I’m Back!

After a six-month sabbatical the Monk is back!! I had never before taken more than a month break between posts to the Urban Monk website. I can’t explain why, necessarily. I suppose I just didn’t feel I had a lot to say about things.

The US presidential campaign captivated a lot of my attention during the fall. I was very disheartened to see Bernie Sanders fall by the wayside leading up to the Democratic Convention. Very reluctantly I swung my support to Hilary Clinton. Like Sanders, I felt any option was preferable to Donald Trump. I watched his growing support with a sinking feeling of dismay in my heart, even when I didn’t think he had a chance to win.

On the night of the election I was absolutely gobsmacked as the counts began to come in.  Clinton won the election, yes, but Trump was winning the archaic, outdated institution of the US electoral college. I must confess I learnt more about that feature of US politics than I ever learnt growing up and being educated in the USA.

It was with heavy-hearted irony I heard Trump saying just days before the election that it was “rigged”, setting up the scenario of saving face when he lost. After he won, of course, we heard a different story from him. Then the process was not at all rigged.

As with the above, all throughout the campaign, I realized that whenever Trump criticized someone or something (like the media), he really was projecting his own insecurities onto others, a practice common to those who suffer mental illness or dysfunction. As a deeply spiritual seeker, I have learned that placing blame for shortcomings onto sources outside myself is as damaging to my soul as any addiction. Trump seemingly knows no other way of being.

Anyway, the election results sent me into a bit of a tailspin. I was quite depressed, for quite a long while. The hoped-for second coming of Trump (“he just says those things in the heat of campaigning”; “he will be different once he’s in office”; etc, etc, etc,) did not materialize, of course, as everyone can now see. I grew more and more fearful as I saw him gather some of the most dysfunctional, immature bullies around him during the transition. The element of fear as control was never more evident. Trump continued to bumble from one disaster to another. Every day’s news brought new stories of mishandling and mismanagement. It was clearer and clearer that he had no clue what he was doing, and was unwilling to listen to anyone else who might have had some clue how to handle the reigns of assuming power.

It was therefore with absolute delight that we began hearing rumours of protests as inauguration approached. I was at work on the Saturday after, but my wife continued to send texts of the enormity of the protests of the women’s marches happening across the country and around the world. As everyone now knows, the protests attracted many times the numbers of people that organizers had hoped for. It was leagues and leagues beyond anyones grandest hopes.

And there my view of things in the world began to shift. I began to see that some good could emerge from the evil of the Trump world. If it stimulates people to speak up and get involved, that is a good thing. Trump’s abject disregard for anyone else’s good beyond his own (and maybe his family’s) might yet reveal to the world the darkest side of American power. And with those revelations being so stunningly clear people seem to be motivated to respond in positive ways. Out of darkness comes light!

Hope grows!! I do not necessarily expect dawning to happen quickly. Things will undoubtedly continue to get worse as the Trump administration is revealed to be more and more criminal. But dawn will come! Good will prevail. We can endure. We can change things. There is hope!!