It’s possible to consider humanity as just two great tribes- those driven by reason, and those driven by emotion. Most sub-groups of humans combine members of each of the two great tribes. Upon occasion, one of these sub-groups, the Americans, come together to choose a common president who in theory is expected to govern the whole circus as if it were one, homogenous group.
The Creator, (or for those of the atheist persuasion, Fate) in his/her/its infinite genius has created both the reasonable people and the emotional people because a healthy, well-balanced society needs both. The reasonables are meant mostly to solve problems through analysis, imagination, and of course, reason. The emotionals are meant to do the things which analysis, imagination, and reason might impel one to abandon such as fighting to the death for a hopeless cause, or crucifying innocent people for their religious beliefs. The reasonables derive intellectual satisfaction from applying reason to an intellectual challenge, and the emotionals derive emotional satisfaction from the flawless execution of someone else’s plan. Everyone is content.
Back in the old days, when reasonable people all knew that Donald Trump would never be president, a certain fear quietly circulated among those who assume that the emotionals are ungoverned by accepted behavioral norms. The question was, “how will they act when they lose?” Would they rampage through the streets shouting “the election was rigged,” and committing acts of mayhem? Would they demonstrate that when disappointed, their emotions overwhelm their reason? We’ll never know.
What we do know is, the emotionals won.
It appears to the amateur observer that America has come to a historic moment in which the emotionals have wrested power from the reasonables. They’ve won elections before, but their candidates have always been chosen from among the “reasonable emotionals”. It was the reasonable emotionals who controlled the emotionals’ party. No more.
Thanks to a series of still-not-clearly-understood events, the emotionals nominated a presidential candidate who was rejected by nearly the entire class of professionals who thought they controlled the party. Then, thanks to the illusory democratic process, the emotional candidate lost the election, but became president because the electoral college chose him.
There are signs that the emotionals, not satisfied with winning, are engaging in the behavior some thought would be triggered by the frustration of defeat. Even worse, some reasonables seem to be adopting the same technique of acting out emotion.
It’s one thing to recognize what Donald Trump is and whom he represents, and that a country under their direction is in a dangerous place. It is quite another thing to hate him and them. It is yet another, worse thing to be driven to action by that hatred.
Bumpy though the ride may be, a nation of reasonables and emotionals can march arm-in-arm to a bright future even when the two groups have vastly different dreams. If the emotionals all somehow turned reasonable, things might actually improve as long as there was no need for massive, thoughtless, obedience. However, if all the reasonables become emotional, if no one is reasonable, society is doomed to bad decisions and subsequent catastrophe.
The accession of Donald Trump and the emotionals threatens to redirect this country, and in fact, the world. That threat is not the repeal of progressive laws, the denial of climate change, or a conservative supreme court. It isn’t the normalizing of xenophobia, homophobia, and misogyny. The threat of Donald Trump is that when he lights the path to hatred, the reasonables will close their eyes and follow.
IT STANDS TO REASON
BY KENNETH KERN