“Watch the world argue, argue with itself. Who’s gonna teach me peace and happiness?”
Dancing on the Jetty, INXS
So I was doing emails, listening to this song and thinking about our country when I heard a crack and a “thud” that shook The Center (thecenterec.com). I looked out to see the rest of this branch crash to the ground. I went out and realized that it had to be dealt with soon because it blocked the drive down to the Pottery Studio. So, I grabbed it by a little branch sticking out and started pulling it down the hill. I was wondering if the little branch might break right before it did, sending me rolling down the hill like a 2-year-old with no sense of how things really work. (Thankfully, I was aimed at the grass and not the asphalt). After I realized that nothing was bruised but my ego, I laughed and considered a new approach.
We are somewhere like this as a country. Going back to the branch, I think it broke because it had become unbalanced. In pursuing growth, it went in a wrong direction. It bent over too much to get it's leaves in the sun. The weight of the rain simply made it too heavy to stay connected to its roots.
It was weird for me to watch people I otherwise admired bend what I took to be core values to vote for Donald Trump. I listened and thought I understood - They were sick of the establishment. They wanted “our country to take care of itself. Get our house in order.” I get that thinking and the feelings behind it, but what is at the heart of America if not a sense of respect for people as people? What good is any democracy if a sense of respect is not guiding it? Without respect, no house is a home and no country is at peace.
Nazism and the Confederacy were built on one group saying “it’s all about us” and “to hell with so and so.” That’s the problem with their philosophies and it’s a fundamental problem. Those philosophies are selfish and narcissistic to the point of dehumanizing others. That’s why they are so dangerous. At the very least, they lead to not caring about your opponents as people, and at the worst, they lead to things like slavery, death camps and genocide.
From the very first debate, it was clear that President Trump did not value a sense of respect for others. That’s fine for him as an individual. It does not make him evil, but it does make him unfit to be president of a democracy. If he changes his philosophy, I’ll gladly change my feelings on him being president, but unfortunately, his philosophy still seems to have the same bent towards selfishness and narcissism. We cannot keep bending in that direction and expect things not to break, branch after branch. Barring doing something illegal, Trump will probably remain president, but reality will be right in correcting things if we as a country keep going in fundamentally disrespectful directions.
If we re-center in things like valuing love and treating others the way we want to be treated, we will head in the right direction (remember, God is Love, and things like respect and fairness are fundamental aspects of love). Love is the way and truth that leads to life. That’s why Jesus lived it and why both God and history raised him.