On January 20, 2017, Donald J. Trump will become the 45th president of the United States of America. This fact has sent many liberals in to a tailspin of shock and despair and for good reason. Candidate Trump picked whatever scabs he could in order to win votes. By doing so, he further inflamed some already deeply infected wounds. It worked. He won.
Virtually no one was more critical of Trump for deploying this tactic during his campaign than the host of HBO’s Real Time, the unabashed liberal Bill Maher. So one might forgive Maher for using his platform to lash out with blame. But instead of blaming the other side, he did something that I think we all need to take heed of. He recognized that despite all his crassness, his vulgarity, his bullying, his threats, and his asinine tweets, Donald J. Trump played the game within the rules and won.
On Real Time, Maher had this to say of Trump:
“I want to take this opportunity right now to invite him on this show. He won. He ran a vicious, vulgar campaign and I gave it back exactly in measure. I was also vicious and vulgar but he won and he did it his way. Nobody gets to sing that song more than Donald Trump.”
And guess what? Maher’s audience cheered this.
He went on to say:
“Everybody told him he couldn’t do this, he couldn’t do that, and he won. He did the hardest thing in the entire world to do: win the election as the leader of the free world.”
As bitter a pill as this is to swallow, we liberals need to be careful to not just want to grab our toys and go home. Bill Maher set this example perfectly. We are going to have a new president. Now more than ever we need to evaluate our ideas and be ready to defend them. That is why Bill Maher invited Trump to be a guest on his show.
Yes, there are racists in this country but there aren’t that many racists. Yes, there are sexists in this country but there aren’t that many sexists. Yes, there are homophobes in this country but there aren’t that many homophobes. We must fight the urge to paint with broad brushstrokes all those who voted for Trump as racists, sexists, and homophobes because doing so not only cheapens the labels, it strengthens the resolve of those incensed by the accusation.
So I say damn the safe spaces. The marketplace of ideas has to be wide open for business and we progressives need to figure out a better way of selling. If you are protesting, then protest peacefully. But I have an even better idea. Vote in the 2018 midterm. And find five of your friends who didn’t vote in this election and convince them to vote for progressive leaders and causes in 2018. Be angry. Be disappointed. But be impactful.
Watch the entire segment here:
Featured image via YouTube screengrab