Mr. Kristof has a question. He also has “A 12-Step Program for Responding to President Elect Trump.” Are you traumatized by the election of Donald Trump? He has the program for you. Ms. Collins found “A Trumpian Silver Lining:” There’s someone who feels worse than you do about what’s happening in Washington. Here’s Mr. Kristof:
Traumatized by the election results, many Americans are asking: What now? Here are steps that any of us can take that can make a difference at the margins. Onward!
1. I WILL accept that my side lost, but I won’t acquiesce in injustice and I will gird for battle on issues I care about. I will call or write my member of Congress and express my opposition to mass deportation, to cutting 22 million people off health insurance, to nominations of people who are unqualified or bigoted, to reduced access to contraception and cancer screenings. Better yet, I’ll attend my representative’s town meeting and put him or her on the spot.
2. I WILL try to do small things in my own life, recognizing that they are inadequate but at least a start: I will sign up on the Council on American-Islamic Relations website, volunteering to fight Islamophobia. I’ll call a local mosque to offer support, or join an interfaith event. I will sign up for an “accompany my neighbor” list if one exists for my area, to be an escort for anyone who is now in fear.
3. I WILL avoid demonizing people who don’t agree with me about this election, recognizing that it’s as wrong to stereotype Trump supporters as anybody else. I will avoid Hitler metaphors, recognizing that they stop conversations and rarely persuade. I’ll remind myself that no side has a monopoly on truth and that many Trump supporters are good people who want the best for the country. The left already has gotten into trouble for condescending to working-class people, and insulting all Trump supporters as racists simply magnifies that problem.
4. I’LL DO my part to support the society I’d like to see. I’ll eat Chobaniyogurt because its owner has been subjected to racist attacks for his willingness to hire and promote refugees. Likewise, I will give blood and register for organ donation — for at least they’ll make me feel better. As will a tub of Chobani.
5. I WILL support groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center that fight hate groups, and back the center’s petition calling on Donald Trump to disavow bigotry. Depending on my interests, I’ll support an immigration rights group, the A.C.L.U. or Planned Parenthood. And I’ll subscribe to a newspaper as one way of resisting efforts to squelch the news media or preside over a post-fact landscape — and also to encourage journalists to be watchdogs, not lap dogs.
6. I WILL support refugees, one of the most demonized groups in the world. The International Rescue Committee’s work for refugees can for the first time be supported through donations to The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund. In many cities in America and abroad, volunteer can help refugees through this I.R.C. portal. More refugee resettlement agencies are here.
7. I WON’T let it slide if a friend makes degrading comments about a minority or women. Even if it’s over Thanksgiving dinner, I’ll push back and say something like: “Come on! You really think that?!” Similarly, I may not be able to prevent a sexual predator from reaching the White House, but at events I attend, I may be able to prevent a sexual predator from assaulting a drunken partygoer.
8. I WILL resist dwelling in an echo chamber. I will follow smart people on Twitter or Facebook with whom I disagree. I will also try to enlarge my social circle to include people with different views, recognizing that diversity is a wonderful thing — and that if I know only Clinton supporters, then I don’t have a clue about America.
9. I WILL do what I can in my own life to make sure that the needy aren’t forgotten in the next four years amid paroxysms of tax cuts for the wealthy. I can support Reach Out and Read, an outstanding program that helps at-risk kids learn to read: A $20 donation covers one child for a year, or one can serve as a reader. Or I can be a Big Brother or Big Sister or help through iMentor.
10. I WILL understand that progress may unfold at the state or local level, and I will engage there. It’s encouraging that voters in four states passed minimum wage measures, and in three states approved gun safety measures, while other states and localities are wrestling with climate change. And, of course, a starting point is to get my friends to vote.
11. I WILL take on sexism and misogyny, which in forms like domestic violence, sexual assault and sex trafficking affect women and girls across the country. Even today, Republicans and Democrats should be able to work together to get funding for women’s shelters or to prosecute pimps.
12. I WILL not lose hope. I will keep reminding myself that politics zigs and zags, and that I can do more than shout in the wind. I can fight for my values even between elections, and even at the micro level I can mitigate the damage to my neighbors and attempt to heal a social fabric that has been rent.
Now here’s Ms. Collins:
One of Donald Trump’s big advantages now is that he has so many awful associates. No matter what appointees he foists on us, there’s always another pal who’d have been worse. If he names some federal land-grabbing oilman as secretary of the interior, people are going to sigh with relief and say, “At least it isn’t Sarah Palin.”
And Reince Priebus — until a few days ago Priebus was just the head of the Republican National Committee, a seriously unexciting guy with a hard-to-pronounce name. Then he got picked to be White House chief of staff at the same time Steve Bannon, the loathsome alt-right cheerleader, was named chief strategy adviser. Everyone fell madly in love with Priebus, who was … way less bad.
The whole world is watching the Trump transition — nine weeks and 3,998 appointments to go! If you want to look on the bright side, remember that however horrific you feel about what’s happening in Washington, Chris Christie feels worse.
Farewell, Chris Christie, farewell. We’ve said goodbye to his political career so many times — Bridgegate, the ever-plummeting New Jersey credit rating, the time he chased a heckler down the boardwalk waving an ice cream cone. The doomed presidential race. The humiliating stint standing behind Trump at press conferences, looking as if he’d been hit on the head with a mallet. Then he was exiled to the Trump transition when nobody actually imagined there was going to be one.
Now it’s here, and he’s toast. It appears that Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner did not actually forgive and forget that Christie sent his father to jail for tax evasion. Being a prosecutor was one of the more righteous periods in Christie’s life, but it turned out to be more damaging, careerwise, than his habit of screaming at schoolteachers at public meetings.
Tweets aside, we have heard from Donald Trump only once this week — not counting the time he went to eat at the 21 Club in Manhattan and promised one of the other well-heeled diners a tax break. He was more expansive in a “60 Minutes” interview, clarifying his promise to “drain the swamp” if he was elected. Many people thought he was talking about lobbyists. But apparently it was just a passing reference to easing the regulations on inland wetlands.
“That’s the only people you have down there,” he told Lesley Stahl, explaining why his transition team was stuffed with the wealthy insiders he’d run his campaign against. The new transition is trying to sweep them under the rug. But let’s hope all the working-class voters in the Rust Belt understood that the first step to making America great again is the repeal of banking regulations.
Meanwhile, somebody is promoting Ted Cruz’s name for attorney general. Could it be … Ted Cruz? This is one potential nomination that would have no trouble getting confirmed, since the idea of getting Cruz out of the Senate would probably corral a massive vote.
The only person we know for sure is not going to be in the Trump cabinet is Ben Carson, who was briefly rumored as a possible head of the Department of Health and Human Services. But Armstrong Williams, Carson’s business manager, told The Hill that the politician-neurosurgeon had ruled that out. “Dr. Carson feels he has no government experience, he’s never run a federal agency,” Armstrong explained.
The world stops briefly, and mulls that this man did feel equipped to run for president. Then the world moves on.
But the biggest appointments gossip centered on Rudy Giuliani’s rather manic campaign for secretary of state. Everybody expected Giuliani to be in the running for attorney general, but it turned out he was keen on being appointed to a post for which he had no earthly qualifications whatsoever.
Pop Quiz: If Rudy Giuliani is nominated to a high post in the Trump administration, would you rather have the debate over his confirmation center on:
A) His millions and millions of dollars in speaking fees and work on behalf of everyone from Qatar to the maker of OxyContin.
B) The time he told reporters he was ditching his wife before he told his wife.
C) The fact that on 9/11 New York City had no emergency command center because Giuliani had insisted, over police objections, on putting it in the World Trade Center.
D) His increasing resemblance to a 100-year-old rabbit.
Admit it, you want to talk about D. At 72, Giuliani is the same age as John Kerry, who recently broke the secretary of state record with 1.3 million miles traveled on the job. But some people age badly, and Giuliani has been off his game for decades — he peaked around 1995 and it’s been a deep slide ever since.
Among the other potential candidates for secretary of state are John Bolton, the former United Nations ambassador who is famous for hating the United Nations. Bolton actually makes Giuliani seem … less awful. And there’s always Sarah Palin.
Gail, sweetie, nothing on God’s good green earth could make John Bolton less awful. Just sayin’.