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I have no idea what will happen over the next month. It’s possible but unlikely that President Trump will be re-elected; it’s also likely that Joe Biden will fill that seat; his winning this election fills me with fear and dread.
But to me, even worse than watching an elderly man who has cognitive problems and misguided ideas become President will be watching the Conservatives at each other’s throats. I foresee those who enthusiastically support Trump holding angry grudges against those who believed that Trump could not overcome the odds or beat back the fraud. And I can imagine those who believed the odds were long will be hated by those who believed that fraud should have been uncovered and Trump should have won.
This outcome is a lose-lose proposition for Conservatives everywhere.
Why do I bring this issue up now? Because in one sense, it doesn’t matter what the results are: we could waste our energy berating each other, blaming the system, and condemning those who were on the opposite side of us.
I’m also raising this issue now because we must focus on the real potential catastrophe: Democrats may very well be in charge of the government at one level or another and their dominance could destroy our country.
Now I will admit that I’m not fond of watching people fight with each other, verbally or otherwise (although I did enjoy the original Karate Kid). But the stakes are too high for us to get sidetracked and fall into Republican reticence of being Mr. Nice Guys or giving up the farm. Instead of fighting with each other over the past, let’s try the following:
- Make sure one way or another that a highly credible commission is established to study the results of the election, identify the fraud that occurred, find the mismanagement that was pervasive, and identify solutions. This effort will require identifying which steps should be proposed for the federal government to oversee, and which should be given to the states. If possible, the recommendations should include penalties for breaking or mismanaging the rules. The committee should be bipartisan and should preferably include people who are no longer in government, but have credibility on both sides of the aisle.
- Stop crying over spilled milk, no matter who wins. It will have been done. Arguing amongst ourselves is just another kind of distraction and will stall any progress on the part of Republicans. I frankly don’t care if you feel there was massive fraud or if you believe there was fraud, but not enough to make a difference. (I believe the truth is somewhere in the middle.) It’s history. Finished. Done.
- Let’s figure out the next steps for the Republicans that go beyond fighting the Democrats or re-litigating the election. We need to revamp totally the principles of Conservatism. We need to give up on old hopes that will be lost for the future, such as small government. We need to figure out how to educate people about US history and its goals in moving forward. We need to determine how to best engage people in America and build enthusiasm for 2024.
- We must explore the psychological impact of this election and be honest about its effect on ourselves and the people. Each of us should take a good hard look at ourselves and ask what really motivates our antagonism toward our colleagues. I learned a good lesson that is almost always true when it comes to human motivation. We become angry when two aspects of our psyche are challenged: being right and looking good. That means when someone accuses us of being wrong, we defend ourselves, insisting that we are right. It doesn’t matter whether we are “really” right or not; we must protect ourselves from those who question us. “Looking good” describes those characteristics that we value because we think they make us “look good”; they are what you value about yourself, not necessarily what someone else appreciates about us. That means when a person violates your important beliefs about your looking good—being smart, being right, being ethical, being educated—you will have a strong negative reaction and even fight back. I know intimately the limitations of these reactions!
Once we realize that our reactions to others’ challenging us are based on our irrational fears of being discounted, it’s much easier to disregard what they say about us. For example, some men like to tell me I’m reacting “emotionally” to something. Most women hate to be told that; I love it because I can respond by saying, “You’re right! I am emotional. But I’m also smart and knowledgeable.” That usually stops the attack.
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My hope for all of us is that we don’t move into the next four years with a chip on our shoulders. Let’s not attack each other; let’s not spend our time in useless arguments. Instead, let’s transform our anger into passion; our concerns into dedication for America; our frustration into a laser-sharp focus. Let’s work together. Let’s help each other.
Let’s set the example of what it means to be proud Americans.Published in