard to give up on the team you’ve backed.  And it may even be too early for many to even consider giving up on Trump, even in light of the mounting evidence of interference from, and probable collusion with Russia, to win this election.

But it’s made harder when the man you have pinned your hopes to can’t even admit the slightest possibility of fallibility himself.

If someone only takes credit for the “great” and “wonderful” things happening around him (sometimes even when they had nothing to do with the “great” thing that happened – like this, and this– and if you’d like to read a little more about it read this) no personal growth is possible.  We learn from our mistakes, and we endeavor to be better people because of them.  But when someone refuses to see himself as fallible, he resides in an arrested state of ego – a state that only begets more and more damage to those around him

But all the pontificating in the world means nothing to Trump – the man is in his 70’s, a natural salesman, and very set in his ways/world view.  The question then isn’t “When will our President-elect grow up?” but rather, “Will the rest of us grow in spite of our new president’s poor examples?”

But what do the artists say?

There are a lot of deep thoughts being had right now by a great majority of Americans.  Most of the deep thinking is in reaction to the existential panic this year’s election has stirred up.  You can see it in the faces of people walking by – their eyes focused on something in the distance… it’s the promise of a finish line!  But between them and it lies a hell-storm in the form of a fire-tornado spinning atop shark infested shit-water.

panicOur new daily mantra is “Dear god, please let it be over.” Followed by a quick, “And please let it be over in the best possible way.”

Of course, the problem is that we don’t all see eye-to-eye on who the “best” candidate is.  And the fire-tornado and shit-water are so hot and so putrid that we can’t argue politely about who the best candidate is either.  Instead, we rage, we re-post, we internalize to the point of making ourselves sick.  We try not to overstress the social thread keeping our diverse “friends” list diverse, while also struggling not to consider said diverse friends total idiots for not agreeing with us.

But the election is tomorrow.

And tomorrow we will finally have an answer.

We will have an answer because you and I, our neighbors and our not-so-neighbors, will have voted.

The politicians will have voted.

The millennials will have voted.

The mom-and-pops will have voted.

The veterans will have voted.

The artists will have voted…

And it’s this last group that I want to talk about today, because there’s something very important about this last group that I haven’t heard people talking about yet:  Almost all of the flash-mobs and “Get out and vote!” songs (and the other various celebrity-laden YouTube/Cracked/Funny or Die sketches) are pro-Hillary.

I think that’s worth thinking about.

Artists are humanity’s thermometers.  They observe, they empathize, and they see into things.  The fact that so many are using their skills to caution us against the hate-fueled, fear-mongering, demagogue named Trump should give anyone still sitting in his camp pause.

Why aren’t our artists making art to support him?

Maybe it’s because when you put racism on film, there’s no shrugging it off as “straight talk”.  Or because when you put misogyny into performance, there’s no hiding from its abuse.  Or because when you put hate on canvas, you can’t hide from its ugliness .

Or maybe it’s simply because you can’t dance with hate in your heart.

I’m not saying that artists are the only ones you should be listening to, but they yet one more faction warning us of the dangers of Trump.  And they are doing so as humanists.

I think we should listen to them.