BY FROMA HARROP
This summer, I’m taking a tip from the Chantix turkey. You may have seen the ads for Chantix, a drug claiming to help people stop smoking gradually. The turkey character is seen trying to quit cigarettes in a calm, slow manner rather than going “cold turkey.” The mellow Galliforme calmly adjusts the A/C, reads a book poolside and relaxes at home in his retro argyle vest.
I’ve used these hot months to greatly slow Donald Trump’s assaults on my psyche. That doesn’t mean totally ignoring his destructive policies. It does mean ignoring his provocations.
It started around the Fourth of July. Trump turned this normally nonpartisan celebration into a tribute to himself. Did you hear a peep from me? You did not. While others railed, as Trump wanted them to, I attended to other matters.
Not only did I not watch the taxpayer-funded Trump commercial but I also skipped days of advanced wailing by his critics. I wish the protesters had found something else to do and kept the Trump-baby balloon in the garage. They only added to his coverage.
An entirely enjoyable Fourth centered on my town’s fireworks. The high point of national pride that week was provided by the U.S. women’s soccer team.
My feathers were a bit ruffled by Trump’s racist attacks on the “squad,” four radical Democratic congresswomen of color, last week. The tweet was disgusting, of course. And few Republican officials condemned it. Right, and the sun rose in the east.
Trump knows the quartet’s defense had been somewhat compromised by its members’ tossing around careless accusations of racism against other Democrats – as well as a vulgar anti-Semitic reference by one, Ilhan Omar. Perhaps concerned that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has begun to rein them in, he seemed intent on keeping them front and center as the faces of the Democratic Party by whatever means.
It would not shock me to learn that Trump’s cruelty at the border was partly intended to goad some Democrats into advocating policies that would weaken immigration enforcement. Do they have any idea how unpopular these ideas are, even to many who they think they’re pandering to?
But Trump’s psychological warfare won’t prevail if the opposition’s obsession with him is replaced by an equal determination to vote him out in 2020. That’s hard when the media, commercial and social, have so much time on their hands and a tendency to focus on the inflammatory over the important.
I checked my news stations, CNN and MSNBC. From dawn till midnight, panels were discussing what Trump says, what he believes, whether he believes what he says, why he’s saying it and what he thinks he’ll get out of it. The conversations loop around the same tedious circles.
And along with that repetition comes the listing of Trump’s contradictions, lies and ugly conspiracy theories. Look at all the America bashing he’s done! Remember his bizarre “American carnage” inaugural speech – given at a time of falling crime rates and a 40-year low in border-crossing arrests? Who needs reminding?
Trump is hypocritical, shameless and an international embarrassment? You don’t say.
Helping keep me cool are polls showing Joe Biden comfortably ahead in most primary races. Biden is the candidate not threatening private health insurance coverage for about 250 million Americans. And he doesn’t want to decriminalize illegal border crossings. Nevertheless, as president he would be worlds more humane toward immigrants than the current White House occupant.
Biden is the one standing strongest between Trump and a second term.
The turkey has the right idea in turning down the noise and opening a paper book. Me? It’s time to fill the birdbath and fertilize the tomatoes.
– Froma Harrop’s columns appear regularly in The Oklahoma Observer