Thursday, September 1, 2016


Personally, I have been doing extremely well avoiding the negative rhetoric by and about the current presidential candidates. I have really made use of my TV remote mute button, and other than reading the headlines (which are often as disturbing as reading the whole piece), I'm not reading any more news articles online that mention the campaign or its participants. I promise you, I have been sleeping and feeling much better. 

However, this morning I received the following piece from my older son, Craig. Alex is an "interim" Unitarian Universalist minister, and was until recently the minister at my grandson Cameron's church in Fort Worth. Alex is also a practicing Zen Buddhist. He and Craig met and became close friends. I thought it would be interesting to share what he wrote. I agree with so much of what he has to say, but I truly hope he is wrong about "something terrible is going to happen this year". I have to admit that I have felt the same way at times, but I have tried to erase those thoughts and feelings from my consciousness, and replace them with prayers for "the highest and best" for our country.

What I appreciate about Mr. Trump (no, really...)
...Rev. Alexander (Alex) Holt

Image result for Alex Holt, Unitarian"Anyone who knows me would raise eyebrows at the idea that I could appreciate anything about Mr. Trump. I have run into people similar to him who are cheerful con artists and who could convince you to give them your most cherished possession and then would be willing to sell it back to you for a steep fee. I'm not sure even how skillful he is in such ways.

This is what I appreciate about this loathsome and rather pathetic individual:

First, I am convinced that a trickster archetypal figure would have eventually created chaos and havoc in a political system that has become dysfunctional and warlike at a national level. Bernie Sanders could have been one as well but I am thinking here of Mr. Trump. He has ripped the band-aid off of the deep psychic and emotional wounds that the Republican Party has fostered on itself since the Goldwater campaign. When a political system is in paralysis it can take only a small push from an unexpected direction to have it all come apart. I think both political parties are due for some serious reform movements.
Image result for political party symbols
Second, the Republican Party (and I suspect the Democratic Party as well down the road) will have to go through a reshaping and possibly a realignment of political parties. I wouldn't be surprised if the Republican establishment figures attempt to bring the party back under their control by breaking it off of the more fundamentalist portion.

Third, people like myself have been appalled by the nasty and deeply offensive words used online by people who are able to hide behind anonymous identities. Mothers would resort to soap in such peoples' mouths were they to hear such language and lack of civility. That said, I think that the venting of emotional pus in America today is at least a start to bring the poison to the surface. Governor Le Page in Maine is an example. His anger and bluster echoes the feelings of others. My point is that those feelings of rage, anger, fear, humiliation, etc. have been there couped up in peoples' heads for many years. That deep anger is - I think - just under the surface for Americans regardless of age, race, political label or region.

Those are three reasons why I think Mr. Trump (or someone like him) was necessary to come along. My worry continues to be that the seething rage under the surface in America might break out in unpredictable ways either before or after the 2016 election. I've said before that I worry that something terrible is going to happen this year. If such a tragedy happens I hope it doesn't alter the healing that 'might' come after this election is done and America looks at the rubble of how far our national political system has paralyzed itself.

My mood is optimistic, however. I have met and listened to fellow Americans of all types during my life. Nearly all of them are generous and kind people. Some have shorter fuses and less tolerance than others. Most would stop on the side of a road to help a stranger in distress (especially in the South).

I think that liberal and conservative fundamentalism is a natural outcome to the years since World War II. My belief is that the vast majority of Americans who are the above kind and tolerant people will have their voices heard.

Could I be wrong and full of it? Of course. However, I still believe that we are capable of doing great things as Americans. We can be exceptionally good and exceptionally bad. We had a choice after 9/11. We still have a choice. The good old days weren't. The world isn't a safe place. We Americans have to be used to being part of the world now rather than safe behind our oceans."

I believe we are capable of doing great things, too, Alex. Hold that thought.

Love and Peace,