At the gym, Sunday morning, CNN was on, and that bald guy was struggling with ways to interpret Donald Trump's "moods."
It was fantastic and hilarious: talking about "moods" and interpreting jokes, once again, as serious pronouncements.
It was like watching someone trying to describe their drug trip -- but no one else took the same drug.
I get it: Trump worries, concerns and scares the media. But rather than step out of this hyperbolic world of pain, they continue to indulge their panic until they're left in comical exasperation.
So what's the remedy?
First of all, once you accept that Trump is unique (for better or worse - this is no judgment on greatness or incompetence - just that he's unique) -- then you have three options:
1. Spend a lot of time operating with anguished tone and posture, responding to every single thing Trump says as if it's proof of madness or meanness. I've been that guy. So I can see it in others.
2. Spend a lot of time explaining everything he does as a defensive yes-man. I know some of those folks (still do, and can feel the sympathetic pull when you see the president under regular attack by the media).
3. Step back and assess with bemusement this tug of war between both opinions. Give your emotions a rest, and note the unhelpful patterns on either side.
You can guess that this third group is the healthier option. I choose it, based on my own experience in the first set, and being around people in the second set. The third set can understand both the first and second, and find some reasonable healthy perspective that isn't going to leave you exasperated on either extreme. The first group makes you crazy, the second one simply exhausts you.
Headless-chicken dancing only helps the Russians, and others who wish to take advantage of emotional distractions.
Let’s choose an example that employs choosing one of three groups:
Recently, at a dinner, Trump said how great it is that the Chinese president can become president for life.
1. The first group would see Trump as seriously and dangerously complimenting a tyrant for cementing his power. Then this group will laud itself for predicting that Trump will no doubt pursue the same goals as his Chinese peer. It's just more proof for the anti-Trumpers, that they were right all along about Trump, the autocrat.
2. The second group would offer a two-step Trumpsplain about the comment:
- He's joking! Of course he's joking! Lighten up, Francis. It was at a lighthearted dinner -- where such things are said!
- And he's joking, also, just to rile up all those humorless folks in group one! And their hysterics prove his point!
(I found myself landing in this group, often, after breaking free from the first group).
3. The third group avoids the impulse of the first - because having been there before, an observer realizes it's too emotional and unnecessary (Much like that clichéd notion of swatting a fly with a sledgehammer). And he may view group 2 as closer to reality – however he notes that Trump's loose verbosity is "not helpful" to future discourse among quarreling groups. It creates more chaos, less order. In sum, because you can fart in church doesn't mean you should. But Trump might just keep farting, so hold your nose. And you know what: a lot of the stuff he's actually doing, as opposed to farting -- is pretty good for the country.
So, I find myself floating in and out of group 2 and group 3 -- and I think that's the healthiest way to preserve your sanity, and your country's strength. Headless-chicken dancing (group 1) only helps the Russians, and others who wish to take advantage of emotional distractions.
All of this is based on one key point: you don't need to – and shouldn't have to – sit so close to the political stage.
Do not turn your life into some interior play-by-play of political events.
There is a better way. It's called life.