On this Election Day I’ve been contemplating how far we have come over the last four years. I know it is easy to look at these last four years and bemoan all that has happened—all the cruelties and crudities that have been unleashed, all the suffering.
And yet I am well aware that everything that we encounter in life, all the adversities and challenges, can either be seen as a curse or as a teacher. I choose to look at things as the latter.
It’s easy enough to vilify Donald Trump as someone who has hijacked and corrupted our institutions of government, glorified bullying and greed, given the green light to racism and sexism. It’s easy enough to blame him and those who support him for destroying all semblance of decency.
That’s an easy road to take, and I would argue one that leads us nowhere.
If we want to go deeper, we can see that Trump is a reflection of an inner state we would rather not look at, and has brought to the surface things that were there all along but had been lurking in the shadows, repressed by our collective cultural denial.
Consider all that has happened over these four years. We have seen the MeToo movement and the Black Lives Matter movement. We have become increasingly aware of the obscene inequity of wealth in our country and how the political establishment exists now to serve that inequity. We have seen how readily we latch onto the idea of enemy and how gleefully we embrace and disseminate any “information” that comes our way that supports our preconceptions about “those people.”
Over these past four years, Donald Trump has forced us to face our shadow. Now the question is, what will we do with this information?
Will we refuse to be satisfied with simply removing public monuments to white supremacy and continue do the challenging and essential work of eradicating the insidious and absurd ideas of racism, sexism, and classism from our minds and institutions?
Will we revitalize a democracy that was already perilously close to dying?
Will we unequivocally claim for ourselves a future that excludes and oppresses no one—a future that unleashes the creativity of the human spirit and allows the Earth and all of her beings to thrive?
Or will we try to sweep it all under the rug again? Reboot our comfortable denial? Indulge ourselves with a belief in our “powerlessness”?
If so, the lesson that these past four years came to teach us will need to come again, and again, and again.
On this Election Day, as I look at the US I see a nation that has matured at light speed these last four years. So many of us understand now that it isn’t up to our “leaders” to save us. So many of us understand that the United States isn’t a collection of governmental institutions, but We the People. So many of us are firmly committed not to be bystanders in this crucial moment of our precious planet’s history.
My prayer on this day and the days to come, as we await the election results, is that the outcome be in the highest good of this country and our world, and that these past four years will not have been wasted, that we will have seen what we needed to see, and learned what we needed to learn in order to create the more perfect Union that is ours to create.