The Worst is yet to Come

Our Constitution is a remarkable, beautiful gift. But it’s really just a piece of parchment. It has no power on its own. We, the people, give it power. We, the people, give it meaning. With our participation, and with the choices that we make, and the alliances that we forge. Whether or not we stand up for our freedoms. Whether or not we respect and enforce the rule of law. That’s up to us. President Obama

 

Soon Donald Trump will be sworn in as President of the United States. I still find this reality difficult to believe. I wonder over and over again: “How could people vote for such a man?”

Republican policies—many anti-human—threaten tens of millions of Americans. Few believe Republicans can govern the nation effectively. Trump promises a return to a romanticized past in American history–a time that never really existed. To be sustainable, our human community must continually evolve to greater consciousness and complexity. Efforts to return to earlier, more primitive, immature and unconscious states are not sustainable for humanity or for a vibrant planet. Many fear a deep and dark decline. Adding to these dangers, Trump brings something new to the presidency: He exposes his dark side—his shadow side—openly for all to see but he himself appears unconscious—without self-awareness or ability to mature. He is not a normal person. Our fears are appropriate. And he has not yet taken power. The worst is yet to come.

Trump almost daily takes us down many slippery slopes of “not normal” personal behavior. And each time he does, his “not normal” behavior becomes more common and desensitized people begin to consider “not normal” as ordinary options to consider for their own behavior. For example, corruption becomes the norm, wishful opinion becomes fact, lies are inseparable from truth, bullying becomes okay; hate crimes are deserved, sexual assault is boys being boys and mocking the disabled becomes normal activity. A president should model behavior we aspire to; not behavior we descend to. An abnormal man will not be a normal president. For perhaps the first time in our history, the majority of Americans abhor the essence of the man elected to lead us.

In his farewell address, President Obama put the responsibility for our democracy squarely on the shoulders of the American people. His address called us to engage, get involved and be responsible. He warned of the threats of closed minds, economic disparity, a racially divided country, not living true to our values and allowing democratic institutions to decline.

I am painfully aware of my own lack of influence and my feelings of powerlessness to effect change. I like to say, “I do what I can,” however small, to consciously evolve my life and impact those around me in small ways. Each of us can choose to become more conscious of ourselves and the world around us. We can strive to “wake-up” and become more mindful. We can offer our talents and skills to the world around us. It is imperative that we awaken and act together if we want a good life for future generations: “Learning how to relate sanely with our chaotic world is no longer a luxury. It’s our responsibility,” wrote Pema Chodron in When Things Fall Apart.

Such conscious evolution is difficult, painful and frightening. M. Scott Peck, MD wrote that stress tests our goodness. We tend to become small-minded and often regress to earlier states of maturity when our fear, anger and anxiety overwhelms us (see Trump rallies). But we can also become aware of our impulses and choose to act differently than what we feel or how we acted in the past. We can choose conscious evolution over unconscious degeneration.

How American citizens engage with Trumpism in Washington D.C. and in our communities will define us as people. In standing against the everyday darkness of Trumpism, we stand for the deepest, most noble values of America.

We can choose to go through the difficult angst we feel and walk into the unknown living true to our purpose and values. We do not withdraw or run away from difficulty. Together we can be the courageous role-models for America and healers of the spirit that lives within all living beings: kind, inclusive, cooperative, compassionate and increasingly conscious. And our everyday choices—doing what we can– will make a difference. In doing so, we live noble lives.

 

19 thoughts on “The Worst is yet to Come

  1. well said Tom. I had a similar reaction when Bush Jr. won. It was clear (to me at least) that he wasn’t qualified for the job and I wondered “How can people have voted for him?”. With Trump it’s worse, and I think part of it is a subconscious racist pushback against Obama. We white men, were so unnerved by the election of a black man, we would choose someone as awful a candidate as Trump as long as it’s a white male.

  2. Thanks, Tom. As always, well said. Yesterday I had a meeting with a group that I have belonged to for a number of years. We come together about once a month to discuss Native American spiritual principles. At least 2 of the members supported Trump and yesterday, I lost it and confronted their notion of being connected to all of creation and yet supporting a man who embodies the direct polar opposite. I was neither as gracious or as direct as I could have been. Your last paragraph spoke to me loudly and clearly. It is difficult to stay true to one’s convictions and be “the courageous role-models for America and healers of the spirit .” I am feeling emotionally disoriented today and made amends today (via email) to the group members for not being more gracious and compassionate.
    I am still going to the Women’s March on Washington (leaving Friday) as part of my response to the election of Trump. I’ll be praying for “knowledge of God’s will for me and the power to carry that out” over the weekend.
    Thanks, again, for your guidance and direction.

  3. Thanks Kathy for your example and sharing of how difficult our conscious evolution can be. I think you are a really good role model–one with a great heart. I look forward to hearing about the Women’s March from you. Safe travels.

  4. Well said and right on. I watched President OBama on 60 minutes last night and will miss him and Michelle a great deal. What a class act. As I saw him in the Oval Office both in the interview and the piece from the photographer, I couldn’t help but get a sickening feeling knowing such a horrible human being would soon occupy that office. How far we have fallen.
    We must stay active and support what is morally right.

  5. Tom, and those who have replied thus far:
    I am with you… and add that I am dismayed at how much of my daily thinking draws me (as though there were a magnet in my mind) to the inconceivability of what is actually unfolding in the country that I love.
    I am aware that I need to be in touch with my best and highest self and allow that person to be seen and expressed — within myself and outwardly — on a consistent basis. At the same time, it is challenging to not be discouraged by what I see/hear in the media (which I hold largely responsible for creating “this mess”) as it falls prey to the examples of greed and lack of integrity that we are despairing about.
    Also at the same time, greedy and deplorable examples appear in leadership positions in the new executive and legislative branch (and soon to the judicial branch, one supposes)… so it will be really challenging to feel empowered within such “constraints.”
    The growing number of petitions that show up in my email Inbox are now including daily requests for contributions, bringing financial backing into play in a different pressure to participate in the process.
    It’s confusing and exhausting and dangerous to let one’s mind project all the possible horrors of not doing something, or of knowing whether one is doing the smart thing, to turn this awful time around.
    I’m thinking the real Power That Be will have a say in the unfolding, that we as mere humans do not have the power(s) to control or foresee. Meanwhile, I take comfort in knowing I am not alone in my desire to be my best self and join with others — like yourselves — who strive for individual qualities which include integrity, grace and compassion.
    In loving spirit, Eleanor

  6. “And I know what I have to do now. I gotta keep breathing. Because tomorrow the sun will rise. Who knows what the tide could bring?” – Tom Hanks’ character, Chuck Noland, in the movie Cast Away. For the many of us who still cannot believe that this is happening…it is. Why? Because all too many of us stood by, believing that ‘someone’ would do something to stop it, that this could not happen in our democracy. When we never believed that we could actually go down in flames and wake up, washed up, on a deserted island, where we had no control over anything except what we would do with the endless amount of time and pain we had not imagined we would have. Everything has changed because we assumed it would not. We not only have to do ‘damage control’, we have to rebuild the broken democracy that Americans worked so long and hard to create.

    What will we do to rediscover and rebuild our America in the coming days, weeks, months and yes, maybe years? Some, even myself, decry, “We have to do something!” Just before we sit back down and do nothing. We have time, we don’t know how much. But, in this very moment, we can and must do something with what we have right now. The same goes for tomorrow and the next day and so on if we are fortunate to have that much time given to us. Stand up, take a stand. March if you wish. Learn more about the rules of our democracy. Find your place in it. Help in the fight for it while you still can. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

    “We live and we die by time, and we must not commit the sin of turning our back on time.”

    Thank you, Tom. Your Blogposts always inspire me.

  7. People get the government they deserve or so they say. Stewards of our democracy, exercising the rights and responsibities we have inherited as a result of blood and sacrifice of those before us,is what we are called to do. We must exercise these rights with great care. Too many have been complacent. It is time to stand up, pay attention and act.

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