I have learned a few serenity lessons along the way, having been a typically shy-but-exuberant child and a normally anguished-at-times-by-love teenager. Emoting can be fun when it involves a bodily thrill short of nausea or panic or grief. Outrage is then physical, in anger, disgust, just as with alarm, fear, and ever more physical as emotions heighten or become infused with more potent bodily energy -- to Rage, Revulsion, Terror. How to keep your head when all around you are losing theirs.
The first lesson is 'suppress' ... try not to let the emoting of others influence your own unduly. Suppress 'triggers.' Anticipate loaded language and fallacious appeals, mentally diffuse their impact, try to extract salient details.
The second lesson is 'edit.' Similar to suppress but you do it to yourself, doing your best to strip off an emotive overburden to the frame, the structure, the data, the theory.
Needless to say, I may have learned a few beginner's lessons -- but don't always enforce the lessons in distance. Still, on a very newsworthy/peak-histrionic moment, following Helsinki it could be hard for most people to restrain their emotions, since hyper-loaded language has been dropped in such volume and spatter -- from treason to heavily-laden phrases about disgrace, embarrassment, shame, disgust, and so on.
What a (moving) moment. As I noted elsewhere, this is A Big Moment in White House Hoopla.
Everyone talks about Mr Trump today. In terms of getting everyone to talk about Mr Trump and Mr Putin, it's a Great Day. From one point of view, rather relaxed, a powerful warrior went to Brussels, England and Scotland. He shook up the Old Order. He was undiplomatic, straight-talking, forceful and determined in the NATO meetings. In Britain he said what he wanted, America First. Fiddle with a Hard Brexit, say bye-bye to a special trade deal. Round of golf, tea with Elizabeth Windsor in a palace, beautiful Helsinki, historic Helsinki. Joy. Power. Exhilaration.
And he knocked it out of the park, crushed it, dominated, chided, controlled, set the agenda, mastered the fine details and the deep motives. Spoke of a new era of peace and strength, a new realism. Joy. Pride. Anticipation. Warmth of affection.
Having calmed everyone down for a moment, try to read this with no dander up-getting. Your opinion is or may be an analogue to political reality.
Trump, standing next to the Russian dictator, had credulously lapped up Putin’s denial that Russian state actors had hacked the Democrats (“President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today”); he had blamed the United States, along with the Kremlin, for the chill in U.S.-Russia relations (“I think that the United States has been foolish”); and he had floated widely debunked conspiracy theories as an alternative explanation for the Democratic National Committee hack (“Where are those servers? They’re missing; where are they? What happened to Hillary Clinton’s emails?”). He did all this despite Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment Friday of 12 Russian military officers for the 2016 hackings.
Yet as if to bracket the president’s meeting with the Russian dictator with maximal humiliation, the Justice Department—part of the supposedly unitary executive branch under Donald J. Trump—announced Monday that a “criminal complaint was unsealed today in the District of Columbia charging a Russian national with conspiracy to act as an agent of the Russian Federation within the United States without prior notification to the Attorney General.”
The department’s new action deals with the activities of one Mariia Butina, a Russian woman who allegedly worked to create “back channel” of communication between U.S. politicians and the Russian government. The affidavit in support of the criminal complaint against Butina—filed by FBI Special Agent Kevin Helson—contends that Butina worked alongside a “Russian Official” (identified in the media as Aleksandr Torshin) and with the help of “U.S. Person 1,” focusing on developing relationships within a “Gun Rights Organization” (clearly the NRA). According to the affidavit, Butina also worked to engineer meetings between Russian officials and Americans, including an influential “U.S. Person 2.” These two people remain publicly unidentified.