Klavan On The Culture

An Alternative 12-Step Response to Trump

Nicholas Kristof is a denizen of Knucklehead Row, sometimes known as the op-ed page of the New York Times, a former newspaper. Last week, he wrote a column called “A 12-Step Program for Responding to President-Elect Trump.” Among his suggested methods for healing the post-election trauma of delicate, damaged Times readers: eat Chobani yogurt “because its owner has been subjected to racist attacks for his willingness to hire and promote refugees,” and support the Southern Poverty Law Center in their fight against “hate groups.” He fails to mention that SPLC has labeled Family Research Council a hate group for its principled opposition to gay marriage, and called Dr. Ben Carson an extremist, while never mentioning the wannabe cop killers in Black Lives Matter. In other words, “hate” at SPLC is another word for “conservative.”

Allow me to suggest an alternative 12-step program for Times readers and other leftists trying to deal with Trump’s election.

  • Get the #$%& over yourself. Your political opinions do not constitute a form of virtue. You voted one way because you thought it would be best for the country, others voted the other way for exactly the same reason. Sometimes they win, sometimes you win. If you can’t live with that, go to a country where no one votes. (Spoiler: You won’t like it.)
  • If your neighbor isn’t wearing a sheet, stop calling him racist. (To be fair to Kristof, even he says this.) Calling someone racist without dispositive proof is just another way of signaling your virtue and silencing the opposition. You want to seem virtuous? Spend more time with your kids. I mean, look at them, they could use it!
  • Same with anti-semitism. At this point, if CNN reported that Hitler was anti-semitic, I’d get a second opinion. The charge is getting slung around so much, it’s becoming meaningless. Donald Trump is not anti-semitic. Neither is Steve Bannon. You don’t like their opinions? Try making logical arguments against them. You might learn something.
  • Shut Up and Sing. If you are in show business, there’s a high likelihood that you are a damaged personality. Why else would you sing and dance around trying to get strangers to like you? Hey, no problem. I love watching you sing and dance. But I have no interest in your opinions. Neither does anyone else.
  • Have some bloody integrity. If you weren’t shocked and angry over Barack Obama’s abuse of the IRS, don’t get shocked and angry over some random comment your opponent made. If you didn’t chalk ISIS atrocities up to Obama’s policies, don’t blame your opponent for everything that goes wrong on his watch either. Warning: This may require you to abandon leftism altogether.
  • Stop protesting things that haven’t happened. Not to spoil the party, but Donald Trump hasn’t actually done anything as president yet. Go home. Wait. See what happens.

  • Identify your sources of information. You want to read the New York Times or get your news from CNN, go ahead. But these are left-wing news agencies, like England’s Guardian. For balance, you might check out intelligent right-wing venues like the Wall Street Journal opinion page or National Review. If you just want your news fair and balanced, try the first half hour of Bret Baier’s Special Report. It’s on conservative Fox News, but it’s straighter than any other news show on TV.
  • Pay attention to outcomes. Under the astounding Ronald Reagan recovery (the one Hillary Clinton kept saying never happened), African-Americans benefited more than any other group but single women. When Rudy Giuliani was mayor of New York, thousands of black lives were saved. As a U.S. attorney and state attorney general, Jeff Sessions prosecuted a murderous KKK leader into the death chamber, opening the way to a lawsuit that gutted the Alabama Klan. Good intentions and virtue signaling don’t matter a damn. Results do.
  • Hyperbole makes you stupid. Tracing every act and opinion to its most extreme manifestation is bad reasoning. Many times in American politics, we say we chose “the lesser of two evils.” That’s just an expression. It doesn’t mean we chose Stalin over Hitler. It just means we wished Lincoln was running and he wasn’t so we did the best we could.

  • Don’t argue over people, argue over principles. Let’s stipulate that politicians tell lies and do bad things, yours and mine both. If you want to have a political discussion, don’t make it about “Bush did this,” and “Obama did that.” You will get nowhere. Discuss what you want to accomplish and what methods might be used to get there. You will find common ground and be able to remain on good terms with those you disagree with. This is called “Being an American.” Try it.
  • Know thyself. You’re a selfish, corrupt, twisted individual who harbors many secret prejudices and perversions. Know how I know? Because we’re all like that. All that stuff you do to make yourself seem and feel virtuous, it’s not fooling anyone, including yourself. Try this: Judge not, lest you be judged. Love your neighbor. Ask for forgiveness and forgive others. Really, this is good advice and will make you happier. I didn’t make this step up myself.
  • Get the $%&# over yourself. Did I mention this one already? Well, do it again. If you’re trying to make the world a better place, this would do it in one step. You might start by eating Chobani yogurt without feeling virtuous about it.