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Capture-Trump-for Blog

Many people are perplexed at the popularity of Donald Trump as a presidential contender. In this blog I claim that, though I am a true bleeding heart liberal, I’m nevertheless seriously questioning the hatred directed at him, and for a few important, strategic reasons.

Hint: the title of this post could just as well be, “Hate Trump and Hate Wins.”

Hate is Not Ecological

It’s one thing to become enraged in a fit of righteous indignation when faced with Trump-type rhetoric, and then recover yourself and return to clear, creative thinking (which might include working to understand the worldview of Trump supporters; not to “support” their worldview, but to understand what fuels it). It’s quite another thing to brood, to badmouth him to friends and family, and yes, to hiss and spit at his face on the t.v. or internet.

You may think that your vehemence is justified. However, you fail to note that he has laid a trap for you and you have fallen right into it. This trap is called “hate.”

Hate is energizing (in a closed, pinched sort of way) in the short-term, and exhausting and unsustainable in the long-term. Moreover, hatred divides. Hate is life-degrading. There is nothing logical about hate, most of all, nothing eco-logical.

How He Wins

Trump wins by fostering hatred in others: both in those who support and in those who oppose him. Hate is fostered in those who support him when he aligns his rhetoric with their small selves: the parts filled with hatred that cover over fear of the “other.” He invites the small, fearful part of people to come out of the closet.

Hate is fostered in those who oppose him by relentlessly hitting buttons that fill the listener with righteous indignation. This righteous indignation all too easily spills over into sustained bad feelings that pollute one’s self and the world. (If you’re familiar with Eckhart Tolle, I’m referencing him here.)

The more liberals hate Trump, the more Trump supporters love him. However, that’s not all there is to it.

Let’s get metaphysical…but we don’t have to.

Us bleeding heart liberals love to proclaim the cosmic interconnection of the world when looking out onto a vast field of flowers on a beautiful, sunny day, or when contemplating the fluid beauty of dolphins at play in the ocean. Us very same people, however, quickly disown a person like Trump, and wonder if he’s even actually human.

Trump looks like a relatively successful business person who has turned his attention to another, larger conquest: the U.S. presidency. However, from a zoomed out level is he is a puppet of larger forces that are being played out on the world stage. If I describe the forces that are supporting Trump as “open, feeling, thoughtful, empathetic, loving,” even he would know I’m full of crap. If I describe these forces as “closed, emotionally suspicious, mentally dogmatic, harsh, hating,” at a visceral level you would know I’m closer to the reality.

Even if you subscribe to a materialistic reductionist worldview, can you imagine the sheer impact of millions of people walking through their days repeatedly faced with a visage of a specific person and his words? And for months at a time? It doesn’t matter if they hate or revere that person, they are thinking of him, and that is how he wins. Even if he doesn’t win the presidency, the forces of hate win anyway, by filling the world with suspicion and animosity, cutting us off from one another even more.

A thoughtful analysis of the consequences of his aggressive rhetoric combined with the current media climate is provided by this report from the Harvard Kennedy School:

Journalists seemed unmindful that they and not the electorate were Trump’s first audience. Trump exploited their lust for riveting stories. He didn’t have any other option. He had no constituency base and no claim to presidential credentials…Trump couldn’t compete with the likes of Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, or Jeb Bush on the basis of his political standing or following. The politics of outrage was his edge, and the press became his dependable if unwitting ally. Ref

Further, Republicans see the press as liberal:

[Journalists] are not in the business of sifting out candidates on the basis of their competency and platforms. They are in the business of finding good stories. Donald Trump was the mother lode. During the invisible primary, the press gave him what every candidate seeks — reams of coverage. In his case, even the media’s attacks were a boon. Many Republicans dislike the press enough that its attacks on one of their own are nearly a seal of approval.

A Word on Fear

“Clinton wants to let radical Islamic terrorists to pour into our country. They enslave women, and they murder gays.” Ref

The glaringly obvious element of this quote is fear. Hatred holds the hand of fear. With triumphant posturing, Trump would have the American people believe that he has enough hate in him that he is best able to “protect” us, and that Hillary is a sad, distant second in her level of hatred, and therefore, in her ability to protect us.

Most recently Trump has outright accused President Obama of supporting terrorist groups. It appears as though his pro-hatred experiment has reached new heights…or new lows.

Fear is always conveniently directed outward (well, almost always), yet the problem really lies within. Fear and hatred are not sane ways to deal with fear and hatred. Clarity, intelligence, insight, strategy…all of these human capacities are greatly diminished or even wiped out in the presence of fear and hatred. Trump is Mister Hate. One wonders if even he is aware of the extent of the damage for which he is responsible.

This Time is Unique

Not just anyone can pull off what Trump has, and not at just any ole’ time. Obama fired up the vehemence of present-day Trump supporters just by being black and having an Arab name. I repeat: just by being black, and having an Arab name. That by itself tells us something about the power of fear and hatred.

Granted, some of us liberals might be suspicious of a character like Trump just because he’s a white, rich, American male, but if so, we can and should own that prejudice. We might say, “Well, it’s justified, just look at the world!” This is exactly and precisely the very same simpleton mindset that is going on in the heads of those who support Trump: “Well, it’s justified, just look at Florida!” Or 9/11, or Paris, or whatever else the mind can pull up in support of an opinion. The minds of the Trump supporters operate in exactly the same way as the liberal mind, but with a different agenda, and a different worldview.

A Unique Opportunity

Hatred and fear are not critical thinking–directed at Muslims or directed at Trump. Hatred and fear are easy, or shall we say, lazy. And the planet is in such dire straights that we can’t afford easy and lazy anymore.

Every little bit of hatred in which you take part has consequences, as in the straw and the camel’s back. If you’re on the phone with you mother and she says, “God, I hate Trump! He’s such an ass!” and you say, “Yeah!” you’ve just added a straw. You’ve just engaged with the forces of “closed, emotionally suspicious, mentally dogmatic, harsh, hating.” So stop it or you’ll get us in trouble.

On the other hand, if after (or ideally, before) spouting off you can take a breath and remember to come home to yourself, or even your Self, then perhaps there might be a moment of opening, of feeling your body, of coming out with a thoughtful response, of empathizing with the fear in your mother’s voice but also loving the world enough to take back your negativity and turn it into positive action. That might include participating in a rally with a life-affirming message (which might include what Eckhart Tolle calls a “high quality ‘no'” directed at Donald Trump’s agenda), lobbying the DNC, elected officials, or friends and family to support a progressive Democratic or Green agenda, and more simply, a commitment to peace within.

As stated by the husband of slain British lawmaker Jo Cox about what he feels his dead wife would wish,

She would have wanted two things above all else to happen now, one that our precious children are bathed in love and two, that we all unite to fight against the hatred that killed her. Hate doesn’t have a creed, race or religion, it is poisonous. Ref

The fate of the world is in your hands.

Specific Opportunities

Register to Vote

DNC: Support Bernie Sanders’ progressive agenda

Eckhart Tolle, Marcus Aurelius: Shrug It Off

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