Woke up this morning to the news that President Donald Trump and his wife Melania has coronavirus.
And of course the internet exploded.
Your response says more about you
As with all things America, there were strong responses both ways. Ranging from wishes of a quick recovery to jokes, insults and a lot of wishing that this kills him.
Now if you are one of the people who sits there and says [or thinks] something along the lines of, “I hope this kills Trump!” then you should probably pause for a moment and think about the statement you are making. You are hoping for the death of another human being. Yes, maybe a not-too-pleasant one and maybe even one who is responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths in terms of how badly he responded to the coronavirus pandemic, but a human nonetheless.
While i was trying to process these thoughts in my head this morning, this popped in to my head: What about Hitler? Would you have wanted his death? Sho, and that becomes a tricky one, because Hitler was responsible for thousands of deaths and… OH!
But here is one of the biggest problems when it comes to T. Rump [as i unaffectionately call him!] as i see it – he is not the problem!
[sounds of heads literally exploding all over the internet and people angrily fumbling for their keyboards for a quick response – fumbling cos they have no heads, try keep up here!]
T. Rump is simply one representative [and a loud and powerful and i would suggest destructive one] of the problem.
He represents a whole lot of the people
We saw it in evidence in the debate the other night when T. Rump, instead of condemning white supremacist groups as he was asked to do, inadvertently [or possibly quite vertently!] endorsed them. By the next day, the Proud Boys, a far-right anti-immigrant group had taken T. Rump’s words “Stand back and stand by” and turned it into a slogan for their group.
T. Rump is not an isolated problem, who, when he is voted out, means that the situation in America has changed. No, he represents millions of people who think like him. Of which white supremacists are one loud and destructive group.
He may not have the majority support as far as numbers in the country are concerned, but he has enough support for us to realise that America is hugely divided and filled with a lot of bigoted angry people.
So even if he was to die from this disease, that would not mean an end to the problems in America. Anyone celebrating his death would just be a bunch of people cheering at the fact that another human being has died.
We need to be so careful in our pursuit of justice against ‘the enemy’ that we don’t arrive at a point where we glance in a mirror and see that the enemy looks a whole lot like us.
Grip tightly on to your humanity
We saw this demonstrated in perhaps an even darker way just a day ago.
Woke up yesterday to the heart-breaking news that Chrissy Teigen had suffered a miscarriage and her and John Legend had to say a painful farewell to baby Jack, which they decided to share with the world as they had her whole pregnancy.
Once again, the responses on social media were completely polarised. The majority of people responding in the most beautiful, loving and sympathetic ways. But then people who chose that intent moment of the deepest pain to make jabs about her being pro-life.
So people who claim to be all about saving babies were celebrating the loss of a baby. It was completely inhuman.
This can happen to all of us. We get so focused on an issue of Justice or Passion that in pursuing it we can let go of our own humanity, often in the way we treat others or discard them along the way.
This can happen to all of us.
What are you for?
i think another way this manifests is if we find ourselves more vocal and mobilised towards the things we are against, than those we are for.
Yes, i know you are anti-this and i know you hate that and i know that you don’t want to see this hapopening BUT WHAT ARE YOU FOR?
Tell me about the world you want to see. Speak to me about dreaming and creating and vision and hope and opportunity and let’s start working towards those things. And no, it doesn’t mean that we don’t stop interrupting and dismantling and breaking down and removing… but it means we place a greater focus on the new world we want to see that hopefully works for everyone and get more active in doing what we can to start seeing that vision materialise.
What if we spent less time arguing with the enemy and more time pulling up a table and chairs and breaking bread together and focusing on the areas we do agree on?
Yes, i’m an idealist and i don’t apologise for that, because i believe that we are all better, so much better, than our worst moment. We are so much greater than our biggest mistake and we have so much more to offer than our deepest regret. And i absolutely believe that redemption is possible for everyone.
Everyone! Even T. Rump. Although at the same time i do hold that it might be unlikely. Redemption requires recognition and acknowledgement and change.
And at the end of the day i can only be responsible for my own actions. And thoughts. And words.
So how do i work for a better world and retain my humanity in the process? And how do you?