Regardless of how you feel about Donald Trump, what everyone agrees about is that he doesn’t seem “presidential.” For his supporters, this has been the biggest draw. He tells you what he’s thinking, he doesn’t have a canned response, and he gives it to you straight (although when he reverses his decision entirely the following day, that’s also somehow “giving it to you straight”). For his critics, Trump’s inability to have anything resembling a coherent thought or mature conversation is proof that he is not qualified to be President. And make no mistake about it, regardless of the election results, Trump is not qualified to be President.
But here’s the more important thing: No one will ever win this argument. This is the political version of the White/Gold or Blue/Black dress. If you see it one way, it’s going to be very, very hard to see it from another perspective. So, as much as I hate to say this, maybe we should stop trying to convince everyone that Trump is a reckless demagogue and that Republicans have been wildly hypocritical about Trump’s presidency. (Which is not to say that Republicans haven’t been wildly hypocritical. Remember when Obama was unqualified to become President because he’d only served half a term as a Senator? Or when they questioned his legitimacy as President, not because he lost the popular vote and there was foreign involvement in the election, but because he seemed “un-American?” Or how quickly Fox News would have shit all of the bricks if Obama had taken to Twitter to personally and individually ridicule Joe Wilson after that whole “you lie” thing? Yeah.)
I’m not arguing that we should stop standing-up for what we believe in, but that changing the opposition’s mind shouldn’t be the goal. The goal should be a suitable solution to societal problems. Like our national healthcare crisis. Republicans are hellbent on repealing ObamaCare regardless of the replace part. I acknowledge that the ACA hasn’t been perfect and that it isn’t my ideal solution (hello, Universal Healthcare), but I also know that the program has extended health insurance to 20 million people, guaranteed health coverage for the half of Americans with disqualifying preexisting conditions, and helped reduce the rate at which medical costs were increasing. And I acknowledge that I’ve spent entirely too much time trying to convince people that the program is, overall, good. It’s a lost battle because things like “facts” have suddenly become slippery things. I’ve never been able to convince anyone that the ACA is a good idea.
So now I’m letting them convince me. We got a problem, you say my idea is bad, so what’s yours? Or in nerdier terms:
We’ve got problems. I’m not interested in arguing about whose fault they are, who was responsible for more of the problems, or figuring out whose side is “right.” I’m interested in finding solutions; if you’re not, get out of the way.
Most importantly, you might have noticed that one person has been remarkably absent in the entire John Lewis v. Trump feud: John Lewis. While I suspect it’s because Lewis is the bigger man (and he’s almost always the bigger man), I’m also hoping it’s because Lewis doesn’t have time for this shit because he’s too busy doing his job. Let’s all be more like John Lewis.