Much of the reaction to Donald Trump’s election can be described only as mass hysteria.
I’m never happy about any president and this one is no exception. I would have been disgusted with either alternative, of course, and I’ve made it clear that I see Trump as especially dangerous. But some people are acting as though the world has ended for them and there’s no future to live for.
This is insane.
I’m seeing a lot of such mass hysteria and I’m appalled at it, because it shows a lack of perspective and a lack of understanding about which things matter most in life.
There are dozens of examples, but a piece in Monday’s Washington Post exemplifies it best. In a personal column called Trump’s election stole my desire to look for a partner — seriously, that’s the headline — a mother of two in Montana says she’s lost interest in finding a romantic partner. She tells of having found a man she was interested in — and who seemed interested in her — but how the election changed everything.
“There is no room for dating in this place of grief,” she concludes. “Dating means hope. I’ve lost that hope in seeing the words ‘President-elect Trump.’”
This sort of overwrought reaction to losing a political election is something I’d expect from a bad paperback novel, not from a serious opinion piece published by the Washington Post.
There is very, very little chance that any president will directly affect your life. Seriously. Your reaction to any person’s election is purely a choice on your part.
Donald Trump isn’t going to show up at your house and steal your future, whatever you thought it was. When Barack Obama was elected eight years ago, some conservatives I knew acted as though their worlds were over, but as far as I know, little changed in anybody’s personal life.
If you opposed Obama, you can name things his administration did that you disagree with. Some of them might have cost you money or even changed an industry you were part of, but nothing about his administration changed your ability to live and love as you want. Nothing about his election changed the things that matter most in your life.
The coming presidency of Donald Trump will be no different.
Trump will do a lot of stupid things, but unless he drags us into a war that destroys the world — unlikely, but possible, just as it’s been with other presidents — you still have complete control of the things that matter most in your life.
In almost every way, you still have absolute control over your next four years.
You decide who you’re going to love.
You decide who gets your attention.
You decide what risks you take and what goals you pursue.
You decide whether you make yourself a better person.
For those of us who understand that no politician has the right to control us, we’re quite accustomed to living under the rule of people who have no right to rule us — just like people in the days of despotic kings. Trump isn’t the core political problem, but I’ve talked about that before, so I won’t belabor it now.
You’re right to be afraid of politicians, but if you’re scared of one politician and not another, you still misunderstand why you should be afraid.
Even if you’re foolish enough to fear one politician and worship another — and there are many of you — it’s insane to let the election of any president change your world.
In almost every way that matters, you control your life. Quit blaming politicians for your own decisions.
Love if you want to love.
Pursue big dreams if you want to create.
Become the person you want to be.
You don’t need any politician’s permission. Concentrate on what really matters — and change the very specific parts of the world over which you alone have complete control.