THE TRANSITION CHARADE
FROM NORTH AMERICA SYNDICATE, 300 W 57th STREET, 15th FLOOR, NEW YORK, NY 10019
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FOR RELEASE FRIDAY, NOV. 11, 2016
BY BOB FRANKEN
THE TRANSITION CHARADE
For those millions of Americans who haveawakened to discover that their Donald Trump nightmare is not just a bad dream, the question is, What to do now? Do they accept the platitude about national unity from a stunned Hillary Clinton that “We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead”? That begs the question: What is it we should be open-minded about?
Should we become amnesiacs and simply forget all the hateful rhetoric that defined his campaign, the personal vindictiveness that he simply couldn’t keep under control? Or instead, should we remember another cliché, which is certainly relevant: “Words matter,” meaning the constant spew of poisonous comments about women, Hispanics, African-Americans, Muslims (even Muslim war heroes), the disabled, the list goes on and on? Should we hope that his brain is somehow cleansed of such toxic thoughts, replaced by wisdom, knowledge and truthfulness that had been completely absent?
What we’re getting now is the pro forma national-unity choreography, like President Barack Obama sitting next to the man who will replace him at the White House, showing warm hospitality to the guy who raised the racist “birther” question about him for years. We witnessed Trump, who suddenly has gone into a contrived mellow mode, describing as a “great honor” his meeting with the man who just days before called him “unfit” for the office.
On Jan. 20, Donald Trump and his forces will be taking over our government. So forget the enforced cordiality. The question is, How can they be effectively resisted? For starters, ritualistic protest demonstrations don’t cut it. Talk about clichés. Inevitably, they turn violent, which is counterproductive, to say nothing about flat-out wrong. Plus, setting a few fires or shouting shopworn slogans might get you on TV, but it won’t change the Trump administration from stomping all over social progress.
So, what might work? Another of those banal comments we always hear at this point goes something like this: “We need to look to the future. Dwelling in the past isn’t a good idea.” But looking forward can work only if we indeed look back at what mistakes were made and, yes, who made them. In fact, we should play the Blame Game.