I take seriously the injunctions of my faith traditions to love your enemies, and “pray for those who would spitefully use you.”
It is often hard work. I have to dig deep to get beneath my own fear and anger and outrage, to try to find some thread of humanity that I am willing to join common cause with.
Looking at this picture, I see both confusion and suspicion in the narrowed but foggy gaze. Perhaps the suspicion covers a layer of sadness or fear?
I don’t know. This man is in many ways a modern day embodiment of the archetype of King Midas. That ancient King had all the money and all the power that went with it, but it ended up costing him love and all of the valuable human experiences that money cannot buy.
Midas’s story did not end happily.
I cannot speak to this man’s personal experiences, but certainly having him as leader of our country, as “leader of the free world” has led to a greater emphasis on winning at all costs and on permitting hate in the public sphere. The rest of the world holds its breath while he and the leader of North Korea trade barbed insults more typical of schoolyard bullies than world leaders, threatening the entire planet with destruction by nuclear weapons.
In many ways he embodies America’s shadow — he is the American Dream taken to its obscene extreme.
Perhaps at some point in the future we will look back on this time as one where we finally got real and let go of the old consciousness, the often violent beliefs that have held our species back.
We may come to view this time as a collective chemicalization, and once we have bubbled it all up and out, we will finally have room to begin to remember the truth that what unites us really is stronger than what divides us.
But for now we are here in this moment, peering into an unknown future. Tensions on the geopolitical scene are higher than they have been since I was in college in the early 1980s.
I pray we and all our leaders find a way to see our differences with a new understanding. I pray we may look upon one another with eyes of love and compassion, rather than suspicion or fear.