Jan 21

A Guide to Living in Trump’s America

A Guide to Living in Trumps America

As I sit down to write this the United States has a new president. Donald J. Trump is now the 45th president of the United States. If your Facebook feed is anything like mine, this has caused some people quite a bit of distress. My only wish for you is happiness, so I have created a FAQ for living through a Trump presidency. It is a guide to be consulted by happy philosophers everywhere, although if you are happy with Trump as president there is probably nothing here which will be of much use to you. As with all things Trump this information may be outdated at the drop of a Tweet, and should be reconciled with reality (assuming it even exists anymore).  You may want to bookmark this article and come back to it in times of stress.

 

How should I keep informed with what the Trump administration is doing?

By doing nothing. The important stuff will filter to you through random conversations, social media and awesome blogs that you read like this one. Anything that sounds really strange you can consult the oracle (Google).

 

But shouldn’t I watch the news?

F@ck no! News is toxic and should never be consumed willingly.

 

How do I tell the difference between fake and real news?

You can’t, but it doesn’t matter because you are not going to be consuming any of it.

 

OK, but what about…

No.

 

Even if…

NO!

 

OK fine, but what if he passes laws that negatively impact me?

I’m sure he will. This can happen in any administration. You will have plenty of warning, but you have no power to change it. Only worry about things you can control. That is the Happy Philosopher way. Learn about the law, and then figure out how to make it not apply to your life. Choosing which laws to follow is a fundamental exercise of freedom. You are much smarter and more adaptable then the federal government.

 

How do I learn about the policy changes that may affect me?

Thousands of blogs and other writers will dissect and discuss policy and its implications, just like how we learned about the affordable care act and other such things.

 

What can I do to stop him?

Vote for people in the midterm elections that will oppose him if you don’t like what is happening.

 

Why are all Trump supporters crazy?

Confirmation bias. When we expect something to be true in the world we find examples that support our worldview. They think you are just as crazy and irrational. Plus there is a difference between crazy and making rational decisions.

 

Seriously?

Yes, seriously.

 

That’s crap, confirmation bias may affect other people, but not me – I’m rational.

That’s not a question. And no, you are not.

 

So they are not acting rational either then, right?

Now you are starting to get it. Electing an extreme right wing nationalist demagogue is not rational. There is an extreme level of cognitive dissonance right now and it remains to be seen how long Trump’s masterful powers of persuasion can prevail. All politicians have persuasion skills, but Trump takes this stuff to a whole new level.

 

So even though the world doesn’t make sense right now, I’m not crazy?

Correct.

 

Will Trump start a nuclear war?

Doubtful. He and his family live on this planet too you know.

 

That’s not comforting.

Worry about things you can control. You don’t have the launch codes, he does.

 

Should I participate in a protest or a march or something?

My first response to this question was “Are you serious? This isn’t the 1960’s. Nothing good can come from this. At best, you waste an afternoon. At worst, you have your picture taken by the NSA and put on a government watch list.” But after watching the worldwide marches the day after the inauguration I would now revise my answer to “It depends”. If participating in something like this gives you a sense of purpose and inspiration then I’m all for it, but it must be from a place of love, not anger or fear. Peaceful civil disobedience is something I can’t argue against in this case if you believe strongly in it.

 

So how else should I protest?

Vote. Make a lot of money. Give the money to causes you care about. No different than any other administration.

 

Should I write or call my congressman?

Save those bullets for when they are actually getting ready to vote on something really important, but this is generally a low yield activity. It’s much better than arguing with people on Facebook though.

 

Should I sell all my investments and buy gold coins, junk silver and ammunition?

No.

 

Will the stock market collapse?

No one can predict the direction of the stock market with reliability. We are many years into a raging bull market so a recession should not be surprising. It is doubtful it will have anything to do with Trump though.

 

How do I prepare for the impending zombie apocalypse?

https://blogs.cdc.gov/publichealthmatters/2011/05/preparedness-101-zombie-apocalypse/

 

Should I follow him on Twitter?

I’m not even going to dignify this one with an answer. That’s like asking if you should put all your money in a pile and burn it, or if Jar-Jar Binks was the greatest Star Wars character of all time.

 

I’m concerned about my privacy with these lunatics now in control of the NSA. What should I do?

You probably should have been concerned long before this. Privacy is a thing of the past. Use high level encryption when storing or sending sensitive information. Know that all that crazy shit you say, like, and re-post on social media is being stored and tracked.

 

What should I read to help me cope?

My recommended books are perfect for scenarios like these. Start with How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World.

http://thehappyphilosopher.com/recommendations/books/

 

I’m still angry and afraid. This FAQ sucks and is not helping. What should I do?

Fear and anger are mostly useless emotions. They do much more harm than good. We make poor decisions when we are caught in this trance. Meditation is a quick and easy way to develop awareness of your thoughts. Recognizing and accepting your anger and fear as part of you is the first step. Just putting a label on them will do amazing things for you. If you have been reading this blog for a while now and have not begun experimenting with meditation yet, you are caught in the trap of failing to act.

 

Will I be miserable for the next 4 years?

Maybe, but it will have little to do with which politicians are running the country. Your happiness is determined largely by how you choose to react to the circumstances and frame the world around you. Remember, there are still people in the world in much worse conditions that are actually happier than you. Learn to practice stoicism and create your own happiness. Read Mans Search for Meaning.

 

Will the next 4 years be as bad as I think they will?

Probably worse, which is why you need to start meditating and become a stoic. There is a non-zero possibility that things are much better than you imagine though. Only time will tell.

 

I’m dependent on ACA/Medicare/Social Security/Some other government assistance program and I’m worried they will be destroyed by heartless republicans and I will be reduced to eating cat food and living in a box. What should I do?

This is a pretty good time to reiterate one of the core messages of my blog which is to quickly achieve financial freedom so you are less reliant on things outside of your control. You have no power over government programs. You have no power over the insanely complex health care insurance markets or Medicare. This is a perfect example of why you should buy your freedom first. Whatever your circumstances in life are, chances are you could be freer right now if you had made different decisions in the past. You can’t change the past, but you can decide how you will impact your future. Use these next 4 years to become healthier, richer, and more self-reliant. Also I highly doubt most assistance programs will go away other than the ACA, which was starting to enter the early stages of an insurance death spiral anyways. Cat food is a frighteningly efficient and cheap way to get calories, but beans and rice taste better and are probably a bit healthier. These beans are 445 calories/dollar and this bag of rice is 591 calories/dollar. Not cat food cheap, but good enough.

 

What’s the deal with Kellyanne Conway? She freaks me out.

I don’t know but she freaks me out too. Listening to her gives me a headache. One more reason not to watch the news.

 

Will Trump build a wall on the U.S. Mexican border?

Do you really think something this absurd will make it through congress? Never mind, don’t answer that.

 

I’m a millennial and angry that you gen-Xers and baby boomers elected this maniac to run our country! Shame on you!

Again, not really a question, but had millennial voter turnout been as high as other demographic groups Clinton probably would have won. (Hey, it’s just not a credible FAQ unless we can somehow blame millennials).

 

Should I move to another country, like Canada?

Not unless you were already planning to, but it is never a bad idea to have a valid passport at the ready. Canada is a pretty cool place, but it is important that you first learn their language and customs if you plan on moving there.

America Flag Trump

That’s all I have for now. I will publish more information if anything changes. Stay happy and free my fellow philosophers. There is an ancient Chinese curse “may you live in interesting times”. Well, we are certainly living in interesting times aren’t we?

 

Namaste.

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17 comments

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  1. Hahaha, this is beautiful and oddly soothing, so thank you. 🙂 My feelings about the new president aside, I’m sure a recession will happen during his term–it should be interesting because I’m sure people will want to blame that on the president, even though it logically has nothing to do with him.

    My current focus is on local and state-level elections. I make sure to vote regularly for my small city elections as well as state elections. I vote with my money, too, which is just as important as voting. Spend according to your values to see change on a bigger scale.

    1. State and local policy usually affect our lives more than the national, and you have a much greater chance of actual influence there. I’ve seen people get into the trenches with state and local lobbying. It is really hard and time consuming work, but sometimes it does result in incremental change.

  2. I see you’ve moved on to “Acceptance” stage in your grief suffering 🙂

    I’ve pretty much come around to the same conclusions – turn off, tune out, focus on the positives. If something super suspect comes along it’ll be all over facebook trending and the blogs anyway.

    For the next four years, I can really only control my own finances and behavior and not impact elections that much (other than vote in 2 years during the midterms and the odd years for municipal elections).

    2 days down and no nuclear holocaust (or really much of any action). So far, so good right?

    1. Not sure where I heard this or who said it, maybe a Buddhist monk. When asked the secret to happiness he said:

      “I accept everything”.

      Over the last few years I have found this to be a deep truth. Only after acceptance am I free to move forward. My suspicion is that many will never be able to move on and will be unnecessarily miserable for the next 4 years.

      I will be counting on your blog to tell me how to handle the impending death of the ACA, as that is where I learned about strategies in retirement with health care. I have sent many people to your post. That’s the beautiful thing about the internet and free flow of information. Within weeks or months of new legislation I will have access to dozens of high quality writings that people spent days painstakingly researching.

      Day 3 and the world is still here 😉

    • Jeff on January 21, 2017 at 10:32 pm
    • Reply

    Enjoyed reading this, Jeff. Thx! 😀

    1. 🙂

  3. I see you covered zombie apocalypse, some useful info there. But what about when the uber rich people destroy the planet and then all move to space leaving the rest of us to deal with their fuck up? I guess I’ll try the meditation stuff…

    Seriously, great write-up 🙂

    1. Hahaha! Yes, there is always the escape to space scenario. My guess is that by the time we figure out the technology to sustain ourselves and survive long term in space we will have figured out how to fix anything we have destroyed here. But in the meantime, yes, meditate 😉

  4. Cat food, cat food. I’m trying to think of a good comment because I enjoyed this post, but can’t get past the cat food. I consulted The Google and apparently it is safe to eat a can of Feline Feast. Who knew? Well, I guess you did. But, we had cats growing up and while the smell of the cat-box after Bogus the Cat (real name) had unloaded a #2 was atrocious, the odor of the food wasn’t much better. If cat food was the only thing left on earth, I just might die.

    I can’t just sit back and do nothing though. You’re already aware of the Mad FIentist thong (which you should be testing right now). I’ve decided to come up a Trump thong with his picture on the front and clever sayings on the back: “You’ve been Trumped!” “Grab me by the Trump” and “Trump me Pussycat”. All profits will be donated to anti climate change groups and cat shelters.

    1. It was highly disturbing to research the cost per calorie of cat food. Let me put it this way, if we were a family of cats instead of human, I would be retired by now. Our cat looks pretty healthy…just saying.

      I like the way you combined the entrepreneurial spirit with charity and service. You are a great human Mr. 1500. Maybe the greatest. The best. Very bigly of you. Cat shelters though? I didn’t realize the Trump administration was anti-cat.

      And just to be clear: Happy philosophers DO NOT EAT CAT FOOD under any circumstances save life or death scenarios.

      1. My Trump Thong is gonna be yuuuuge! Do you want in on the affiliate program?

        Maybe cat food actually tastes good (the aliens in District 9 liked it well enough)? Hell, I used to eat SpaghettiOs all the time. That stuff probably isn’t much different than cat food. I heard a rumor that Chef Boyardee got his start at Purina.

        1. I’m all in, especially since I know it’s for charity.

          Why did you have to bring spaghettiOs into the conversation? We have standards around here!

  5. Good post. I’m not one of those that is worried so maybe I shouldn’t have read it though. But besides the cat food (I ate some dog food as a kid, never cat food), this caught my eye:

    but it is important that you first learn their language and customs if you plan on moving there.

    Isn’t that really one of the big cruxes of the problem? So many did decide to move here with no intention of learning our language or customs.

    We do still live in the greatest country on Earth and I think we still will 4-years from now. We survived the last 8-years. We can survive the next 4. :O)

    1. No, I don’t think that is a problem. The essence of America is not a language or custom, it is an idea. It is primarily an idea about freedom, which includes the freedom to be different be it custom or language. One thing America does better than anyone is absorb and assimilate all who enter. Just ask Europe. We are the Borg. Resistance is futile.

      1. Sorry, I see I messed up in my first sentence. I am NOT worried about Trump. But here is the thing, a large number of those that have come here have in fact, not assimilated. I could say more, but you have tried to keep this post a little light hearted so I will leave it there.

        If the worst does happen, I did learn last night that one of my sons is willing to live on Top Ramen for extended periods of time if necessary. PBJ, Top Ramen, and Beans, 3 really cheap foods. And your probably knew this, but tortillas can double as a fork/spoon thus saving on the need to dirty and clean utensils.

        Anyway, here is to being joyful, despite our circumstances.
        cd :O)

  6. I like the FAQ! All good points and you are right. Nothing we can do right now, but when election time comes up in 2 years….we all better get out there and vote. If not, then we have become apathetic which I hear is the 7th stage of a declining nation (that’s what my mother in law told me tonight, she is freaking out about the presidency)….alas, we will see.

    1. Voting is important, even though it is becoming less effective. There are a lot of congressional districts that are just too safe through gerrymandering. More power is yielded through the primary process in many states.

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