Words and terms I've had to look up since Trump became political:
- elitism -- Dictionary definitions didn't help me. I went here, but I got overwhelmed. Seems like Trump considered it a useful argument to vote for him. Not sure that he sees it as useful now.
- thread the needle -- (Heard repeatedly from the press and guests.) Context is everything here: Finding harmony or striking a balance between conflicting forces, interests, etc.
- double down -- (Heard repeatedly from the press and guests.) To become more tenacious, zealous, or resolute in a position or undertaking. Not what I want my politicians doing with every lie they're caught in, but, you know, Trump. And Conway. And Spicer.
- alternative fact -- a falsehood (A nod to Chuck Todd for the definition.)
- gaslighting -- Oddly enough, the person who bought the URL alternativefacts.com has set it to redirect to the Psychology Today "gaslighting" page. (Gaslighting, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and dog-whistle politics are, I think, among the most important concepts to grasp about this minority president and his administration.)
- demagogue/ary -- Dictionary definition: a leader who makes use of popular prejudices and false claims and promises in order to gain power. (Note that this is NOT a good thing and is not the way the word had been used long, long ago: a leader championing the cause of the common people in ancient times.) One day, Merriam-Webster may add a new synonym:
- alt-right -- The Alternative Right, commonly known as the Alt-Right, is a set of far-right ideologies, groups and individuals whose core belief is that “white identity” is under attack by multicultural forces using “political correctness” and “social justice” to undermine white people and “their” civilization. Characterized by heavy use of social media and online memes, Alt-Righters eschew “establishment” conservatism, skew young, and embrace white ethno-nationalism as a fundamental value. Gotta love the Southern Poverty Law Center and its excellent post explaining this in more detail. Oh, and then there's Stephen Bannon here and here and here.
- white nationalism and white supremacy -- The New York Times defines these concepts well.
- dog-whistle politics -- This seems to fit: Dog whistling is a strategy: it intentionally uses veiled terms to stimulate racial animosity, whipping up popular fears and stoking dangerous and misdirected resentments. Dog whistling far more than the personal prejudices of one individual — even a president — threatens the nation. It’s socially destructive, intentionally firing the ugliest passions and pitting people against each other. It undermines democracy, manipulating voters through appeals to their worst instincts while distorting the real issues of the day. It’s an economic catastrophe, convincing working people to fear other vulnerable populations and instead to cast their lot with the plutocrats. It shatters the “we,” destroying our commitment to the community and public and instead fostering frightened isolation and anomie. OK, so I had to look up plutocrats and anomie, but still...
- minority president -- From George Lakoff: Hillary Clinton won the majority of votes in this year’s presidential election. The loser, for the majority of voters, will now be a minority president-elect. Don’t let anyone forget it. Keep referring to Trump as the minority president, Mr. Minority and the overall Loser. Constant repetition, with discussion in the media and over social media, questions the legitimacy of the minority president to ignore the values of the majority. The majority, at the very least, needs to keep its values in the public eye and view the minority president’s action through majority American values.
- Narcissistic Personality Disorder -- There's no joke here. Just the President of the United States.
- Drain the swamp
I had to hear it only once in context before the election, but I must have misunderstood because since then, well, if Trump did it, he's filling it right back up with quite a few bigger $$gators$$ and unacceptables. (And putting in charge people who are against the fundamental ideas of the agencies they are to lead, really?)
- the dog that caught the bus -- So now what?
Things I've had to review because, you know, gaslighting:
- The Constitution of the United States of America
- The Emperor's New Clothes (You can say it, come on! Bare-arsed naked as a wee baby.)
Things I now rely on because, you know, truth:
- The Washington Post
- The New York Times
- Tracking Congress in the Age of Trump
- Phone numbers of The United States Senate
- Phone numbers of The United States House of Representatives
- The works of George Lakoff
"Secret" Facebook groups I've joined since the election in order to advance a progressive, nurturing political agenda or to vent because, you know, oftentimes vicious Trump friends/trolls: 4
Personal motto, formerly applied to all things special education, now applied to politics: Constant Vigilance. Tape it to the wall.