Trigger Warning: Trump is Your President

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When the map went red, it bled.  That uniform block of frustration and alienation is as visible as an open wound.  

For me, this election is personal.  I haven’t spoken publicly about it until now, but last summer, I was ensnared by a romantic sociopath and when I discovered the depth of this person’s lies, I had a mental health crisis complete with panic, anxiety/depression, PTSD, insomnia, the whole shebang.

At the time, I was working at a mental health facility teaching yoga to acute patients.  These vulnerable people had often sustained ongoing childhood abuse.  I could not teach anymore because I was now a patient and I couldn’t separate myself from my students; I was lost in empathy, my own pain mixing with their’s.

When the map went that red last night, it was like watching a dear friend willingly return to the home of her abusive husband. Our nation voted for a sociopath because it has Stockholm Syndrome.  Our red states feel powerless and so they reach for and identify with power, even if that power is their oppressor.

We have to wonder about free will in this moment and how much we are actually exercising it if we put the tax-evading bully in the driver’s seat.

I’m grieving a future that is not fraught with draconian repeals and abusive cycles that grind up our best and brightest.

I’m in the second phase of grief: denial.

Followed closely by bargaining: your mind just keeps trying to peel back time and rewrite the event, bending it another way. It happens repeatedly throughout your day, your mind doing impossible gymnastics to make that one moment of shock disappear. I’m going to let myself feel it, so I can move onto guilty, anger and eventually hope.
I am already tired from the work that must be done.  I see with fresh awareness that my privilege has afforded me the ability to opt out of activism.  The Obama years were a piece of cake I ate daily without realizing it.  But none of us, not one American, will have that luxury anymore.
I have one perspective I learned through my experience with the sociopath that is both disheartening and hopeful as it applies to Trump: sociopaths usually self-destruct.  because they are not conscience-bound at all, they do not apply loyalty to their interactions.  His loose cannon antics will continue once he gets into the White House and while we can count on him disposing of Obamacare, overturning Roe v. Wade, and setting up shop for his billionaire friends, he will also be bored, cruel, and destructive with the wrong people.
Malcolm Gladwell predicts Trump will be hip-deep in a lawyer huddle, if not in jail within the first year. I sort of hope he is right; I’d be really surprised if Trump makes it through a first term.
In the meantime, we need to bind together tighter, we need to reach back out to the middle, and bravely carry the torch of love, inclusion, forgiveness.  We need to see this as it is, a wound that needs healing.
Let’s be ready, friends, neighbors, families, communities, cities and allies.  Let’s start to build a model of what we do want so when this thing comes crashing down, we can create again.
May we eradicate hate.  One world, one people, one love.
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Pope Francis on Armenia: This is What World Leaders Say to Foster Peace

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He had my attention when he invited women to breastfeed in the Vatican while there were waiting to have their babies baptized.  I know, he’s Argentine and they are a little more laid back, but when you consider that there are states here in the US that will arrest women for feeding their babies in public, this is big.

Then, #PopeFrancis organized around #climatechange, brokered the initial talks with Cuba and U.S and now, he used the word “genocide” in reference to the Armenian massacre, which marks its 100th anniversary.  I know most people will receive the sound byte, but here is the driving force behind his speech:

“Despite conflicts and tensions, Armenians and Turks have lived long periods of peaceful coexistence in the past and, even in the midst of violence, they have experienced times of solidarity and mutual help. Only in this way will new generations open themselves to a better future and will the sacrifice of so many become seeds of justice and peace.” (Pope Francis, St. Peter’s Basilica, April 12, 2015)

Here’s a link to the whole speech translated into English:

http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2015/04/13/full-text-pope-franciss-message-to-armenians/

It’s important to note that His Holiness was actually quoting his predecessor and that he was making a larger comment about reconciliation and forgiveness. My interpretation of what he is saying is that in a new era of genocide, all peoples and all world leaders have a spiritual and social obligation to stop the cycle of violence.  He has shown himself to be an inclusive peacemaker, not just focusing on conflicts that burden Christians, but all peoples.

Organized religion is the oldest and most absurd rationale in the book for the wholesale slaughter of entire nations. Catholics, let’s not forget, were responsible for the Crusades that converted a large swath of the Middle East by force and wiped out those who would not acquiesce. Francis strikes me as a Pope who knows his history.

The question all this brings up: How do we expect our leaders to express peace?  And I ask this question out of baldfaced ignorance, but what does Turkey have to lose by recognizing the 1.5 million people systematically killed 100 years ago? How do we heal if we don’t first acknowledge the wound?

My figurative hat is off to Pope Francis for addressing human rights violations with a sort of innocence and idealism, for taking a good, logical look at climate change and for singing the unpopular song of peace. Now if he could update church policy on creating and harboring pedafilia, also bring the Church’s women’s rights policy into the 21st Century, I’d convert to Catholicism.

#CubaUSrelations  #Armenia  #humanrights