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Screaming at the sky versus sitting by the sickbed

Four years ago, rage at the election of Trump expressed itself in a lot of what looked like performance art: screaming at the sky, ‘the literal shakening’ and so on. The usual celebrities as usual did not keep their promises to leave the USA if it happened – but I know from personal contacts that not all of it was cost-free to its enactors. One west-coast guy decided he had to abandon a trip abroad “because Trump may not let me back in!” This guy was a US citizen. He was not even a muslim. In fact, he was the kind of guy some muslims throw off tall buildings. But he seemed genuinely to think the risk that Trump would (and could) not let people like him back into the country exceeded the risk of his meeting one of that sect of muslims (or similar) while out of it. Much calming talk was needed to persuade him that just maybe he could risk leaving his country and returning after the inauguration as arranged, rather than endure the non-zero inconvenience of staying put. If this was performance art, it at least presented as willing to pay a small personal price.

Today, people like Sarah Hoyt feel worried about the state of US democracy. As a poll watcher in Colorado in years past, she witnessed Democrat fraud and GOP spinelessness at close quarters. Born in Portugal, she knows another political culture as well as America’s, so she has a keener sense of what could be lost. She likens her feelings to sitting by a sickbed – something she has also experienced. Sometimes you are in the hospital room with the one you love – for whom you can do almost nothing. Sometimes you can’t be with them but must sit in the waiting room – and must force yourself to plan, to think, to use the time. Sometimes you are back home where there are things you must do, other people you must care for – or at work from which you must keep earning. There is no scope for the indulgence of screaming at the sky. You have to manage your feelings as best you can.

Another way of not letting yourself fret at moments when you have nothing relevant to contribute is to let your mind step back and reflect on – for example – what these different reactions say about the rival movements they represent. At the 10,000 foot level, there are some very broad psychological similarities between the state of some people in 2016 and others today. In 2016, many hoped that faithless electors, the emoluments clause, the clause about removing an insane president, Jill Stein’s recount or finding proof that Russians hacked the voting machines would make Trump vanish like a bad dream. Today, many hope that fraud of a more domestic and familiar kind, unusual mostly only for its scale, can be demonstrated. I think they do so with better cause, of course, but that is only secondarily related to the difference in how they manage stress. I think the decision to manage stress with (relatively) more self-discipline or more self-indulgence is the more basic fact – related to who adopted which politics in the first place.

23 comments to Screaming at the sky versus sitting by the sickbed

  • Exasperated

    The media is so petty and so vindictive that they have not featured Melania Trump on the cover of women’s magazines. I cannot even fathom what Trump did that made them so rabid. It’s been non stop false accusations and exaggerated stories, the pretense that they knew his innermost thoughts, the manipulation of video, the suppression of anything exculpatory, deliberate misinterpretation of everything he said, every story slanted in the most negative way using the most negative adjectives, adverbs, and verbs. He dealt with a press that was mostly hostile, often trying to bait him, always with the gotchas. I understood why he didn’t release his tax returns, given the nature of his business, multiyear real estate developments. I can’t tell you how many half baked claims my clueless coworker told me about Trump never paying any income taxes etc… I don’t think anyone has withstood the barrage of hate or has been subjected to as much scrutiny as Trump. The media never seemed to realize that they drove all the fair minded people to Trump. Most of us realize that he is just a stand in for traditional America.

  • Exasperated

    What do you make of this? It’s hard to believe any election official would be that stupid.

    Team Trump
    WATCH: Crowd gasps after finding out that a mysterious spike of votes in Pennsylvania had 600,000 votes for Biden and only 3,200 for @realDonaldTrump

  • The Wobbly Guy

    They’re not stupid.

    It’s sheer chutzpah. Brazen fraud. ‘We’re in control of almost all the institutions that matter. What can these proles do to us?’

    Events seem to be proving them right.

    I really hope they are wrong and the election fraud is confirmed and forces a do-over, this time with more stringent voting rules and close monitoring.

  • George Atkisson

    It does seem that for millions of Americans, but especially the Media, the Deep State, and Academia, Trump Derangement Syndrome has become an addiction. They NEED to be fed reasons to justify their inchoate rage at President Trump for derailing the Leftist March to a One World Utopia. They had it all within their grasp, and yet it was all torn away by that Orange Man and the Deplorables. It was WRONG and therefore must be opposed at every step, in every way, By Any Means Necessary. Therefore Trump can do nothing right in their eyes. Nominated 4 times for a Nobel Peace Prize, bringing our military home, jumpstarting a faltering economy, freeing minorities from unjust jail time, reducing minority unemployment to its lowest level in decades? Just a smoke screen for his failures to embrace the goals and priorities of the Left. Millions of Americans are totally unaware of these good things as all mention of them has been ruthlessly suppressed and censored by both broadcast and social media. https://pjmedia.com/election/tyler-o-neil/2020/11/24/explosive-study-media-suppression-of-8-key-stories-stole-this-election-for-joe-biden-n1170347

    Every day here it gets harder to hold on to one’s sanity. There truly are Two Americas, and communication between the two is becoming increasingly impossible. I have no clue how this will work itself out, or whether what was once the USA will become something unrecognizable.

  • Flubber

    If you think the Trump hatred is bad now, imagine what will happen if the contested states are awarded to Trump by the electors because of the demonstrable levels of fraud.

    The left will truly lose their shit.

    It would be hilarious, if not for the inevitable loss of life that will follow.

  • Exasperated

    I too feel bad for Middle Working America. If you are attached to traditional mores and standards; embrace math, grammar, and experimental science; and believe in limited government, the Bill of Rights, equality before the law, a sovereign America, the future looks rather bleak. The forces arrayed against the middle have a lot of clout. It seems to me that it springs from three different sources, the Global Corporatists, the Entrenched Bureaucracy. and the Woke crowd. I don’t think they necessarily have identical motivations, or identical endgames, but they do overlap. It’s the same kind of people, with the same kind of backgrounds rotating in an out of the corporations and the Bureaucracy. The Woke crowd is more down with Communism while the Deep state/Corporatist alliance is more about some creepy, paternalistic, dystopia where law and economic economic policy comes from the top down. At the end of the day, it’s is a distinction without a difference. The Corporatists and the Bureaucrats do not wish Working People well in any way, at all. Meanwhile, the Woke types use Middle America as scapegoat. I kinda suspect that the Woke activists are being used by the Deep state/Corporatist alliance.

  • bobby b

    “If you are attached to traditional mores and standards; embrace math, grammar, and experimental science; and believe in limited government, the Bill of Rights, equality before the law, a sovereign America, the future looks rather bleak.”

    Not really.

    If you get out of the big metropolitan centers – if you get out into the remaining 80% or so of the country – out of the packed progressive enclaves – life goes on. Life is good. What those urban mob progressives do affects most other people very little. Television sucks, because it’s all so woke, and so it becomes a subject of derision. If you read politics all day, you can become enraged, but if you don’t, you don’t hardly even notice it all.

    Aside from the Covid mess, and outside of those metro centers, employment is up, money is flowing, crime is down, and tension is low. Most of the true angst relates, I think, to people who get so caught up in “them versus us” that they cannot stand that they’re not winning the big national political battle. It’s a psychic pain borne of pride and ego.

    Nothing bleak here. (And even for me, only miles from Minneapolis, I can still go about my normal life and speak to normal people and enjoy myself.)

    The internet makes everything personal. Omigawd, they’re killing our country! I read about it all over! The happiest people I know have good lives and consciously step apart from what doesn’t affect them. And it really isn’t that we’re on the cusp of the breakdown – especially with this newly-weakened federal government, the pain is mostly going to arise from four years of lost Trump opportunities.

  • The Wobbly Guy

    @bobby b,

    For your sakes, I hope you are right. I can already foresee one easy way the swamp can wreck your lives – at the pump.

    Maybe Biden sells out to the fossil fuel industry and keeps on fracking. Unless Kamala takes over… and I have absolutely no idea whether she is a true believer or just a cynical power pragmatist.

  • bobby b

    “For your sakes, I hope you are right. I can already foresee one easy way the swamp can wreck your lives – at the pump.”

    Oh, man, hit me where I live. My current ride gets 8mpg.

    We’re at $1.90 per gallon now. My only consolation if they were to ban fracking would be that food production would plummet – totally fuel-dependent – which would hurt them a lot more than us. I doubt Biden & Co. are that dumb.

  • JohnK

    The main difference between 2016 and 2020 it seems to me is that in 2016 the Democrats forgot to cheat. They did not take Trump seriously, and just assumed Clinton would win. They did not make that mistake again in 2020.

    It is sometimes said that QE means that governments do not need taxes, and by implication taxpayers. They can simply make money, or a simulacrum for the same, out of thin air. It seems that the Democrats have discovered a type of QE for elections, whereby voters are no longer needed. Biden actually told the 56% of Americans who said they were better off under Trump not to vote for him. How do you expect to win if you instruct the majority of voters not to vote for you? It’s easy if you don’t need them to vote for you.

    The Democratic Party has proved that you can put up a senile, corrupt old geezer who never leaves his basement up for president and win. Biden’s “victory” is about as real as all the QE money is real. It only works if we all pretend to believe it. The moment this pretence stops, everything collapses. This is the Democratic Party’s gift to America.

  • Mark

    @Bobby B,

    Absolutely, more so this side of the pond. Outside of third world shiteholes like London, life goes on and for many it’s still pretty good.

    I could write war and peace on this as I’m sure certain shills could in opposition but what the hell.

    Looking at it from here does allow a degree of attachment and the sheer graceless, hubristic arrogance of the Democrat (the machine, not necessarily of course all those who voted for it) left finds its mirror here in the rejoin fanatics.

    They are playing with forces they don’t understand. Inevitable I suppose if you don’t know what those forces are. It’s like releasing plague rats in the deluded belief that they are only going to bite your enemies.

    So Beijing bedshitter Biden become president. What are the lunatic left going to do given that he won’t – can’t – fulfill many of their fantasies (Biden – placeholder for whoever is actually pulling the strings).

    Orange man bad of course, but orange man not president. Blame game can go on a while though. Margaret thatcher died 7 years ago and hasn’t been PM for 30. The butthurt is still there though.

  • Outside of third world shiteholes like London

    Most of London is just peachy, or at least it was before the state shut down civil society. If you think London is a third world shitehole, you need to get out of the small islands of third world shiteholeness.

  • Mark

    Hit a nerve there!

  • Stress is of course related to fear. Dr Helen’s advice is Do not be afraid. That is on topic for this particular post, and fostering a courageous temperament is very good advice for life in general.

    Courage is not just a virtue. It is the form of every virtue under test. Pontius Pilate was merciful – till it became risky. (C.S.Lewis, quoted from memory)

    Dr Helen’s statement alone is a bit terse, more goal than process. Her following words could be interpreted to mean that it is better to act than to fret – and I’d agree with that. But the whole point of Sarah Hoyt’s by-the-sickbed discussion is that sometimes, for good reasons, meaningful action is not your province – the doctor’s medicine and the patient’s will to live may matter, but your sole task is to be there caring, so how do you manage that – and how did people of very different temperament respond in the same situation?

    I fully understand and accept my post will get remarks that are related but off its specific topic. I hope people appreciate this attempt to remind what that specific topic was.

  • Being outside a progressive hellhole means you have a firewall between you and the present madness. Firewalls are for giving you time to deal with the disaster, whether it’s evacuation or to fight like hell to stop it from spreading to where it’s a daily personal tragedy.

    Glenn Reynolds has been talking about a Welcome Wagon effort for five years now. I looked it up. For five years, the right in the US has been waiting for Sheldon Adelson to come to our rescue. It’s about time to realize that it isn’t happening.


    Mailing that address is currently how you sign up for an effort to actually make a welcome wagon. If you’re a US real estate professional, I want to talk to you about distribution. If you’re one of the great souls that are the keepers of local culture, I want to tell the stories you’ve been keeping alive so that transplants don’t act like the unthinking reformer in the story about Chesterton’s fence.

  • bobby b

    Stress is usually self-induced by our fears and egos. I felt for four years that the progressives could not look at the Trump presidency and tell themselves “this, too, shall pass.” They were generating and feeding and glorying in their own self-induced stress. At the end of those four years, I’m not seeing the more racist, classist, unfair and unjust society that they all loudly feared and so readily now see. Their fears were and are overblown.

    I thought this was a major difference between the “sides.”

    Now, I’m not so sure. I’m seeing the same hysteria from my side.

    This, too, shall pass.

  • george m weinberg

    It was all bullshit. The guy who claimed to think Trump might not let him back in was just enjoying a fantasy of personal importance. No doubt Trump was and remained
    blissfully unaware of his existence. Further, Trump couldn’t get the career bureaucrats who allegedly reported to him to execute his lawful orders. How could he have forced them to
    execute an unlawful one?

    If Trump had had a stroke in say 2018 and had to step down, the Dems would quickly decide that Pence was even worse than Trump. Half the “never Trump” Republicans would also.

    I never liked Trump myself. He is sleazy, narcissistic, and frequently inarticulate, among other things. But none of these have anything to do with why the left hates him. He is less sleazy than
    Clinton, less narcissistic than Obama, and as far as inarticulate goes, Biden takes that to a whole new level. The left considers these qualities to be charming when it is one of their own.

  • Paul Marks

    Yes Niall there are two massive problems – not one.

    The evil of the left, the Democrats, the education system, the “mainstream” media, is only to be expected. They are evil – that is that they stand for. It is, after all, the left-hand-path, it leads to Hell.

    But the other problem is the cowardice of “Republicans” and “Conservatives” – do not rock the boat, do not undermine “trust in the system” and on and on.

    And they say to themselves – “it is just Trump – when the left get rid of him, they will leave us alone”.

    Those sort of Republicans (the “Biden is a centrist” crowd) are in for a very nasty shock.

    Mr Biden is not a centrist (he never has been – check his Senate voting record) and he is not in control anyway – he is a PUPPET.

  • Paul Marks

    There is some hope – and even in big States.

    For example, why did the Democrats not rig FLORIDA?

    They wanted to (very much) and there are more Democrats in Florida than there are in Georgia – it should have been easier to rig.

    They did not rig Florida because local Republicans did not let them rig Florida – they passed laws and they ENFORCED those laws.

    In short – unlike Republicans in some other States (hello Georgia) they were not cowards.

    It is not rocket science – demand proof of I.D. for all voters, and check all mail-in ballots (in fact count them first – having checked that they are actually from the people they are supposed to be from).

    And stay away from dodgy computer systems – Texas said NO, other States could have said NO.

  • JohnK


    You are right. The Governor of Georgia, a Republican, is, I assume, not an idiot. He selected the Dominion voting machines in the full knowledge of their vulnerability to fraud, the very reason the Governor of Texas rejected them.

    Given that, one can only conclude that the Governor of Georgia’s decision, made only in June 2019, was corrupt. Whatever he was paid, I hope it was worth it. I also hope he spends a good few years behind bars to contemplate his treachery.

  • Paul Marks

    JohnK – the Governor of Georgia and the Secretary of State are named in Sidney Powell’s legal complaint.

    In a just society they would be punished for failing to prevent Election Fraud – but in our world I doubt it.

    As for the left – what bobby b (I think) fails to see, is “the left” includes the government bureaucracy and often the courts, as well as the largest CORPORATIONS on the planet.

    It is these people who threaten his liberty and that of his family – not a few people like “AOC”.

    Google, Comcast, Disney (on and on) are all run by Collectivist hired managers – and Jeff Bezos of Amazon may know it is all nonsense, but he goes along with it.

    He owns the Washington Post – and Amazon helps fund “Black Lives Matter” (as do many of the big BANKS) – which burned down areas of Minneapolis.

    The situation is really bad – Big Business and the government bureaucracy from above, and the thugs on the street from below.

    “Bottom Up – Top Down” riots on the streets leading people to hand over their lives to the Corporations and the government officials (such as the charming Mr Keith Ellison – Attorney General of Minnesota).

    “And what do you suggest to fight all this Paul?”

    That is my failing – I understand the situation, but I have not got a clue what to do.

  • This article on how to maintain your sanity is relevant enough to the post that I decided to link it here. Hopefully no-one here needs advice on how to remain sane 🙂 – but it says some sensible things. (h/t instapundit)

  • Some good advice from Sarah Hoyt, plus some alarming advice, based on her younger experiences in Portugal, on how certain things work out and how to handle it. The good advice is relevant to this post, hence the link. I hope my American friends will not need the alarming advice, but it is sensible to know someone’s experience. Our universal hope is that 2021 will be more normal. If this proves to be the reverse of what transpires, then it won’t be like anything we have experienced before, so the experience of others is worth having.