Donald Trump’s campaign got creamed on Friday with the release of video evidence of unprecedented lewdness. It has forced his supporters to rethink that support to some extent.
These last few days in the world of politics have been challenging in a remarkably strange way. The emotional reasoning, over-generalizing, black-and-white thinking, unreal ideals, etc., are descriptive of differing types of something. That “something” is a called a “thinking error.”
“Thinking errors” are irrational patterns of thinking that can cause you to feel bad and sometimes act in self-defeating ways.
Reminiscing back to my days as a counselor, thinking errors were things we were trained to spot and address in our clients as soon as a possible. Progress is difficult, if not impossible, when someone having difficulty is stuck in a cycle of thinking errors as a means of coping.
A common thinking error is called “over generalization.” One I have heard this week several times in reference to the infamous Trump tapes goes like this: “all men say things like that in private.” Newsflash to men and women everywhere: no we don’t.
I am almost fifty years old. I worked in a juvenile prison for over five years. I was not only a fraternity member in college, I was the president of my chapter. I was and still try to be an athlete. I have been in my share of locker rooms.
Men do not talk about how they assault women. We do not talk about forcing ourselves on women. And “the good ones” don’t refrain from saying these things out of deference to our daughters, sisters, wives and mothers. We refrain from saying these things because as a rule, men don’t do these things, think these things, and certainly don’t brag about them. Men, as is the case with all humans, generally have a sense of right and wrong.
There are sexists in our culture. Donald Trump being a monster doesn’t make me or other men one. Is it my responsibility to fight against the objectification of women? Absolutely. It is the responsibility of our entire culture, starting with men.
Next is the black-and-white or all-or-nothing thinking error. This is the one where Trump supporters think the world will end when his defeat actually occurs. No it won’t. To Clinton fans, the same would apply had your candidate performed in such an un-electable way.
Putting a stop to this erroneous thinking cycle will enable voters to be more logical in their voting. But it will also make them more calm. What exactly do unconditional, pro-Trump, pro-GOP voters truly believe will occur as our nation transitions from a Barack Obama administration to a Hillary Clinton one? What doomsday awaits us?
I vividly recall the transition from President Jimmy Carter to President Ronald Reagan. The Iran Hostage crisis ended in the days around Reagan’s first Inauguration Day in 1981. It created the appearance that the hostages were released out of fear of Reagan, though history tells us differently. The release process started months earlier in negotiation with the Carter administration. However, it did give momentum for the “peace through strength” approach of the Reagan Administration. In other words, it wasn’t an all-or-nothing situation, no matter how partisans of the day described it at the time.
The fact is that Hillary Clinton has a plan and an ideology that will steer her administration. And she is not being elected as our monarch. She is being elected president. Our nation still has two other branches of government and nearly 250 years of self governing ingrained in our cultural souls.
The people who are desperately hanging on to the idea of a Donald Trump presidency as a legitimate answer to all of the things that are wrong in our nation are dangerously living in denial. Take a deep breath. Give up the errors in thinking. Quit hoping for the next great stunt to serve as the savior of a failed campaign.
We are better than this as a people. I am convinced of it.
I have written it many times that there are worse things in life than losing an election. Even when there seems to be millions of people who feel as if they are personally losing this one.
“Personalization” is the last thinking error I want to point out. The Americans supporting Donald Trump are not the ones losing this election. Trump is. The rest of Americans need to gather themselves, put their emotions in check, and get back to simply being American.
Thankfully, things aren’t as awful around here as some want us to think it is.
All men are not monsters. All politicians are not liars. All will not be lost.
Even after Donald Trump loses this election.