Fight Fire With Water
December 14, 2015
I read in the paper that our Mayor invited Donald Trump to our great city, Winnipeg, to visit the Canadian Museum For Human Rights.
I think our Mayor is doing a great job, so, before I sound critical, please know that I have been very happy with many other decisions that he has made.
But I also have my own platform, as unelected as it is, so here goes.
The thought behind our Mayor’s invitation was presumably so that The Donald could learn some facts about racism and oppression, as if perhaps he merely missed an important semester in grade 8 Social Studies. The invitation seems somewhat naive, as feeding elitist bears, such as Mr. Trump, only seems to make them fatter.
Yet the most powerful currency that both our Mayor, and Mr. Trump are fighting for, is attention. Our attention, because, after all, it’s all about the (advertising) dollars.
I don’t think our Mayor really expects Mr. Trump to swing by, but I also think the Mayor saw this as a win-win.
If he comes, it ‘puts us on the map’ temporarily, in the World’s Eye, giving valuable international exposure to the beautiful and historic things in our city. If he doesn’t come, the Mayor is seen as lending an educational hand, to the obviously ‘uninformed’ Trump, a noble gesture through many optics.
What I think the Mayor, and Mr. Trump know all too well, is how to balance optics with substance, while at the same time being elected in the first place, and then hopefully making the world a ‘better’ place.
It reminds me of when Lindsay Lohan would get into a car accident, or violate her probation, just days before her movie was coming out. Easy publicity, even that linked to controversy, is the celebrity’s and politician’s, low hanging media fruit. Also kinda feels like Sarah Palin all over again.
But it is possible, our Mayor is risking our city’s reputation, by pandering to a troll like Trump, who only grows more powerful every time we utter his name, an idea shared by both myself, as well as J. K. Rowling.
Fortunately, we are not so easily entertained, by such an obtuse invitation, as it forces us to ask the question: do our elected leaders really think racism is born solely out of a lack of education?
Or more pointedly, does our Mayor truly believe it is as simple as ‘educating’ Trump, when the latter has build his ignorant vengeful empire, on extremist views several standard deviations from safely ignorant.
Our Mayor possibly fails to realize that the only way to ‘educate’ Trump that his views are outdated, is by ignoring him.
His arguments need to be rebuked, which they easily are, armed with a dose of information, and a dash of human decency. Once the rebuttal is done, the conversation then needs to turn to people with real solutions.
Instead we see Snake Oil Salesmen, like Mr. Trump, try to mesmerize us with inane promises that ‘he just can’, and some of us grovel, especially in the media, for more and more clarification. At which point, we risk being drawn into the rabbit hole of Trump’s impromptu consciousness, exposed to visions and messages becoming more fantastical, and disturbing.
There are some that think Trump was really only looking for media attention by running in the first place, and that he had no intention of actually winning. Some of those same people see his recent activities as an attempt to self sabotage, yet the more radical he gets, the more support he seems to be receiving.
Fighting people who condone violence for their cause, and are driven by radical and extremist ideologies against a specific religion or race, cannot be conquered by conjuring up our North American culture’s mirror equivalent.
Are we so terrified, of this new kind of international bully; that we seek to promote our slimiest political thug to the highest office, to take them on?
You cannot fight fire with fire. You cannot pretend that rock can beat both scissors and paper.
You can only fight this kind of fire with still waters that run deep.
There is no ‘tough physical stance’ against this kind of Terrorism. There is the eradication of poverty, challenging the policies of countries who engage in aspects of religious and political oppression, working on global solutions to hunger, and environmental concerns, and truly recognizing every human as unique and worthy.
Those are the real battle lines. But they are much less glamorous, and far too nuanced, for our society’s current style of combat.
Simon Trepel, MD
Simon Trepel, MD FRCPC, is a practicing Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, in Winnipeg, Canada. He is an Assistant Professor, at the University Of Manitoba, in the Faculty of Medicine, and the Co-founder of the GDAAY Clinic. He is, more importantly, the proud Father of 2 beautiful Daughters. He writes in his spare time about things he knows something about, and occasionally about things he doesn’t; like Yoga, and Italian flavored coffees. He realizes the irony in mentioning Trump, but he is hoping it is counterbalanced by influencing his defeat in the election.
Check out his Blog, called Simon Says Psych Stuff, at