What's 'the downside' in humoring Trump's election fraud lies? Are you serious?

The United States is in an unprecedented, if not unpredictable, predicament right now. President Trump is refusing to concede the election, claiming it was stolen from him through fraud and cheating and illegal votes being counted. Despite legal experts, election officials (including Republicans in the states in question), and international election observers invited by Trump himself all saying that they've seen no evidence to back up these accusations, Trump isn't backing down.

This behavior from Trump is not surprising. It's been clear from the get-go that the guy is a malignant narcissist, and malignant narcissists will do anything to avoid admitting defeat. He is literally incapable of doing so, it's likely that he will go to his grave claiming that this election was illegitimate, even if someone with sway in his circle manages the herculean feat of getting him to publicly accept the loss like a big boy.

Trump is a problem, but he's not the biggest problem. This nightmare of a presidency has been marked time and again by half the country cringing at the president shattering democratic norms, then quickly shift to a chagrined brushoff of "Ugh, Trump being Trump again." After four years, we've come to expect, if not accept, that Trump is gonna Trump. Playing the victim when he doesn't get his way is Trump's game. We know this. He's not going to change.


What's more disconcerting is how many people are continuing to enable his behavior, despite the fact that it's tearing the nation apart. Not just disconcerting, but gross, frankly. As CNN's Jake Tapper said this morning, "They're coddling him like a 5-year-old whose pet turtle died." We're talking about a grown-ass man in the most powerful position in the world, not a petulant toddler past his nap time. It's just embarrassing.

And yet only a handful of Republicans have come out to say so. According to the Washington Post, a senior Republican official recently remarked, "What is the downside of humoring him for this little bit of time? No one seriously thinks the results will change. He went golfing this weekend. It's not like he's plotting how to prevent Joe Biden from taking power on Jan. 20. He's tweeting about filing some lawsuits; those lawsuits will fail; then he'll tweet some more about how the election was stolen; then he'll leave."

I'm sorry, what?

What is the downside? How about the tens of millions of Trump followers who, for whatever reason, actually do believe his lies and who seriously do think the results will change? How about the fact that their adulation of him is the only thing he lives for, and that he will keep feeding them the narrative that the election was stolen even after these lawsuits fizzle out? How about the fact that a not-insignificant number of his most ardent supporters are armed to the hilt, just waiting for the call to save America from the evil Democratic overlords? How about the militias and extremist groups that have been foaming at the mouth for an excuse to start a civil war?

Even if the chances of violence are small, they're real. These people don't brush off Trump's bombast; they cherish it. Trump's base is full-on beholden to Trumpism to a cult-like degree, and if this senior Republican official can't see the danger in fanning that flame of fanaticism, then they're a fool.

But we don't even have to go that far. The peaceful transfer of power is a democratic norm that keeps America safe and stable. Even during closer elections than this one—including the 2016 election, which Trump won with narrower electoral vote margins in key swing states and without the popular vote—the loser has conceded when the states' official projections made it clear that they'd been defeated.

This reaction of Trump's is humiliating on every level. We may have unfortunately had to live with Trump daily debasing the office of the presidency with his words and behavior because there was nothing we could do about it, but what he's doing now goes beyond that. This is an undermining of democracy itself.

Trump's base can't or won't see it, but I would think every single one of our elected officials would. This isn't rocket science. This is basic. The Republicans could have nipped this in the bud immediately, but instead most are just going along with it, either oblivious to or unconcerned about how fractious and dangerous it is.

But perhaps the biggest downside of "humoring" the Trump narrative is that HELLO WE ALL NEED TO LIVE IN THE SAME OBJECTIVE REALITY HERE. Claiming that Democrats literally stole an election through fraud isn't a schoolyard insult, but a genuinely serious criminal allegation. Pretending it's just run-of-the-mill political theater is insane.

Because people believe it, 100%. The right-wing slip into unreality keeps getting steeper, with hoards of Trumpists fleeing Fox NewsFOX NEWS, for the love—for not being Trumpist enough. This is the same frighteningly large percentage of Republicans who believe that QAnon conspiracy theories are real. Some of these people are now in Congress. The whacko fringe is taking over and bringing their untethered-from-reality misinformation machines with them and SERIOUSLY REPUBLICANS WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH YOU? Conservative views are one thing; enabling your constituency to reject reality and substitute their own is entirely something else.

This goes so far beyond normal partisanship, it's not even funny. In fact, nothing about this is funny. Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State, representative of the U.S. on the world stage, said today, "There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration." Then he chuckled.

Was that a joke? Is the attempt to overthrow a democratic election a joke? Is letting the whiny child with the nuclear codes think he's going to get his way, simply because he wants it, a joke? Or was Pompeo being serious? It's impossible to tell anymore. Even listening to the entire press conference, it was impossible to tell. The president's appointees are afraid to tell him the truth, either out of fear of his wrath—which is real—or fear of losing the brainwashed masses they need in order to keep political power.

Either that, or he has sucked them into his narcissistic delusions, which is actually a lot scarier.

Again, we are in uncharted territory here, but we shouldn't be. No one should be humoring this man's baseless claims to protect his fragile ego. No one should be going along with his undignified response to losing an election when the good of the country is at stake. No one should be allowing the feelings of a man with dangerous pathologies to control the way the United States of America transitions to new leadership.

Trump's power is not absolute. His sway is not unshakable. Elected leaders—Republicans in particular—can put an end to this embarrassing, dangerous charade right now by raising a united front and saying "enough" to Donald, loud and clear. He'll throw a fit and probably fire a bunch of people, but he's going to do that anyway once it sinks in that he can't have what he wants.

The stability and safety of the country, from forces both inside and outside our borders, hinge on how everyone in government who isn't Trump acts right now. So please, take a step back, look at the big picture, and do the right thing.

In the long run, there isn't a downside to that.

Images courtesy of Letters of Love
True

When Grace Berbig was 7 years old, her mom was diagnosed with leukemia, a cancer of the body’s blood-forming tissues. Being so young, Grace didn’t know what cancer was or why her mother was suddenly living in the hospital. But she did know this: that while her mom was in the hospital, she would always be assured that her family was thinking of her, supporting her and loving her every step of her journey.

Nearly every day, Grace and her two younger sisters would hand-make cards and fill them with drawings and messages of love, which their mother would hang all over the walls of her hospital room. These cherished letters brought immeasurable peace and joy to their mom during her sickness. Sadly, when Grace was just 10 years old, her mother lost her battle with cancer.“

Image courtesy of Letters of Love

Losing my mom put the world in a completely different perspective for me,” Grace says. “I realized that you never know when someone could leave you, so you have to love the people you love with your whole heart, every day.”

Grace’s father was instrumental in helping in the healing process of his daughters. “I distinctly remember my dad constantly reminding my two little sisters, Bella and Sophie, and I that happiness is a choice, and it was now our job to turn this heartbreaking event in our life into something positive.”

When she got to high school, Grace became involved in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and a handful of other organizations. But she never felt like she was doing enough.

“I wanted to create an opportunity for people to help beyond donating money, and one that anyone could be a part of, no matter their financial status.”

In October 2018, Grace started Letters of Love, a club at her high school in Long Lake, Minnesota, to emotionally support children battling cancer and other serious illnesses through letter-writing and craft-making.


Image courtesy of Letters of Love

Much to her surprise, more than 100 students showed up for the first club meeting. From then on, Letters of Love grew so fast that during her senior year in high school, Grace had to start a GoFundMe to help cover the cost of card-making materials.

Speaking about her nonprofit today, Grace says, “I can’t find enough words to explain how blessed I feel to have this organization. Beyond the amount of kids and families we are able to support, it allows me to feel so much closer and more connected to my mom.”

Since its inception, Letters of Love has grown to more than 25 clubs with more than 1,000 members providing emotional support to more than 60,000 patients in children’s hospitals around the world. And in the process it has become a full-time job for Grace.

“I do everything from training volunteers and club ambassadors, paying bills, designing merchandise, preparing financial predictions and overviews, applying for grants, to going through each and every card ensuring they are appropriate to send out to hospitals.”

Image courtesy of Letters of Love

In addition to running Letters of Love, Grace and her small team must also contend with the emotions inherent in their line of work.

“There have been many, many tears cried,” she says. “Working to support children who are battling cancer and other serious and sometimes chronic illnesses can absolutely be extremely difficult mentally. I feel so blessed to be an organization that focuses solely on bringing joy to these children, though. We do everything we can to simply put a smile on their face, and ensure they know that they are so loved, so strong, and so supported by people all around the world.”

Image courtesy of Letters of Love

Letters of Love has been particularly instrumental in offering emotional support to children who have been unable to see friends and family due to COVID-19. A video campaign in the summer of 2021 even saw members of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings and the NHL’s Minnesota Wild offer short videos of hope and encouragement to affected children.

Grace is currently taking a gap year before she starts college so she can focus on growing Letters of Love as well as to work on various related projects, including the publication of a children’s book.

“The goal of the book is to teach children the immense impact that small acts of kindness can have, how to treat their peers who may be diagnosed with disabilities or illness, and how they are never too young to change the world,” she says.

Since she was 10, Grace has kept memories of her mother close to her, as a source of love and inspiration in her life and in the work she does with Letters of Love.

Image courtesy of Grace Berbig

“When I lost my mom, I felt like a section of my heart went with her, so ever since, I have been filling that piece with love and compassion towards others. Her smile and joy were infectious, and I try to mirror that in myself and touch people’s hearts as she did.”

For more information visit Letters of Love.

Please donate to Grace’s GoFundMe and help Letters of Love to expand, publish a children’s book and continue to reach more children in hospitals around the world.

Ronny Tertnes' "liquid sculptures" are otherworldly.

Human beings have sculpted artwork out of all kinds of materials throughout history, from clay to concrete to bronze. Some sculpt with water in the form of ice, but what if you could create sculptures with small drops of liquid?

Norwegian artist Ronny Tertnes does just that. His "liquid sculptures" look like something from another planet or another dimension, while at the same time are entirely recognizable as water droplets.

I mean, check this out:


Keep Reading Show less
Images courtesy of AFutureSuperhero and Friends and Balance Dance Project
True

The day was scorching hot, but the weather wasn’t going to stop a Star Wars Stormtrooper from handing out school supplies to a long line of eager children. “You guys don’t have anything illegal back there - any droids or anything?” the Stormtrooper asks, making sure he was safe from enemies before handing over a colorful backpack to a smiling boy.

The man inside the costume is Yuri Williams, founder of AFutureSuperhero And Friends, a Los Angeles nonprofit that uplifts and inspires marginalized people with small acts of kindness.

Yuri’s organization is one of four inaugural grant winners from the Upworthy Kindness Fund, a joint initiative between Upworthy and GoFundMe that celebrates kindness and everyday actions inspired by the best of humanity. This year, the Upworthy Kindness Fund is giving $100,000 to grassroots changemakers across the world.

To apply, campaign organizers simply tell Upworthy how their kindness project is making a difference. Between now and the end of 2021, each accepted individual or organization will receive $500 towards an existing GoFundMe and a shout-out on Upworthy.

Meet the first four winners:

1: Balance Dance Project: This studio aims to bring accessible dance to all in the Sacramento, CA area. Lead fundraiser Miranda Macias says many dancers spend hours a day at Balance practicing contemporary, lyrical, hip-hop, and ballet. Balance started a GoFundMe to raise money to cover tuition for dancers from low-income communities, buy dance team uniforms, and update its facility. The $500 contribution from the Kindness Fund nudged Balance closer to its $5,000 goal.

2: Citizens of the World Mar Vista Robotics Team: In Los Angeles, middle school teacher James Pike is introducing his students to the field of robotics via a Lego-building team dedicated to solving real-world problems.

James started a GoFundMe to crowdfund supplies for his students’ team ahead of the First Lego League, a school-against-school matchup that includes robotics competitions. The team, James explained, needed help to cover half the cost of the pricey $4,000 robotics kit. Thanks to help from the Upworthy Kindness Fund and the generosity of the Citizens of the World Middle School community, the team exceeded its initial fundraising goal.

Citizens of the World Mar Vista Robotics Team video update youtu.be

3: Black Fluidity Tattoo Club: Kiara Mills and Tann Parker want to fix a big problem in the tattoo industry: there are too few Black tattoo artists. To tackle the issue, the duo founded the Black Fluidity Tattoo Club to inspire and support Black tattooers. While the Brooklyn organization is open to any Black person, Kiara and Tann specifically want to encourage dark-skinned artists to train in an affirming space among people with similar identities.

To make room for newcomers, the club recently moved into a larger studio with a third station for apprentices or guest artists. Unlike a traditional fundraiser that supports the organization exclusively, Black Fluidity Tattoo Club will distribute proceeds from GoFundMe directly to emerging Black tattoo artists who are starting their own businesses. The small grants, supported in part with a $500 contribution from the Upworthy Kindness Fund, will go towards artists’ equipment, supplies, furnishings, and other start-up costs.

4: AFutureSuperhero And Friends’ “Hope For The Holidays”: Founder Yuri Williams is fundraising for a holiday trip to spread cheer to people in need across all fifty states.

Along with collaborator Rodney Smith Jr., Yuri will be handing out gifts to children, adults, and animals dressed as a Star Wars’ Stormtrooper, Spiderman, Deadpool, and other movie or comic book characters. Starting this month, the crew will be visiting children with disabilities or serious illnesses, bringing leashes and toys to animal shelters for people taking home a new pet, and spreading blessings to unhoused people—all while in superhero costume. This will be the third time Yuri and his nonprofit have taken this journey.

AFutureSuperhero started a GoFundMe in July to cover the cost of gifts as well as travel expenses like hotels and rental cars. To help the nonprofit reach its $15,000 goal, the Upworthy Kindness Fund contributed $500 towards this good cause.

Think you qualify for the fund? Tell us how you’re bringing kindness to your community. Grants will be awarded on a rolling basis from now through the end of 2021. For questions and more information, please check out our FAQ's and the Kindness Toolkit for resources on how to start your own kindness fundraiser.

The scarf, a simple accessory that some find an essential fashion piece. Both fashionable and function with the warmth they provide, scarves can be a valuable gift for any occasion or person. Here, we've selected our best selling scarves from our store. At Upworthy Market, when you purchase a product, you directly support the artisans who craft their own products, so with every purchase, you're doing good. These scarves are not only unique, but they are hand-made by local artisans and all under $30.

1. Fair Trade Woven Dark Gray Alpaca Blend Scarf

Celinda Jaco selects a cozy blend of Andean alpaca for this handsome men's scarf. Classic in style, it features fine stripes of white and black woven through the dark grey textile. Hand-tied fringe completes a distinguished design.

cdn11.bigcommerce.com

Keep Reading Show less

Kayla Sullivan nails the reality of toddler tantrums in her mock news report.

Anyone who's ever had a 2-year-old knows that they can be … a lot. Adorable for sure, but … a lot. Toddlers are just starting to figure out that they have their own free will, but they have zero idea how to wield it or use it for good. They want what they want, when they want it—except when they change their mind and absolutely do not want what they just wanted—and they don't really have the emotional maturity or verbal acuity to adequately express any of these things without crying, whining or screaming.

There's a reason they're so darn cute.

For parents, handling a 2-year-old's 2-year-oldness can be a challenge. You can't rationalize with them. You know they're not being little toddler terrors on purpose. You know that they're just learning and that it's a stage and a phase that won't last forever, but when you're in it? Phew.

Keep Reading Show less