The Number One Step in Developing a Resistance: Focus

As we all prepare to pivot from a Trump team in transition to an actual Trump administration tomorrow, there is one thing I’ve learned over these last couple of months. The first step in dealing with what is to come will be learning to focus on what is most important.

We’ve all known for a while now that our incoming president has a very short attention span and allows the least provocation to get under his skin. He loves nothing more than to bully back and pretend that he can dominate the conversation. We also know that both he and his Cabinet nominees have embraced wildly extremist policy positions and the challenges to what we’ve come to expect from the executive branch of our federal government are unprecedented and vast. Combine that with the fact that he is obviously tied in some nefarious ways to Russian President Vladimir Putin and things are coming at us at an incredibly fast pace.

More than ever before, it is going to be important to prioritize what is important and ignore the things that aren’t. My list of things that fall in the latter category include:

  1. Who will/won’t attend the inauguration
  2. Who will/won’t perform at the inauguration
  3. The latest celebrity/politician Trump insulted on twitter
  4. Who will/won’t play the role of First Lady
  5. Where the Trump’s will live/spend most of their time
  6. Rehashing old battles from the Democratic primary
  7. Blaming Democratic politicians for failing meaningless purity tests
  8. The latest gossip about Hillary Clinton

There are probably more. But perhaps you get my drift.

We’ve got a lot to keep track of with the things that actually DO matter. Here’s a list of things that are most immediate:

  1. Continuing to investigate whether the Trump campaign collaborated with Russian attempts to influence the election
  2. Holding Trump’s Cabinet nominees accountable during the confirmation process
  3. Holding Trump and his Cabinet accountable for their conflicts of interest
  4. Fighting to maintain Obamacare (and, by extension, Medicare and Medicaid)
  5. Keeping track of what executive orders Trump plans to dismantle (i.e., Obamacare, climate change, DACA, etc.)

One of the ways that Donald Trump tries to distract us from what is important is by pushing our buttons and getting us to react. I have no idea whether that is an actual strategy or simply his fragile ego constantly needing attention. But Steve Bannon knows exactly what he’s doing and why. He laid it out not too long ago in a provocative way that demonstrates precisely what he’s up to:

“Darkness is good,” says Bannon…”Dick Cheney. Darth Vader. Satan. That’s power. It only helps us when they” — I believe by “they” he means liberals and the media, already promoting calls for his ouster — “get it wrong. When they’re blind to who we are and what we’re doing.”

Everyone went chasing after the idea that he embraced the darkness of Cheney, Darth Vader and Satan with howls of outrage, which is exactly how he gets his power.

In order to focus and not get distracted, it is critical to stay grounded in what is important and let go of what isn’t. That is why, amidst all that was constantly coming at him, Obama regularly referred to his North Star. That’s also what this song is all about:

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly. Follow her on Twitter @Smartypants60 .