Election Aftermath: From Kali to Noah’s Ark
And even though it all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah.
Ring the bells that sill can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
This is my first posting since the election which held so much shock and sorrow. It feels radically different from any of the other thirteen presidential elections I have experienced. If John McClain had won in 2008 or Mitt Romney in 2012 I would have felt sad and disappointed. But I would not have felt that democracy was under threat and my family, loved ones and neighbors were unsafe. But this year the energies of hate, bigotry and discrimination that have been stirred up in this process are almost incomprehensible.
It appears that another one of my personal crystal vases may shatter dramatically. (See my most recent post of 11/7.) The safety I have always thought to be guaranteed and dependable feels threatened. While as a white, straight male I personally am unlikely to be in danger but members of my family are in groups that could possibly be targeted. If any of us are not safe none of us are safe. The values at the Soul of our country and society appear to be under attack. It is impossible to know what is next. We are in a time when the future is unknown.
As I wrote in June of 2016 this feels like the energy of Kali. She is the Hindu goddess who represents chaos, fury and destruction. She comes in this energy shredding American society’s ego. She demands that we face our pretentions that we are somehow better or more civilized than other countries or societies. Our national shadow, our unrecognized, unresolved side is being flashed in our face. In the midst of all of this there is great opportunity and exceptional danger. The opportunity is to awaken as a nation and the danger is that if we don’t democracy will be crushed and turned into a mere shell of itself. Our history of ethnic cleansing, racism, sexism, gender issues and the economic exploitation inherent in capitalism will either be faced or we will descend into fascism. The rise of Donald Trump and his allies is distressingly similar to the rise of Hitler in the 1930s. We will either face this in ourselves as individuals and as a country or we will follow that horrific path.
This is a tsunami of shadow energy that will flood our world as surely as that faced by Noah. And like him we must construct an ark. Our ark will be made from dialogue. And a cubit will become a measure of connection between participants. We have descended to a point where those who disagree with us become our enemy. Commentators too often spew venom disguised as news and facts arising from illogical, irrational conspiracy theories without the slightest relationship to the real world.
The American people have been split and turned against one another for far too long. This has turned our nation into camps of enemies who engage in constant shaming, blaming and verbal bashing. This is true of the liberal/progressive media and conservative outlets as well. It is clear that all Trump voters are not primarily racist, xenophobic, hate filled SOBs. Much of the vote was an expression of fury at decades of economic exploitation. The progressive spiritual community needs to become leaders in promoting dialogue and increasing the sense of community, alliance and unity. We need to turn toward each other now and ride in the new arc of dialogue, connection and caring. A variety of writers and leaders are speaking to the danger of “othering” those who disagree. It does not help to make immigrants and Islamic people the enemy and it will not help to shame and blame Trump supporters. It is important to see the ways we have ALL been manipulated, exploited and turned against one another. We are all experiencing this together. We can unite in seeking liberation from this. We can align with the frustration and anger but not the solutions of the incoming administration.
And this is correct as far as it goes. But my sense is that this is a very easy place for white liberals to rest. We need also to be alert to the reality that these energies are deeply woven into the fabric of our history, culture and society. They are pervasive and we dare not be naïve about potential danger. Some actions, statements and policies and plans of this administration ARE racist and bigoted. In the face of this Truth needs to be spoken to power even if the perpetrators see themselves as powerless. Until Black lives matter no healing and unification can occur. Every life matters, every single one. Dialogue is impossible without safety. At times we will need to step forward in protection of those who are harassed and discriminated against.
I do not quite know how to integrate the last two paragraphs. The need for dialogue is clear and pervasive. And we need to stand firm in protection of rights of all of us.
It is a tenant of most spiritual paths that we should not live in fear. But I also will not fear my fear. I will not be afraid to see danger when it exists. I will not ignore what I see or retreat into the safety of my own personal meditation cushion. When I see people in danger I commit to:
- Protecting and advocating for the safety of others. When I witness harassment I will not stand by.
- Finding ways to dialogue without hate or vitriol or disparagement.
- Support every positive initiative like cities declaring themselves as safe zones, the police chief in Los Angeles asserting that his police force will not cooperate with deportation efforts and Boston mayor Marty Walsh establishing programs of racial dialogue.
- Recommit to my daily practice of spiritual growth and development so that I remain centered and focused transforming myself while I look to the world.
We are entering a time of the unknown. And I confess that I am a lot more comfortable with the personal unknown than the political and cultural unknown. But, I think Leonard Cohen would agree with me that the light also comes in through the unknown.