Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Bigger Than Trump

So here we are. President Donald Trump.

I am tremendously surprised. Never thought it would happen. But I am certainly not going to contribute to the over-dramatics.

It's no secret I don't like the man. He is, as far as I am concerned, a horrible role model for our country and for our kids. But that does not matter anymore. It has not, for awhile. Bill Clinton was up to all kinds of inappropriate hoo-ha in the oval office, and it didn't put an dent in his presidency or his legacy.

I still think The President of the United States should be a gentleman/lady, but I am in the minority.

I haven't had to think about that much, because our last eight years have seen a true gentleman in office. Many disagree with his actions and policies, but it would be hard to say he was not the consummate gentleman.

There are those who argue that it does not matter; that a worm can, in fact, be a good president (which, at this point, I certainly hope is true). But I still have a problem with the fact that my countrymen elected a man who refers to grabbing women "by the p--." And, no, this is not standard locker-room talk. This is misogyny. If you disagree, you are like Trump.

All that aside, I think we all need to calm down. We have spent months as ants under the proverbial sun-focusing magnifying glass.

We have a system of checks and balances. Trump will not become a dictator.

True -- it has happened in the past. But, in the past, the governments in question have not been as brilliantly conceived as ours. I still have profound faith in the work of the Founding Fathers. Their foresight will hold things together. I have never had less respect for a president, but I do not believe he will be allowed to run rampant.

The pendulum is at the top of its rightward swing. It will, as it always has, go back and find itself in an equally ridiculous leftward place and everywhere in-between, over and over, even after we are all long-gone.

But, most importantly, I would appeal to everyone's innate ability to perform a lost art: transcendence. Life is so much bigger than politics. Yes, I know -- politics in the hands of evil people can lead to the end of life or even to life-in-death. When it gets to that level, we fight. Before it gets to that level, we should fight with pens and protests, but, in the end, we still have something much bigger than laws and court rulings and unfair taxes. We have lives.

One human soul, "like gold to airy thinness beat," stretches wider and farther than politics, elections, government or the whole stretch of human history. Real change will come when we harness that; not when we strap ourselves into a flawed system and then complain about where it takes us and then argue about it on Facebook.

But, in the meantime, the morning after the election... remained. Husbands and wives kissed each other goodbye. Music was beautiful as ever. Babies still smiled. And children woke up recharged by their dreams and hopes as they trudged with backpack-drooped shoulders through the crackling leaves. Dogs stretched as they did yesterday and cats cleaned themselves on window-ledges, as ever before. God sat, chin on one hand, smiling gently, waiting. 

What will we do now? Each of us? It is easy to vote. It is harder to do stuff to make things better.


  1. Blame, anger and theatrics surely won't help. If calm minds prevail, as you suggest, then perhaps creative ideas and solutions will eventually follow.

    It is not possible
    To control all external events
    But, if I simply control my mind,
    What need is there to control other things?

    1. Here's hopin'! I do wish we would all think as in your quotation -- work on ourselves, first.imagine if each person did that... Imagine the change that coudl be affected...

  2. Thanks for this call for transcendence, Chris. As someone who left the president line blank on his ballot, I appreciate it.

    It's funny: the place I live now is county agricultural reserve, created in the 1980s by liberals, occupied largely by conservative farmers and rural people, and run according to tight development rules that benefit all of us. The county's social services reach out here only on paper, so locals have stepped in to fill the need. Our town's conservative Baptist church hosts the food pantry of the non-denominational charity that feeds 200 families, helps people who fall on hard times, and drives elderly people to their doctors' appointments. (A local hunters' charity just gave them several hundred pounds of venison.) The Episcopal church, which attracts local liberals, provides lunch every day for a hundred high-school kids and anyone else who wanders in hungry. All of the churches have banded together to form a new charity that taps the talents of local contractors by doing free home repairs for the elderly. When the wrestling coach was diagnosed with ALS, locals set up annual fundraisers to help him and his family. When a clerk at the local pharmacy, a single African-American mom, fell on hard times, word spread on Facebook, and the community, which is mostly rural and white, raised $2,000 for her within 48 hours.

    I don't mean for any of this to imply that I live in some libertarian paradise. It's not, and our communities out here have more than their share of problems. But what I'm struck by, as I go into my second year here, is the extent to which all of us, liberal and conservative and in-between, truly need each other to make this place work. I like to believe we'll find that's true of the country as a whole, too, once all the back-and-forth screaming dies down. Until then, I'm thinking and acting locally, and giving national politicians as little power over my thoughts, my mood, and my interactions with others as I possibly can.