Too much of the time I am bereft about what is happening in America. I seem to suffer bouts of societal moroseness. I lurch uncontrollably between intellectual analysis, emotional pleas, and occasionally the assumption this can’t go on, that it will all turn around soon.
But of course, it worsens. Like people who are colorblind, or incapable of seeing the shape of the lady from two different angles in the picture, obscured by DNA and ingrained perceptual bias, the “other side” thinks Trump is great. They worship him. They worship racism. They worship at the altar of a rigid belief system, a bygone era, unable to recontextualize their lives in a new one. Their insecurities and fright have to blame “others.” Some supporters have self-serving interests. Others are well meaning but know not what they do. Still others know exactly what they are doing.
Too many have a vision of going back to an exclusively white America. It is beyond a conundrum. It is dangerous to America, as dangerous to the fabric of our society as the Russian attack, which they also deny, believing we can only be attacked with a firearm or a tank, as opposed to being manipulated by Facebook, Twitter, and other electronic delivery systems.
The Center Will Not Hold
I have thought 100 times about writing something, to try to wake people up, at least those who might be reachable, at least those who might be able to be led to see the outline of the lady in an alternative way, tracing the outline of liberty as well, so they will finally see. But alas, every time I sit down to write, all compelling thoughts or persuasions have evaporated. How does anyone begin to convince those who will not be convinced? Those who cannot see? So instead I write this: confusion, sorrow, and occasionally, occasionally acceptance that our democracy is dying. At minimum, it is on life support and may need hospice care.
Some people think Trump is cleaning the swamp, giving the squad what-for, freeing our country of Mexicans large and small, young and old, for their own fantasy of America, through caged incarcerations, through gutting our institutions and traditions; Acting out their own distorted fantasies of justice, primitive and archaic much like the Old Testament itself. Too many have a kind of societal and political Macular Degeneration, which is to say they cannot see the middle of the visual field much like the eye disease that it is named after. They only see the sides, the periphery, which is to say they only see the extreme.
The other problem besides perceptual, is there is a part of our humanness that is cruel. It resides in all of us. We sophisticates deny it, claiming higher ground. But it can only be overcome by acknowledging and transcending it. But if somebody is truly capable of being honest with themselves, (which mind you, not everybody is,) can see their emotive thought-feeling of “they had it coming”, own their secret delight in someone else’s misfortune, there may be hope for mitigation and a way out of this mess, however slow.
Through The Glass Darkly
Keeping with the macular degeneration analogy, vengefulness at its worst becomes extreme, distorted, which is what has happened to swaths of our society. Because too many people are unwilling or unable to see this characteristic in themselves, they get to release it, to channel it through Donald Trump‘s behavior. Sadly, they need him for their own psychological sustenance and deniability yet it keeps the system stuck in a death spiral.
Some people are just complacent, feeling helpless, and maybe we all are: helpless. Maybe there’s no going back until we crash and burn, hit bottom, or otherwise implode; until the fever gets so high, the body politic expires. I have said to several other upset friends about the state of affairs in America—of course all democracies die. It’s just so very hard to witness it, especially when so many other Americans are delusional about what is going on. And while that might bring me some sense of intellectual comfort, it stops me cold at the waters’ edge of sorrow.
If we are in fact in a death spiral, with our institutions being hollowed out from the inside and without, I pray for one of two things: either it happens quickly so rebuilding can occur, or I find a way to be at peace with the destruction of a nation and its citizens, forgiving ignorance, cowardness and incompatible developmental stages. I know not which will occur, and maybe there is a third alternative after all. Maybe there’s a savior. Or maybe enough of the population will wake up from this collective nightmare to turn some things around.
Whatever lies ahead, I think it’s more than likely the Phoenix resides in the ashes. And while it may take – – and likely will – – more catastrophes, more excesses, I believe Power and Truth which facilities and invigorates life, will overcome the Force that thinks it can destroy it. Because in the end, Force cannot survive. Force is not true Power; Force is consumptive and destructive. Power is creative and always transcends in the end and exists from Divine origination. As such, it is absolute! In that I take comfort. It is the teaching of Buddha, of Jesus, of Nature, forever always.