Holiday Conversations With An Orange Elephant In The Room

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I don’t know what to say.

And even though it’s awkward to say something, remaining quiet, somehow, seems wrong considering how not normal all of this is.

For me, an introvert, this holiday season is quickly morphing into, if not the worst one ever, high up there on the list.

I admit that it’s not like I adore this time of year to begin with, but I am, at least, trying to be social. Talking sense + spirit. Attempting to meet people halfway.

Not ranting about politics.

But after this presidential election, there’s an orange elephant named Donald in the room, and people are getting completely whacked, saying goofy things that do not put them in a good light.

ARE YOU FINDING THIS, TOO?

~ ~ • ~ ~

So far I’ve heard…

  1. Well, we couldn’t have a girl running the country, now could we? I had to vote for Trump.
  2. I finally got a gun so with Trump in office I’ll be prepared to shoot anyone [Nazis?] at the door.
  3. If you’ll only empathize with the Trumpsters and talk with them about the true meaning of democracy, I’m sure they’ll come around to a more moderate point of view.
  4. I’m glad Obama is out of office. He made me buy health insurance, that I was going to do anyhow, but I don’t want him [a black man?] telling me to do it.
  5. I hate, hate, hate to the nth degree anyone who voted for Trump. I can’t talk with them anymore. I just cannot.

~ ~ • ~ ~

EACH ONE OF THESE PEOPLE IS NUTS IN A DIFFERENT WAY.

But the thing is that I’m not their therapist, so I can state an opinion.  I’m not their confessor, so I’m not required to forgive them.  And in many cases, I’m merely an acquaintance, so you’d think they’d keep their attitude to themselves.

But sadly they don’t.

I mean, on the one hand I don’t care how delusional people are as long as they’re no danger to me or society;  but I can’t help wondering if I don’t figure out a way to speak up consistently against politically based crazy, am I not contributing to the problem?

An orange problem named Donald Trump, that is.

Published by

Ally Bean

Observant. Creative. Humorous. Adaptable. Happy enough. Looking for the crumb of truth in the cookie of life.

77 thoughts on “Holiday Conversations With An Orange Elephant In The Room”

  1. I don’t have a good answer to this problem. We have people living in truly different universes who can’t agree on what the problems are and what the facts are. In that case it is impossible for them to talk or think sensibly about solutions even with the best of intentions and efforts to practice civility. So much of the craziness is driven by fear and fear really is the mind killer. Somewhere there is a clear point between despair and delusional optimism. We live, as described in the supposed ancient Chinese curse, in interesting times.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. bobcabkings, I find it impossible to know what to say or how to behave when confronted head on with such a wide variety of responses to this election.

      I get that people live in different universes, but to say “Merry Christmas” to me in one breath– and then sing the praises of a misogynistic, xenophobic, narcissistic fraud who has spent his adult life avoiding responsiblity and whose biggest success has been hosting a reality TV show, is giving me mental/emotional whiplash. I know that facts are now passé, but I still cling to the idea that a bit of logic could only help heal this country.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Uh, no, I’m not experiencing that. (I am so grateful!)
    I do, however, find I am attending ‘the war on Christmas’, but I have grown accustomed to my role, which is to smile and remain still and quiet, otherwise.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. joey, these conversations are way beyond “the war on Christmas” ones. Like you, those conversations make me smile quietly to myself.

      No, this is people going off in all sorts of dramatic directions as a response to Trump being elected. None of it is normal and leaves me feeling alone/baffled/scared. I want to say something because I fear that saying nothing is interpreted as agreement. Which is not a good thing.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I understand. I may be suffering from cowardice at times, but there’s also a bit of self-preservation and a lot of energy conservation involved in being quiet. It’s scary because if you do say anything, you may well be attacked and it can escalate quickly.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. So true. I find that I’m great at writing out my thoughts, but when in the moment with people staring at me I freeze. And that, like you said, makes not being quiet scary. Such a stupid problem to have at this time of year!

          Liked by 2 people

  3. I know this year is going to be difficult, more so than previously, because of Trump. Refusing to offer up your opinion isn’t being part of the problem, rather, think of it as your choice to not contribute to the crazy that is already existing.

    Already had several premonitions of flying turkey and spitting gravy during Christmas Eve dinner with my brother and sister-in-law, both staunch supporters of Clinton. I’ll be the introvert under the table 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. w1nt3l, laughing here. I like the idea of being “the introvert under the table.” I can relate, but wonder how that’ll help anyone move beyond the vitriol the orange elephant has dumped into our lives. I’m not looking for confrontations, but I’m taken aback by what I’m hearing…

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’ve been contemplating doing an orange tan, you know, to be camouflaged and hide in plain sight…LOL

        All we can do is write like our lives depend on it and be honest when asked direct questions. I’ve fallen back on the line “Don’t ask a question you won’t like the answer to.” several times in the last few months.

        Liked by 4 people

        1. Brilliant ideas! The orange thing is a winner and your response is a good one. I wonder if I can sound menacing enough as I say it to thwart any further conversation? Perhaps add a snarl, too?

          Liked by 1 person

    1. lorrie, I know. I figured I wasn’t the only one trying to determine how to handle the extreme responses of both pro-Trump and anti-Trump supporters. I’m a politically moderate woman, so I feel like I’m hearing it all from all sides. And I don’t like it! I’m about ready to go passive aggressive Southern Belle on all of them and yell: “Well bless your little heart.”

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Ack! The girl jokes came out at the Thanksgiving table (hosted by ME) and I was so stunned. The offender was an 87 year old female with old time values. I didn’t say anything because…well…the usual…it’s a holiday, don’t want a big tado, etc. However, I am hosting NY’s day and I am going to make an announcement at the beginning that all political and anything remotely resembling political comments will not be tolerated. All offenders will be put outside (in the cold) no matter what their age is or how much clothing they have on. There doesn’t seem to be any middle ground anymore. Just extremes. Makes me get pretty extreme myself.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Kate, yes I’ve been wrestling with the word “girl” most of my adult life. Too often it’s used in a pejorative way and when that happens I get upset. However the rest of the time when it’s used to empower, I’m all about it.

      I think you were wise to hold your tongue under the circumstances at Thanksgiving, but very much like your “no politics here or else” approach to hostessing. I don’t know that I’d call that extreme as much as establishing boundaries so the children will play nice with each other. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Over the years, I’ve mastered the blank stare and raised eyebrow. If someone says something stupid and can’t gain traction, then they’ve been given the attention they warrant. I don’t have patience with most conversation, which is why I tend to avoid it, but I find the direct approach is best. “I disagree with you and neither of us is going to change our minds, so pass me the mashed potatoes, please.”

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Michelle, I adore your response. Well said. I’m sure that a blank stare comes naturally to me now, but I’ll work on my raised eyebrow. Of course considering how pale my eyebrows are, I’ll need to first learn how to draw them on with a darker pencil. BUT AFTER THAT I’M ALL ABOUT THE RAISED EYEBROW.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. SD Gates, I agree that you were lucky to avoid politics. It’s really not normal for people around here to be talking politics at Christmastime, so I feel that this election has really made a negative impression on everyone. I could do without any of these conversations, but if it’s going to keep happening then I best figure out what to say…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m so sick of being told to empathize with Trump voters. I know a blogger who wrote a post on empathy after the election. But the only empathy he had was for the poor, disenfranchised Trump voters who were being harassed for supporting a bigot after the election. Not one sentence about the targeted groups. Muslims. Black Americans. Gay Americans. Female Americans. No empathy for them. Apparently these groups were just being partisan by voicing concerns. The real victims, according to this dateless divorce blogger, were the poor Trump voters.

    Sorry for the rant. I read it a month ago and it’s still pissing me off.

    I don’t have people like this in my family, but I do work with some Republicans, and we’ve managed to have mostly decent conversations. They weren’t thrilled with him as a candidate, but still want to see the return of a conservative government. I try to contribute thoughtfully. As do they. I think we manage well.

    And by all means, speak up!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. sourgirlohio, I’ve read the same sort of “oh you have to empathize with these poor put upon workers” crap. It doesn’t ring true to me. I’m with you, let’s look at the big picture and notice all the different types of people who could use some empathy.

      Many people, much empathy. Fact.

      I’m a moderate voter so I usually get along with both sides of the political spectrum, but this year people on both sides are just plain crazy. Maybe because I am in the middle I feel the brunt of each side more? I dunno.

      Yes, I’m going to learn how to speak up a bit more often in a way that’ll be heard. That’s the trick.

      Like

  7. I try not to get into political discussions since I tend to assume that all my friends are smart and sensible and share my opinions. Kind of freaks me out when I find they don’t. I don’t really want to hear about either opinion. I always think that there are only two reasons to go around talking about your political views – to get pats of the back and high fives from those who agree with you and to piss off those who don’t. Ain’t no one ever been swayed to change their views during one of those uncomfortable rants, bless their little pea-pickin’ hearts.

    I also, by the way, tend to assume that everyone is roughly my same age. That’s fine for the folks older than me but not so much for my younger friends.

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    1. Zazzy, I like your analysis of why people talk about their political views. There’s something to that which explains a lot of the weird conversations that I’ve had. I don’t start these conversations, but feel overwhelmed/dismayed by them.

      I realize that my opinions won’t change the opinions of any diehard politically inclined person, but I do think that there has to be more respect for facts + feelings when these stupid conversations happen to me. Believe what you want, just do it smartly and politely. Don’t show me your stupid.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I completely agree – though I have to admit that my arguments (political or otherwise) tend to be emotionally based. I’ve learned to live with it and it’s one of the reasons that I try to avoid hot topics. I do try not to actively avoid facts – and even to embrace facts. It’s just that facts seem so much more flexible than they used to seem. These days, you can always find an expert to support whatever position you take. But polite is important either way.

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        1. One of the attributes of an authoritarian society is confused facts. By casting doubt on what everyone knows to be true, then nothing becomes true, forcing the people to look to a leader, a demagogue, to show them the way. The mass + social media and Trump are leading this shift to “flexible” facts.

          [And you thought I didn’t learn anything with my Political Science minor!]

          This worries me and is one of the reasons I feel like I need to respond to people who exhibit confused thinking about facts + logic, on both sides of the political spectrum. I don’t mind being the lonely voice of reason, I just have yet to figure out how to be a Nasty Woman with Panache! 😉

          Liked by 1 person

  8. I could only conjecture on a case-by-case basis . . . but most of the time when I don’t like the direction of a conversation, I say something “benign” to shift the direction:

    “Oh, I never discuss politics in December.”
    “I’m sorry, I gave up political ranting and raving for Advent.”
    “You’re bat-shit-crazy . . . oops, did I say that out loud? My bad.”

    Liked by 5 people

  9. Unfortunately because I’m a headcovering Jewish woman I’m visible and I have gotten so much shit! “Trump’s going to get rid of you all!” and “We’ll put you back in Auschwitz you kike!” and worse :/

    Between that and being called a Libtard I am so sick of everything

    Liked by 1 person

    1. knottedfingers, I can only imagine how you feel. I’m irritated just going out to socialize and encountering such negativity, but you live it to a much higher degree. Like Akilah said, I’m sorry to hear this. What is wrong with people? [A question for the ages.]

      Like

    1. Retirementallychallenged, you are fortunate to live where there’s little chance of encountering a different point of view. We live in a red state that sometimes go blue, in a county that is always red beside a county that is always blue, so… I never know what to expect when I talk with someone. And this year it’s been more stressful than normal. Thinking I might never go outside again! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Retirementallychallenged, you said it! I usually enjoy learning how other people live and how they think, plus people love to tell me things so I’ve gotten kind of used to listening, but this year I’m hearing too much wacko, not enough wisdom. It’s not normal, and has given me pause. What the heck is going on with people?

          Liked by 1 person

  10. Not working anymore so I can avoid those weird encounters at holiday parties…Any remaining friends I still associate with wouldn’t be caught dead approving of anything related to DT so that’s a non-issue…my kids are all firmly in the Trump is an idiot category so we’re okay there… the only issue would be the spouse, but as I don’t speak to him in this quasi state of separation we are living in then overall I’m good for a rather pleasant, non-political holiday.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Deb, I’m jealous of your lifestyle! I still am going through those weird encounters– in the work world, in the socializing world, in the family world, in the running into a neighbor in the grocery world. People around here are very divided about The Donald and never hesitate to tell me what they’re thinking. I long to have a quip of some sort to toss back at ’em. Not to start a confrontation, but to end any chance of hateful chatter. I dream, don’t I?

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  11. Isn’t it crazy how politics is a staple at holiday meals? Why is that? I don’t participate. It seems like a lost cause. Nothing I say will change anyone’s mind, nor will anything anyone says change who our president is.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ParentingIsFunny, I don’t initiate political conversations, but if someone brings up the topic of The Donald I’m learning that I need to state what I think, then let people judge me as they will. I figure I may not change any minds, but I’ve added a bit of reason to an otherwise crazy world. That’s gotta be a good thing, right?

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Janet, good idea. Let’s send the elephant on vacay! I agree, this divide is not normal and I’m feeling it more than most, I guess. Plus I really am not enjoying the devaluation of the color orange. It’s part of all our jokes now. What did that color ever do to deserve this punishment?!

      Liked by 2 people

  12. Sigh. I just Don’t Want To Even Talk About It, Period. With anyone, friend or foe. I guess because it makes it more real. We’ve finally become the America that every other country thought we were all along. And I just don’t want to acknowledge it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. nance, I understand. What I find to be the weirdest thing about the orange elephant in the room is that only people who are amoral are happy. Everyone else who knows the difference between right and wrong, even if they voted for wrong, [especially if they voted wrong?], is upset for some reason. And I sense it wherever I go.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Most people I know don’t understand how anyone could have possibly voted for Trump, but then when we talk about it, we just get angry. I keep trying to hold on to the thought that more people did vote for Clinton, but that’s not much of a consolation either.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sheila, I cling to that thought, too. More people had the good sense to vote for a qualified candidate than for a demagogue like Trump. I live in a conservative part of the US and pay attention to people, so I was clued into how the deplorables were scaring the gullible into voting against their own best interests. As a social scientist, fascinating. As a woman, horrifying.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. My older daughter is way better at calling out people than I am. Her rationale? Why should they be able to spout off their nonsense without me coming back with my own opinions or EVEN SOME FACTS. I am way too nicey nice at times.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Margaret, I’m the same way, too nice for my own good. And that’s the crux of my problem. I’m hearing weirdness all over the place and I don’t want anyone to think that my quietness is a tacit approval of the nonsense that they’re saying, but I cannot figure out how to say “oh sit down and be quiet” in a way that allows me to remain true to myself while shutting them down. Maybe there is no way to do that… ?

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        1. nancy, that’s inspired! I could say that, then quickly move the conversation to another topic. You’re good at polite, yet pointed, conversational tactics.

          [Must admit that last week after I wrote this post everyone I spoke with in real life was NOT going off in wacko political directions. Maybe they’ve all got it out of their systems now? I hope so.]

          Liked by 1 person

  15. Although I don’t live in the US I cannot fail to be alarmed at the election of the OE (I can’t say his name so orange elephant it will have to be) and its far-reaching effects. Is he symptomatic of the rise of far-right nationalism world-wide? I think so. Not just that .. much else that divides rather than unites. I like what one of the commentators said about no politics please at the table. Actually all the comments were lovely. My husband’s sister and her husband will be with us over Christmas from San Francisco – I know they are at opposite ends of the spectrum – Dems vs Reps – so it will be interesting to hear first hand what they have to say (actually maybe not come to think of it – happy times and all that). I have a few good friends in the US – my bridesmaid for one, and another who said that she and her husband were considering divorce over the outcome … my girlfriends are extremely alarmed at the OE’s clearly stated views. Heart broken in fact …

    Perhaps the important thing Ally Bean when confronted by OE supporters is to – actually I don’t know – but there are times when it is prudent to be silent and times when not. Speak out …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Susan, I think you make an excellent point in that The Donald is a small piece of a larger picture, one of worldwide far right nationalism. The interconnectedness of ideas in this world amazes me.

      I understand that making changes is stressful, especially for politically conservative people who are by nature close-minded + neurotic, so these last 8 years have been especially difficult for the Trumpsters. But to see OE [love that, btw] take center stage and begin to destroy all the good that we have going on here in the USA is difficult for pragmatic little me.

      [Ungrateful much?]

      And I worry about the well-educated people I’m talking with who are reacting to this upcoming presidency in one of two extreme ways: 1) they’re determined to shut down communication with the other side entirely; or 2) they’re talking about how we must help the Trumpsters learn more about the abstract principles on which this country is founded.

      [Ignore or condescend. Such choices!]

      I’ll be fascinated to read about how your Christmas holidays go. And to find out if your SIL + her husband are feeling the strain of adjusting to these confused, unsettling times. Maybe they’ll have the insights that we all need to help us get along and stay strong here in the USA.

      Thanks for stopping by. I always love reading what you have to say.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. We somehow managed to keep politics off the table over Thanksgiving. Though there were a couple of close calls. Luckily Christmas, for whatever reason, tends to be less opinionated at my family gatherings. I think it is the spiked eggnog – makes us sleepy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Allie P, I like this idea of spiked eggnog = sleepy. Wonder if I could carry some around with me to offer to the crazy politically-obsessed people when they start down whichever path of angst they favor. They’d drift off to dreamland, I get to not hear what they want to tell me. Win win. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  17. A woman I know is STILL talking about the election and how fascism is coming and how awful this is. And while I agree with a lot of what she says, I also don’t obsess about it . So I started teasing… “Oh, I see you’ve moved into anger,” as she ranted last week. Then, after she said, “If that’s the kind of America you want people, well, you’re going to get it,” I said, “Oh, I see you’re finally moving into acceptance.” Another woman doesn’t watch anything but Fox news so …. I just let it go in one ear and out the other. (Family… can’t live with ’em…… ….. ……. ……)

    I don’t know what to do about the Orange Elephant in the room other than that……….

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    1. Tara, I like your stages of grief comebacks. Very clever. I have yet to find the best way to smoothly handle these crazy wacko responses to this election. I know that I probably won’t change anyone’s mind and that’s okay by me. Not my goal, actually.

      What I don’t want to do is encourage the crazy to keep on going, which I fear will happen if I remain mute and don’t direct the conversation back to neutral. Without some commonality of agreement between partisans on both sides of the aisle, there is no “we the people” leaving us with “us vs them the people.” And that’s a recipe for never-ending discord.

      Like I said above, this is not normal. *le sigh*

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Mary Lou, Sister Introverts Unite, indeed. I tell ‘ya, I don’t go out of my way to start talking about the Orange Elephant but some people are really stuck on him. And the opinions, so varied. ‘Tis not normal.

      Liked by 1 person

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