In responding to a Trump bully on FB, I replied, “Ah, another Trump bully looking for a fight.” That, so far, has shut this bully up. But who knows. They do have a tendency to simmer for a while then raise their ugly heads again in toxic reply. Most of these Trump followers are either hardened cult members who’ve swallowed the Kool Aid and would effectively die for their fascist leader. Or perhaps they are politicians in the fetid mold of Marjorie Taylor Greene who back Trump as they would a deal with the devil that they bargain will get them reelected or at least prevent death threats to them or their families as never-Trump folks have experienced. Or perhaps they are Fox “News” viewers who are longing to be noticed and acknowledged in a society that is changing faster than you can say Jack Robinson, and, in fact, are increasingly looking like Jackie Robinson. They’re scared for their future and voted for Trump in an attempt to stem the rising tide of reality, the tide that raises even their resistant ships.
Whoever they are, their minds tend to harden and calcify over time, particularly as Trump doubles and triples down on his election and Joe Biden presidency lies. They are not necessarily white supremacists who are merely riding on Trump’s coattails with their own nefarious agenda, but they are also not necessarily those on the streets or in their Trump trucks carrying Trump placards. But many are ardent Facebookers who seem to be constantly monitoring the news feed for posts criticizing their heavyweight (or is it overweight?)champion. It’s almost like they hover over their computers in endless vigil like East German soldiers used to do at the Berlin Wall ready to shoot those trying to escape. Ultimately, like any bully, their aim is to perpetrate a fight, a virulent diatribe that devolves into a deeper and deeper rabbit hole of vitriol. So their initial foray is a direct spit in the eye, wanting to be sure to get the kind of response they are looking for.
It is, of course, tempting to spit back, thinking that will shut this bully up, but it doesn’t work that way. For that revs up the bully and gets his inner juices to acidify even more. He then gets even more personal, for he knows from experience that the more personal his attacks the more he will inflict an injury not on the body but on the ego which is even more apt to get a personal response. Once that response is accomplished, he’s off to the races knowing he’s enticed a probable liberal into the kind of confrontation he’s looking for. On the other hand, such a Trump bully would probably make a good ad man, getting people to buy products that they don’t particularly need or even want. But that’s another post.
So I would suggest to take a breath and not respond to the Trump bully’s first volley. This is after all a kind of cold war not a hot one. Check to see how their bullying comments makes you feel, both intellectually and viscerally. What’s your first reaction and what would you say back if you responded immediately. Would it be “an eye for an eye”? Would it be a “never again”? Would it be a “love thine enemy?” It’s always good to just observe that first reaction before any actual action. That’s puts the situation under your control and not the bully’s who expects you will act on your first reaction immediately. Bullies love gut reactions as they often lead to the fights they crave.
After that first wave hits the shore, see if you can come up with something that conveys your feelings without getting personal. That’s key, for as soon as you get into personal territory you bring out the bully’s claws. From the 8th grade through high school it was often obnoxious reference to one’s mother that got the cock fight going. But in adulthood it’s words like “insane” or “stupid” or “idiot” or “cult” or now, “Trump” that revs up the engines. One word of caution: bullies are quite adept at turning a dialogue into an out and out fight. Any reaction on your part is, in part, a victory for a bully, particularly a Trump bully. So remember, in a flight or fight scenario, flight is as good a reaction as any. That translates as instead of responding, forget and continue to scroll the news feed. That turns the boil to a simmer to an outright turning the flame off. But if you must respond, read on.
Whatever you come up with (and I do think you should consider my suggestion at the beginning of this piece), you’ll need to go back to the bully’s comment that got you to this point in the proceeding. Do you actually know what he is saying and why he is saying it (btw, the bully is almost always male!)? Is your comeback addressing what he is saying? If you were him, what would your reaction be to your return comment? That effectively passes your comment through a few filters, which offers no guarantees of success but at least more thoroughness on your part).
And what is success? For me, it would be what I experienced in my most recent skirmish: no response at all. Silence from the bully indicates that none of his criteria have been met for further battles. I submit you will never convince a Trump bully to acquiesce to your argument. He will never agree with you or even concede you have a point. His belief is ironclad, rigid, inflexible, and as hardened as an anvil, just like his leader Donald Trump. And as that attitudinal approach will be Trump’s downfall, as it has already led to his defeat in the 2020 election, it will ultimately and eventually lead to the bully giving up his campaign, much like the kid in the 8th grade who bullied me for a time back in the day, or this guy in FB who failed to return my “Ah, another Trump bully looking for fight.”
A Happy, healthy, peaceful New Year, y’all!
Three books of mine, all published in 2021, await your inspection and, perhaps, purchase on Amazon. They are The Valley Spirit: Living a Tao-inspired Life, Into the Woods…and Beyond, and Golf 360: For Current Players and Those Considering the Game. Thank you.