‘Ridicule Is Man’s Most Potent Weapon’

The Urgent Need to Make America Great Again

Jos Collignon, The Netherlands

I remember the terrible frustration I experienced during the 2016 campaign, as I listened to the crazy and hateful comments of Donald Trump — “Make America great again,” “This election is rigged,” “The world is laughing at us,” among others. As it turns out, in some areas, including these three, the Donald was actually prescient.

The election was rigged; he just neglected to mention that it was his own campaign doing the cheating. Without going into detail, suffice it to say that so many people in his organization, not to mention his family, had contact with Russians. Probably more importantly, they felt the need to lie about those contacts, sometimes under oath. And we know that Trump himself participated in attempting to mislead about the nature of at least one of those contacts.

I’m sure I have lots of company who feel an urgent need to make America great again, though we might not choose Trump’s own words to say so. Unfortunately, this need is a result of the disastrous effects of the Trump presidency, compromising national security, assaulting the environment, causing terrible damage to America’s place in the community of nations, to name only a few.

The last piece of this trifecta played out just last week, as the international community at the United Nations laughed at Trump as he touted the historic accomplishments of his administration. For once, Trump was completely disarmed; he could only laugh and say, “ … Didn’t expect that reaction.” True to form, he later tried to cover for himself by claiming he intended his comment as a joke. Clearly, his response at the time completely belies this assertion. However, I am more than willing to assume, from now on, that when Trump talks about the unprecedented success of his presidency, he’s just kidding. I think we should all agree to go along with the joke, and just laugh every time he says something like this. We certainly wouldn’t want to offend his brilliant wit.

I really do believe that ridicule is a response we should employ more often, with Trump or any of his stooges, like Sarah Huckabee Sanders. This all reminds me of Saul Alinsky, who cited in his Rules for Radicals: “The fifth rule: Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counterattack ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, who then react to your advantage.”

Some of the right-wing brain trust, like, you know, Sarah Palin, would like to discredit me for simply invoking Alinsky, whom she has attempted to trivialize and demonize. In response, let me note simply that Alinsky’s quote above was in the opening of an extensive article entitled “Weaponizing Ridicule,” written by J. Michael Waller, PhD, in Military Review, the professional journal of the U.S. Army, published by the Army University Press. You know, another one of those wingnut left-wing organizations.

Now we must act to make sure that the joke is on Trump and all his stooges, by voting. I can’t stand to hear the Democrats brag again about their success in recent elections and the much higher-than-usual voter turnout. In this time, a turnout of 30 or 40 percent should be nothing to brag about. If Democrats want to make a change, and address the disastrous result of their failure to vote in 2016, we should be working toward a 90 percent turnout. That would win elections and, as importantly, deliver a powerful message that ours is truly a government of the people, and we intend to ensure that it operates as one. If Democratic voters fail to show up in the coming election, they must agree to share the Republican mantle of the party of stupid.


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