Respecting My Enemy

Everyone who's played an online game with some level of dedication knows that they should always, no matter what, follow a single rule. It’s a simple rule, but one that has a profound impact on how players play the game against other people: your opponent does what they do for a reason. If they undertake an action it's because they believe it can be successful, and if you think it can’t, you should conclude that you’re missing important information that they have. If you follow this rule always, you might sometimes give an opponent more credit than they deserve, but you’ll never lose by underestimating them.

What, you might be asking, does a piece of advice for online gamers have to do with anything? Well, most of the time it may in fact have just about nothing to do with anything at all. However, it’s felt more and more relevant while reading news articles over the past few days. Over and over I’ve come across headlines that make Donald Trump's recent actions sound like those of a baby, devoid of any rhyme or reason, and paint the man himself as nothing more than an idiot child sitting in a seat too big for him, blindly acting on childish reflex with no logical through process behind them. I think there’s a serious problem with this. 

You see, I consider Donald Trump my adversary in a great many ways. Both politically and ideologically, I truly believe that the two of us stand on opposite sides of a conflict with far-reaching implications for what America will be in the coming decades. Because of that, I expect to spend the next four years doing everything I can to ensure that the country doesn’t reflect his views of it when he leaves office. In doing this, I have two options: I can either treat him as an adversary worthy of respect, or I can treat him as if he makes no intelligent moves ever, at all. On the one hand, if I choose to treat him with a respect he doesn’t deserve, the worst-case scenario is that I spend some unnecessary time and effort focused on and fighting against his banalities. But if I choose to underestimate him, the worst possible outcome is that I find myself flabbergasted in four years when the country has become something that terrifies me.

Is this to say that everything the man does is intelligent, or that he’s somehow piloting a subtle and ingenious campaign? No, of course not. He, just like anyone else, is prone to moronic blunders, and perhaps he commits more than his fair share. But to assume that president Trump's actions are nothing more than thoughtless failing is a dangerous and shortsighted. It may, in fact turn out that this is true, and that I kept a more careful watch over the actions of our president and his congress than I needed to. But I’ll take that any day of the week over the other alternative. I consider Donald Trump my enemy, after all, consider us engaged in a battle for America’s very soul, and I will act as if that battle is one I intend to win. 

With excitement and optimism,