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January 21, 2017 / barton smock

On the Morning of the March (by my brother, NC Smock)

On this morning of the March for Women’s Lives, we should take 2.5 minutes to adjust our bullshit filters for high-volume processing. A fair amount of it will hit you from all sides. But don’t let the sheer volume fool you: A lot more bullshit will be coming from the Trumpeters. They’re known for their volume and vitriol, which is positively and rather unfortunately correlated with their ignorance. So get your goggles on!
Below are some handy critical-thinking weapons for marchers and kind people across the nation to keep in your front pocket at all times.
In response to anyone who thinks you are marching because you’re a sore loser:
1) Remember that they think they’ve won a game. They think the election of Trump is the victorious end of that game. They view the inauguration as the medal ceremony. This is the sorry soup in which swims their brain. It is a very poor arithmetician who thinks the bottom of the ninth inning took place in the wee hours of November 9th, 2016. Remind the poor souls that we’re actually in the top of the first inning when it comes to The Donald. Remind them that Trump and company haven’t governed for even 24 hours. As for the ‘winning’ mentality, that belongs to a game with innings or clocks, not the continuum of history. They bear a striking resemblance to an arrogant third-grader who ‘won’ the first ten feet of a mile-long race then started pounding his chest and pointing at the ‘losers’.
Now here’s where we may lose some people because there is no sports metaphor to apply: We’re actually not in any race or inning or quarter because we’re not playing a game. For the sake of digestibility, if you must make your point fit into some kind of sporting metaphor, tell them to save it for the Super Bowl, where there are two obvious rivals and only one victor.
2) Ask them to take responsibility for their vote. Bearing in mind that quite a bit of ‘winning’ is yet to be ‘won’, let them know that you have recorded their strong preference for Mr. Trump and the Goldman Sachs crew and that you’ll be following up with them every year from now until he is no longer the crowned king of our democracy. Tell them you’ll be taking their temperature next year, the year after that and (if we get that far) the year after that. Assure them not to worry–we’ll be taking all temperatures orally. Indeed, we’ll do so by watching words and spittle fly out of their mouths and see if it isn’t reduced to a drooling mumble in years to come.
3) Remind them that you are marching for something, not against someone. I know what you’re thinking: ‘I’m marching against Trump!’ True enough, but only inasmuch as he actively stands against something that you stand for. We were not born haters of Trump. We weren’t even born Democrats or Republicans or anywhere in between. These are things we’ve decided. We have evidence for our decision, our dislike of Trump–which makes it legitimate. Blind hatred of someone based on artificial qualities is from the other camp. We go with reason.
4) Opinions are not equal. This is a myth that’s been peddled to you by someone who either doesn’t have the capacity for critical thought or thinks you do not. Now here it gets tricky again for anyone who isn’t good at words or big thinks, but opinions are only equal mathematically. That is, you have one and I have one and the Trumpeter has one. And 1 = 1 = 1 . But thereafter, the balance of the equation tilts to the opinion that is informed by evidence. There’s a temporal order there: Evidence first, informed opinion after. Without reasons to embrace a conclusion, my opinion is not equal to yours. It’s just noise employed to loudly assert an inductive worldview, typically because I am frightened (which makes me angry).
For example, I am not a doctor. If I stood side-by-side with a doctor and we suggested different prescriptions you could take to cure your myopic conjunctivitis, would you take my word or hers? My prescription or hers? Are our opinions equal? Why yes–we both have one! Very good. So it doesn’t matter which prescription you take because opinions are equal. Right? No?
Knowledge matters. Facts matter. And even in a time of fake news, facts can be cross-referenced and shown to have merit. I know, it takes EXTRA TIME to create a factual basis for why you should be flailing your arms right now, but if you’re unprepared to back up your opinion with logic or even attempt to do so, we ask that you please lay down all sharp objects and repair to the other room while the adults talk things over. And stop voting already–you’re making a hash of it.
5) Remind them that Donald Trump is President for all Americans. This tidbit is much more likely to come your way from the other side. Welcome it! It provides the perfect segue for pointing out that if The Donald doesn’t deliver on his vague promise to make America great again, it’s bad for Americans–even his most rabid fans. Especially his most rabid fans because of liberal pricks like me who have long memories. Yes indeed: We are all in this together, whether we like it or not. That includes you and me and him and her and them. That very point is why so many people are marching today.
To circle back on the ‘we won’ mentality, you could point out that the concern of the marcher is not that one side lost an election, but rather that we have all lost a country. And the ‘losers’ here are not just those who stand up for minority rights (otherwise known as civil rights that pertain to all). If Trump doesn’t succeed in making this country better, or if he makes it disastrously worse, we all lose.
6) Remind them that we don’t have to give Donald Trump another chance. His ‘chance’ to impress us came in the 500+ days leading up to the election when his stupid mug and ‘best words’ were pasted on every media outlet you could shake a stick at. We’ve had ample evidence of what he stands for. We don’t need to wait to watch him govern. We take him at face value after a very prolonged exposure. If he pivots 180 degrees, we’ll be the first to welcome him into the fold of reason. Where he has any true success, we will benefit and cheer. But we fully expect him to keep up his idiotic fits of crybaby vitriol and political vengeance. We gave him a chance: he failed our fair test. The last time we tried to draw water from a rock, we came up short.
For anyone who insists you give Trump a chance, perhaps they misunderstand what it means to be President of the United States: It’s on him to give us a chance. All of us. Americans.
Today’s marcher is worried that everyone has already lost and some of us just don’t know it yet. That’s why we’re in the streets, proclaiming that we won’t let protections for all Americans be subject to the whim of a narcissistic blowhard– President or not.
So march with calm strides of reason and compassion. March safely. And have patience: The Trump honeymooners are heading home. Now the governing begins. We’re all watching, even the critical-thinkers. We’ve got the numbers and time on our side.
And hey, maybe Donald Trump’s first 70-some years of privilege and dumb bluster were all a big bluff to get here so he could start his master work to enhance freedom, equality and prosperity for all Americans. You don’t think so? Well hey–that’s my opinion! Looks like we’ll have to call it a draw.
~NC Smock

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