Post-Trumpmatic Stress Disorder
In the machinery of politics, all cycles are spin cycles. And once the centrifugal force takes hold, the whirlwind will not easily come to an abrupt halt. So it is not surprising that after the most contentious presidential election in recent history, a lot of disgruntled Americans can still be seen spinning out of control.
The protests – some of them morphing into riots – were not unexpected. They have become a popular activity enjoined by mostly younger people who some suspect may not even have voted. Yet the irony of this is as lost on them as is their carrying placards saying "Love Trumps Hate" while they shout obscenities and make mischief.
In the past, protests and marches were staged with the expectation of achieving some kind of tangible result. Workers went on strike and picketed for higher wages and better working conditions. The disenfranchised marched for the freedom to vote. Protests and the like took place in order to right unconstitutional wrongs.
But the 2016 post-election protests haven't a prayer of changing anything. As one wag put it, you cannot question American democracy. Trump won this election fair and square. Nobody in authority contends otherwise. Yet despite the fact that both Obama and Clinton have urged a peaceful transition, the devastated liberal mob heeds only the call of the wild.
These are the whiners who sorely suffer from what I call "Post-Trumpmatic Stress Disorder," a self-induced disease that is void of physical manifestations other than those that spring like evil dreams from hyperventilating imaginations: coat hangers becoming the only obstetrical tool available in back-alley abortion abattoirs, same-sex unions dissolved; sick Americans, deprived of health insurance, untreated and dying on our streets; polluted air and water killing off the rest of us; hordes of hardworking immigrants hustled across the border, never to return.
Perhaps the protesters are too young and politically naïve to understand that election outcomes in America are the result of our democratic process. Trump is not a banana republic dictator foisted on the people. He cannot be driven into exile by a chorus of shouted insults. Nevertheless, protests, per se, have become courts of first resort for many young people, even if participation in them leads to nothing more than national press attention and a party atmosphere with the like-minded. Their generation, after all, has been encouraged by role models to protest wherever and whenever possible, in the belief that unified venting, in itself, is a noble end.
Early on in their pampered lives, modern protesters learned the nature of parental indulgence. Their temper tantrums were endured, and even rewarded if thrown in public. Their progressive parents, harboring angst of their own, found it convenient to avoid disciplining their offspring lest it breed resentment. So if Junior felt in any way thwarted, he vigorously protested until some placating action or reward shut him up. Distraught parents learned quickly that the humiliation of a child's meltdown could be eased by a piece of chocolate melting in his mouth. They wanted their way and made trouble if they didn't get it!
Twenty or whatever years later, these disgruntled whiners are still up to their old tricks, even if there are no treats. As long as they can have their expensive smartphone on hand when they high-mindedly trot off to a protest, they can brave anything. And since they can expect little to change as a result of their action, they find satisfaction in thinking of themselves as a concerned part of history. Besides, isn't there safety in numbers? Well, at least until the shouting turns to shooting
Whatever their true motives – e.g., fear of being bumped from their parents' insurance before age 26 – those suffering from Post-Trumpmatic Stress Disorder seek to disguise and ennoble the symptoms that cause them pain. Elevating the argument is not easy when you're carrying a placard that reads "This [p----] grabs back," but the supposedly high-minded point is that the protester expresses shock at Trump's past behavior and fears for the future of all women.
But not all the torrid Trump haters and craven Clinton lovers are marching in the streets. Some of them – my friends and family among them – are crying into social media outlets. Like the marchers, they view their after-the-fact anti-Trump protests as a virtuous expressions of concern for America's future. For them, Trump's election is a catastrophe over which they feel not just the need to vent, but to mourn, in a ritual transcending self and time. Hence my liberal correspondents "share" on Facebook their heartfelt concerns for the well-being of their children. They insist, for example, that their young kids are "terrified" of Trump and have nightmares of what he will do. The Donald the Ogre, it seems, is definitely Where the Wild Things Are.
Children do not arrive at such fears by watching Trump rallies on TV. They learn it from their partisan parents, who are not above sharing their qualms with their children, who are their "buddies," after all, and who can be used as emotional shields to for their own feelings.
Still, the real power driving the post-election spin cycle of fear and hate well beyond November 8 is not the parents. It isn't even George Soros and his endless supply of funds for anti-Trump agitation. It is the mainstream media and the professional prognosticators who out-and-out gulled hopeful Democrats into believing that Hillary Clinton would sweep to victory. The odds were even more lopsided than they had been for Brexit. There are none so blind as those who will not see.
Yet the hubris of information manipulators remains intact and limitless, even when proven wrong. If the unhappy protesters on the street or on social media are finding it hard to give up the post-election ghost, it's because they didn't have the time to prepare. Neither, apparently, did Time magazine. The mock-up of its election night issue that featured "Madame President" on the cover was ready to go to press.