Communications efforts while Trump goes farther away: Leaving Kurds to Die

By Stephen Cataldo, 10 October, 2019

— live draft, early comments welcome —

Communications techniques encourage us to "reflect" and "agree." What I'm observing is that Trump said “Tens of thousands of Kurds died fighting ISIS. They died for us and with us and for themselves,” and a few weeks later betrayed them, leaving thousands more to die at the hands of our ally who we promised we would constrain. At a moment where Trump has left our allies to die, callously, suddenly — how do you "agree" today?

Personally, I thought Trump was going to be a disaster, but recent events strain my very low expectations. I think that might be where to focus right now: Be very careful to help previous Trump voters separate from Trump, rather than feel under attack along with him. Aim to find ways to reflect that no one is really happy today, no one is getting what they want.

I think the "agree" right now is to validate that people who voted for Trump weren't expecting this, we weren't envisioning that America would betray allies who fought alongside our troops. Most Americans — both those who voted for Trump and those who voted against — expected that opposition to ISIS was a shared value, and that fighting alongside our troops as an ally counted for something. We were all surprised together. It's time for America to come back together.

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