Triggered by Trump trolls?
Minding my own business, enjoying a gorgeous late-summer Sunday porch afternoon trudging dutifully through the thick, tree-killing New York Times with thoughtful articles about my cisgender white male privilege, I checked Facebook to catch up with friends and family.
There, like a punch in the face by a Proud Boy white supremacist to an anti-fascist protester at a neo-Nazi rally, was this meme from Kambree Kawahine Koa, aka, “Kambree Nelson,” aka “right-wing Twitter personality,” aka “political news personality” with no real journalism job, experience, expertise or ethos, so of course she’s a “Daily Caller contributor.”
Pity anyone who doesn’t see that Ms. Koa invented her scenario. She had to school her “liberal neighbor” that it’s “either Trump or Socialism” and neighbor’s “jaw dropped” because “she never looked at it that way”? While this is a delicious Trumpster fantasy about stupid liberals, who sounds dumber: The neighbor, or Koa thinking people believe her story, or people who do?
(You know internet stuff is eye-rolling when “jaws drop” like Jim Carrey’s in The Mask. When’s the last time your jaw actually dropped except for a Hardee’s Monster Thickburger or on command by your oral surgeon after you failed to floss after too many Monster Thickburgers?)
Let me admit: I’m an ignorant brainwashed liberal sheep that blindly follows left-wing propagandists (and also thoughtful Republicans who are sickened by Trump), as opposed to much smarter Trump people who parrot right-wing propagandists and think for themselves.
In any case, Ms. Koa’s meme triggered me. I fixed myself a United Airlines Inexplicably Delayed Flight Cocktail (Grey Goose neat with two Xanax) and worked through seven stages of recovery from the attack on my personal agency:
1. Turn the other cheek
This didn’t work. Even after 20 minutes of yoga, meditation, medication and deep breathing, I nearly burst from unhealthy suppression of my feelings.
Yes, of course I’m completely self-actualized, existing on a higher zen plane than you poor tragic mortals. So I love, appreciate and seek to understand all humans, even the irritating ones populating airports.
But “turning the other cheek” from Koa’s incendiary dreck? Who in my self-actualized arrogance am I trying to be, for chrissake — Jesus Christ?
2. Offer a sneering rejoinder
I started by replying, “‘Simple’ is right, LOL!”
Unsatisfied — suffering l’esprit d’escalier, “the wit of the staircase,” aka, what I wish I’d said — I followed with, “I think the word we’re searching for here is ‘simplistic’.”
Then I realized how coastal liberal elite grammatical logical correctly spelled word-nerd non-Trumpy that sounded. So I was “self-owning,” as alt-right online warriors like to bray in their nonsensical chest-beating bullying way as they declare they “won,” as losers do to salve their insecurities.
3. Do bad stand-up comedy
“Trump or socialism”? That’s my choice? What’s the deal with that? It’s like making me choose between oral surgery and visiting my in-laws!
I’m not a socialist, but compared to Trump you’re making socialism look pretty, pretty, pretty good, am I right people? Where do I sign up? Are there snacks? Did anyone bring some crickets to break the deadly silence?
4. Turn the tables by playing victim
Bullies go Charlie Brown — “why’s everybody always pickin’ on me”— when people they intend to provoke are provoked and fight back.
So I tried playing the victim card:
“The powerful Trump right wing isn’t satisfied that they control the government, including the presidency, the Senate and nearly half the House, and the Supreme Court, as well as most states, the number-one cable news network, Fox, the NRA and the truthy dark web.
“They also need to smear me as a ‘socialist’ if I don’t fall in line behind Trump. They’re like Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro’s supporters who attacked his opponents for daring to challenge him.”
5. Consider the source
Ms. Koa has been outed as a phony and liar, a cynical social media bottom-feeder self-righteously spewing fake news and history (“The Democrats created KKK”) to rile credulous Trump lovers, in this case by parroting Trump reelect/GOP/Fox talking points.
Koa’s “brand” succoring and suckering MAGAs seems — forgive my skepticism — like a pure money play, as her resume keeps shifting to new gigs. Is she “VP of Field Operations for Healthy Habits Global”? Or is she a “Professional Speaker, Coach, mentor, team builder and international business builder” and “founder” of the fake “Blacks for Trump”?
Who knows who Koa is? “She” might be a Russian troll or fellow traveler helping Putin divide and conquer America. Or maybe a gifted parodist, Swiftian provocateur or satirical character invented by The Onion but dropped when the joke backfired because MAGAs took her seriously.
Whatever. Don’t trust me. Look ‘er up. Ask if Kambree Kawahine Koa is the right voice of America making us greater.
6. Snarkily whatabout
The “whatabout” is a favorite MAGA “debate” hack, as in “what about Hillary?” and “what about AOC and Ilhan Omar?” and “what about when Obama …?” As if two wrongs make a right — the terrible horrible things the DemocRats did or do justify anything Trump does.
Cool! Let me try the whatabout with another Koa meme: “America; the only country where people check their food stamp balance on a $900 smartphone and complain about oppression.”
To which I reply, “America; the only country where people get free Medicare and other government assistance and complain about socialism on their $900 smartphones.”
7. Apply inconvenient facts
While Koa’s food-stamp meme aims to feed white racial resentment against minorities, we all know whites in fact are America’s #1 welfare recipients, including Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (food stamps) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.
Also, eight of the 10 states with the highest population receiving food stamps voted for Trump. And a higher percentage of whites than blacks receive welfare assistance. Meanwhile, Trump whites complain about oppression by the socialist liberals.
Wait — is Koa slyly but affectionately mocking her white Trumpy fans by saying, “America; the only country where people check their food stamp balance on a $900 smartphone and complain about oppression”? If so, the joke is too sophisticated for this stupid liberal to get.
These seven tips might not work for everyone.
Some might try the Five Stages of Grief — denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. But for me, acceptance of Trumpism is impossible.
So I’m going back to my Sunday New York Times because it’s easier for me to handle white cisgender liberal privileged guilt than the sneering divisive cynical snark of Kambree Kawahine Koa and her Trump-trolly ilk.
But I hope my journey to personal peace doesn’t trigger anyone.
Jeffrey Denny is a Washington writer.