Another day, another month goes by and “bam!” Here we are at the start of a new year already. And we all know what that means.
No, I'm not referring to wicked hangovers. You know what it's about in the days after a new year begins. Deep down, you know. If it's past 3 a.m. on New Year’s Day, 50 percent of us have probably broken our not-so-resolute resolutions. By mid afternoon on day three, other half of us have flipped, and we are back to our old habits of smoking, eating fast food, not working out, not organizing the closets and generally not doing the things we tell ourselves and others that we will or will not do in the new year. And this time, “we mean it.”
So with that out of the way, let me take a slightly different tack. Let's keep it simple, and realistic. Let's just make a resolution to not be “snowflakes,” melting at the first sign of anything that offends us or that we don't agree with.
Yes, we are all unique just like snowflakes, but to steal from George Carlin a bit, so what? Snowflakes when they melt, are just like bucket full of tears. Everyone is unique- just like everyone else. There's the paradox. You are unique, but you are not so special that your experiences and views are sacrosanct and above critique from others.
Safe spaces are supposed to be safe from harassment or attack, not from opposing viewpoints. We are all too sensitive because we are becoming so sanctimonious in our positions and by not really listening to others. We are making straw-man arguments too often in the public debate on political and social issues. We are using red herrings, like calling others nazis. Or maybe it's a man that looks like straw but is made out of red herrings. I don't know, but not only would that smell bad, but it shows how we are talking past each other, and that needs to change.
Of course you can guess that what brought this to my attention was the elephant (pun intended) in the room: the reaction to the election of Donald Trump. And I hate to burst that bubble, but I'm not talking mainly about the gloating of his supporters, but the rage of his opponents.
Yes, he can be a jack-ass, but that's no excuse to throw out your critical thinking skills, your own judgment and temperament, and declaring that the Earth is going to be destroyed and sea levels will rise 50 feet. But I get it, I really do. When you think you've got something in the bag, like Hillary’s election, and it doesn't happen, it's really hard to accept.
The first stage of grief in the Kubler-Ross model is denial. As the saying goes, “denial” is not just a river in Egypt, but it's also the setting of a really bad sequel to the 1984 adventure movie, “Romancing the Stone,” so, let's get over that stage really quick. Now it seems, so many are stuck
in stage 2 and 3, anger and bargaining. “Let's recount” or “let's get the electoral college to flip.” I prefer for us to use the Chandler-Ross-Joey model of grief and solve all of our issues in 22 minutes plus commercial breaks. And just as the Ross and Rachel break up was difficult, sometimes we can't believe it's over. But prolonging it just adds to the pain.
I remember doing the same thing in college when I couldn't accept a breakup. And after all the extra time and pain and false hopes, the result was still the same – I lost her. In hindsight, it would have been much easier for everyone if I'd just accepted it and moved on, and not blamed that Vladimir… I mean Chris guy. No amount of pleading, begging, or explaining why I was the better choice “if only you'd hear the facts” was going to change that. “I'm with her” really should have been, just like right now. “I'm not with her anymore.”
So let me issue some tough love to my fellow Americans. Hillary Clinton lost the election. There is no popular vote provision, there is no recount that changes any state and there is no overturning the electoral college. Donald Trump won the election and is going to be the next President of the United States. She lost, he won. Get over it. Stop crying and yelling. Martha Raddatz can't believe it without crying either, but at least you can accept it without actually answering the questions you're supposed to be asking during the debate like she did. It's not the Russians, or the FBI,or voter suppression, or fake news.
Now, let's move on with our lives like we are supposed to. Let's question authority, and be the loyal opposition when we need to be. Let's have the media be open and fair as well. But the time for laughing about Trump’s chances and mocking in the media is over, even if CNN’s Don Lemon can't accept it quite yet. As Nigel Frarage told the EU parliament last year after the supposedly improbable Brexit vote. “You're not laughing now, are you?”
(Joseph Meyers is a resident of Tamuning. Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org)