After two weeks in office, the Trump presidency is beginning to wear. The ‘Muslim ban’, restrictions on reproductive rights, and executive orders coming out of his ears, and we’ve only just begun.
When I mentioned to a friend that I was going to write an article about Donald Trump, he warned “Well don’t share it on Facebook, because I’ll unfriend you. I’ve had enough.” I couldn’t agree more. Trump’s face is all over the media, every tweet develops into a news story, and you can’t go on social media without encountering a host of Trump-related outbursts (in his favour or against, depending which parts of the internet you inhabit.)
Obviously the Trump as president is tragic in many ways: policies motivated by fear, recklessness of so-called ‘Trumponomics’, instability in foreign relations. It would be wrong to play any of that down. But the world doesn’t need another piece about how bad it’s all become. So before you unfriend me or ban me from entering your country, I’m going to try and scrape some hope from the situation and suggest a few coping strategies.
For starters, we can take heart in the out-pouring of democratic engagement and protesting that we’ve witnessed across the US, the UK, and other countries. Trump may be president, but the people of the world are not happy to accept that without a fight.
Your faith in humanity, then, need not be shaken. And as linguistics professor and left-wing intellectual heartthrob Noam Chomsky has observed, “there has been plenty of progress because people facing much harsher conditions than we do didn’t give up, that’s the important lesson.”
We’ve seen women’s marches, demonstrations to stop Trump from entering the United Kingdom, and protestation of the Muslim ban. Which is pretty mad if you think about it. As Hasan Minhaj said on ‘The Daily Show’, “Muslims were publicly praying and people were cheering them on. Do you understand? Muslims, publicly praying, at the airport.” Despite the usual stereotyping and vilification of America’s Muslim population by sections of the media, people came out in support of the wronged.
In fact, American satire shows such as Trevor Noah’s ‘The Daily Show’, ‘The Late Show with Stephen Colbert’, or Bill Maher asking “WTF is going on?” are good places to stay abreast of developments without needing too many antidepressants. As comedians, they keep it light, hold the powerful to account, and the cheering crowds remind you that even in the US support for Trump is by no means unanimous.
Clearly, the politicians and governments of the world have to deal with Donald Trump, but the newly elected president is also taking an emotional toll. In my internet trawling I found a number of articles which advise how to deal with Trump induced anxiety.
According to the Calm Clinic, a website and blog which specialises in dealing with all kinds of anxiety, “psychologists have been reporting that many people that already had anxiety are experiencing an increase in their anxiety symptoms throughout the election season”, with some cases of full-blown anxiety attacks.
Luckily, there is a multi-step WikiHow entry on how to cope with a Trump presidency. The basic steps are: learn about the US governmental system and about how the constitution and judicial system mean that the president is not all-powerful; remember that he can’t be president forever, and that the media will continue to hawk him; treat Trump anxiety like other kinds of anxiety, which can be eased somewhat with exercise, eating well, sleeping enough, performing relaxation exercises, and recognising your stress for what it is.
And since Trump is all over Facebook and news outlets, perhaps it’s time for a social media detox, now more than ever, or even a conscious effort to divert conversations away from the Donald. There is only so much punishment one can take, after all.
So amongst the despair and the bleak forecasts, we can take hear t in the fact that much of the world is not enjoying the new president, and that many are willing to shout loud about it. And anyway, life goes on. We could all do with not letting Trump dominate our conversations and our social media feeds.
On that note, I will stop talking about Donald Trump.