“I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief… For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.” – Wendell Berry
It’s Friday in America. In my neck of the woods Fall, my favorite time of the year, has finally arrived. The weather is crisp and cool and the leaves on the old oaks scattered around my yard are losing their sharp green hue as yellows, and reds begin to dot the canopy high above my head.
In my bird, bee and butterfly garden I have noticed several changes because of the colder temperatures. The Hummingbirds that battled all summer over my one feeder have left for warmer weather. The big birds, Jays, Robins, and Wood Thrushes have given way to the smaller birds Wrens, Chickadees, Nuthatches and Sparrows. The Butterflies have disappeared and the Honey Bees have been replaced by yellow-jackets savaging the ground and protecting their nest.
But as much as I love autumn it does create a few issues for me namely it throws my sleep pattern off. Getting dark early and waking-up in the dark messes me up. It also seems to slow me down, which isn’t all bad, but what I have noticed is despite my lethargic feelings the madness of the world continues at breakneck speed. My hope would be that all the craziness that is going on right now would take a long, deep breath with me but it doesn’t. It should but it won’t.
I met with a Pastor last week, a man I have only recently gotten to know, trying to help him with his affordable housing project. Before we “get down to business” Steve and I talk about life, family, and what’s going on in the world. Two weeks ago we got on the subject of politics and ultimately ended up on Trump. I told Steve how concerned I was with all the hate and divisiveness that seems to be engulfing our country today and that I blamed Trump for it.
Steve, a black man, smiled at me and said Trump didn’t create the hate we are experiencing it’s been with us since the dawn of time. Continuing his thought Steve asked, is Trump using hate to advance his own cause? Sure he is, but Steve pointed out that hate isn’t a one way street. From his perspective Trump is using my hate, our hate for what he stands for and what he is doing to our nation against us as well.
Look at this tweet Trump put out yesterday: “Democrats are now the party of high taxes, high crime, open borders, late-term abortion, socialism, and blatant corruption. The Republican Party is the party of the American Worker, the American Family, and the American Dream!” Now picture the person he is appealing too. Can you see them? They look just like me, white, male, 60 + years old. If I were to take all the Buddha, environmental, and left-leaning bummer stickers off my old piece of shit pick-up truck and wore a red MAGA baseball cap hell I would look just like them.
But there are differences between us and my struggle is and has been trying to figure out what those differences are. Are they social? Economic? Geographic? Educational? Maybe they are genetic. Maybe there is a chromosome I have that Deplorables are simply missing.
Back to Pastor Steve, he told me that every Sunday he tells his congregation to not get sucked into the vortex of hate that Trump is pedaling and that includes not hating the man himself. We may hate what Trump stands for. We may hate his values and his morals. We may hate his words and his actions but when we hate the man, the flesh and the blood we become no better than he is or his base of supporters. And then Steve quoted Martin Luther King; “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
I can’t fix Trump. I have come to the conclusion that he is unfixable. I can’t fix his 35 to 40% base of supporters. I pray that some of them are fixable but I know most are not. I also know that Trump isn’t a god, he may appear to be sub-human but he doesn’t have super powers. Just like you and me, Trump has a finite amount of time left on this earth as do his supporters.
I have often said that having this horrible and corrupt man serve as President might just be the best thing that ever happened to this country. It has given many of us a taste of the hate that so many of our brothers and sisters have experienced for centuries. And it has also given our young people a front row seat of what happens to a society and government when we give a psychopath the keys to our democracy. Hopefully we won’t make the same mistake again.
“I’m begging the American people to pay attention to what is going on. Because if you want to have a democracy intact for your children, and your children’s children, and generations yet unborn we’ve got to guard this moment…this is our watch.” – Elijah E. Cummings