The Sour Media at the Heart of Trump

Conservatives, unfortunately, seem to believe they need the permission of a Republican in the White House to be happy.

For years the conservative media hated on Obama and all he stood for. Bad news was the only news for folks who drink from those waters. Relief was nowhere in sight.

And then along came Donald John Trump. Whatever he was, the feeling of the voices of the conservative media machine changed. Whatever he was, there was relief and different emotions. Whatever he was, they could pretend he was something good.

That’s where this all comes from. You eat lemons all day and all night, a grapefruit becomes a treat.

They don’t care what the reality is, because they have this fantasy. They can dance and laugh and play. They don’t need reality. They just need the excuse to be glad. Donald John Trump is an excuse for conservatives to be happy.

This isn’t an isolated phenomenon. People need excuses to do all sorts of things in this modern world. The excuse of Black Friday to run around a shopping center like a kid on a snipe hunt. The excuse of Christmas or other holidays to put the diet in a drawer for a few months. The excuse of New Years to resolve to make this the year you finally get in shape.

People love a good excuse, because it’s like being given permission. You can’t dress like a weirdo, but it’s Halloween! Excuse! Permission!

Getting shitfaced is usually uncool, but it’s Saint Patty’s Day. It’s practically required by law! Excuse! Permission!

So, yeah. Donald John Trump is an excuse. Conservative media for years and years has told people they had no right to be happy under Obama. That part of the preamble—pursuing happiness—did not apply when a black Democrat was leading the country. They had to cool it on happiness. All the news sucked.

It’s like being happy about a new Star Wars film when you were a kid, only to be told by your cousin that these new movies suck. And your cousin knows how to do a wheelie, so she’s wise in ways you can’t imagine. She’s practically Yoda. So the movie suddenly sucks and you have nothing to be happy about. That’s what conservative media is doing to them. It’s sad.

There are always bad things going on. Democrats have their own negativity media associated with Donald John Trump. Many are doing productive things to combat bad policies. But lots of folks are just swimming in the hate-stream of the same kind the conservatives were four years ago. Maybe it’s motivational. Maybe it gets people to vote because they want permission, they want their own excuse. But that doesn’t make it right.

Consume news and information to understand. To be aware. But not to make yourself feel bad. Not to wallow in misery. There’s plenty of great fiction if you want to have some feels. There’s a lot of awesome music for feels. News and informational content are supposed to be about learning, about how systems work, about where we are and where we’re going and where we might want to go instead.

Kill the news radio and news television and news site if it’s trying to tell you how to feel. Particularly, any news or opinion piece that couches a political or judicial outcome in terms of winning and losing, of keeping score. The long-term outcomes of politics and governance are not an accumulation of wins and losses. They are the choices we make as individuals and communities, which are based on our needs and hopes as a people, not on how our “team” did in an election or what some fictitious scoreboard read.

The other side winning a race or political fight doesn’t rob you of any special excuse or permission. You have permission to take comfort and happiness in the little and the big, regardless of who is president. You have the right to pursue happiness at all times!

You have art that will let you feel how you want. Use it.

The election is in 42 weeks.


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