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 As with all things Trump this information may be outdated at the drop of a Tweet, and should be reconciled with reality (assuming it even exists anymore).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…
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.
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?
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?
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?
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.
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.
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?