When I first heard about the possibility that Russians had interfered with our election and were the cause of Trump’s win, I thought it absurd and laughed aloud. ‘Playing on the old American fear of the Russians, huh?’ is what I thought, and didn’t given it much thought.
After noticing the media talking about it repeatedly, day after day, with the common people joining in, I then wondered if Trump would go through his first term with this ridiculous story distracting people from the real problems. And now the answer is clear: the media and political establishment have accomplished a monumental feat, talking about this absurd story for two-thirds of his term already, day after day, with nothing really being said, and no real movement.
We have so many problems with our electoral system, from the purging of voters, to presidents not winning the popular vote, to the quality of many candidates, to the corrupt behavior of many elected officials, to lobbyists, to the fact that many people simply choose not to vote because they can’t stomach the choices or this broken system. Is Russia the cause of these problems?
It’s clear that Trump is liked by about half the voting public, who voted for him despite his racism and sexism, despite serious allegations and proof of sexual misconduct, despite him making fun of disabled people, despite his clear bullying tactics, despite his many obstructions of justice, and despite his absolute refusal to take responsibility for himself. It’s clear that about half the voting public continues to support Trump. Did Russia cause this problem in our country?
The American government has interfered with many countries’ elections, both covertly and overtly, from assassinating democratically-elected leaders, to funding unpopular candidates, and the list goes on. Did this possible Russian interference with our election cause a Soul-searching in America when we realized how terrible it can be to not be able to vote freely with clear knowledge that foreign governments are not forcing their choices on you? It did not. Did it cause elected officials to issue apologies and take responsibility for mistreating so many of the world’s citizens by negating their right to freely choose their own destiny? No. Is Russia the cause for that?
Hatred has become normalized in this country. Trump rallies this tendency in his supporters routinely, and many on the Left are starting to think it normal to hate Trump and those on the Right. I recently saw a leftist newspaper raising money by asking “Hate Racists?” and then saying that financial support would help to fight against racists. They asked if their readership hated certain people, not racism itself. Hatred has now become normalized in this country, and the effects of this development are greater than one can imagine. Is Russia the cause of this?
Of course the answer is no. Neither Russia nor Trump are the cause of these problems in America. But it’s easier to blame them than to realize that the problem is with us, and we are the only ones who can fix it. No one is coming to save us. No one needs to save us. We can change this situation, but we would have to do the very things being so casually demanded of Trump: to take a hard look at our history and current state, take responsibility for it, and to do that hard, hard work of daily struggle to turn the tide of history.
Soon after Trump was elected I was lucky to come across an article by journalist Cynthia Dagnal-Myron, who shared the profound insights of her Hopi relative. This relative compared Trump to a Hopi sacred clown. “Through their antics, questionable behavior is revealed and, usually, changed. They are ‘mirrors.’ They are us. The ‘worst’ of us, exaggerated to such an extreme that we cannot miss the message. So my in law was telling us two things. First, that Trump is ‘us,’ too. Even those of us who insist he’s ‘Not My President.’ And second, that nothing will change until we have accepted and digested that message.”
Trump often mistreats people and then lies about it, doing nothing to rectify or acknowledge the harm he has caused. America has a long history of this behavior, starting with Indigenous people and Africans forced into slavery. Trump is a mirror.
Santita Jackson sings, “Love is such a simple thing.” I found myself wondering how many people in America feel that way right now. The song goes on to say: “Let the light shine through, let it come from you, make your life a prayer you pray.”
Do we remember this energy, this life force, this responsibility, this beautiful gift we have to be here right now? So many are drowning in the sickness of a madman’s tweets and a corporate media cascade of words that will never lead you right. So many are drowning in energy they are consuming, instead of living, instead of striving, instead of believing in themselves and fighting for life.
Patrisia Gonzales, a wonderful friend and profound journalist, once asked “I’d like to know, what happened to love?” She talked about her elders who were able to love people for who they were and where they were in their process. She called this “a generosity of spirit, of accepting and welcoming people on their own terms, the sharing of yourself and the gifting of kindness.”
Love. Do we remember what it is? Will our children remember?
Hatred is being spewed by political pundits, presidents, politicians, and some of our neighbors and friends, and it’s being spewed so often it’s becoming normal. But those who feed on hatred lose much more than they comprehend: the consequences are profound and very difficult to undo. The battle to stop hatred from becoming normal is a battle we must fight and win.
Someone who hates is ill, and hating them only spreads the sickness. Those who are ill need healing, whether they currently realize it or not. If someone hates you or your people, please protect yourself: see them as sick, don’t feed the energy, and buckle down and get to work. We have to be empowered and believe we are capable of changing this situation, because the truth is: we are more than capable. With all respect.