Thursday, January 19, 2017


I'm with John Lewis. I plan to boycott the Tr*mp inaugural. Not in the flesh, of course, but at least on television. I'll not watch it. I'm in agreement with the Congressman that the Tr*mp presidency is not legitimate. There are just too many indications that the election was not "free and fair." There is, just this morning, this story in the New York Times. In itself, perhaps, it would not be troublesome; but replicated likely many times by mischief-makers on the Internet both here and abroad, it suggests that fake news stories played a big part in the eventual result. Then there's the Russian intervention, by now beyond doubt.

Most disturbing to me is the part played by sheer ill will in the election. The Tr*mp team and the "President-elect" himself--sadly, this is likely the last time I'm able to use that term--whipped up so much hatred, not only directed against his opponent in the national election but also against the media, his rivals on the Republican side, indeed against anyone who dared oppose, or even criticize him. Throughout, he encouraged his supporters to indulge the worst of their primal instincts, and managed to generate a swelling flood of ill will on both sides--those who opposed as well as those who supported him. The anger and mistrust is everywhere.

Since his election, Tr*mp has done nothing to stanch that flood. No olive branch to those who disagree with him, despite numerous opportunities. Instead, he seems to have gone out of his way to engage in impetuous and petty acts of spite. Where he could easily have engendered some goodwill from opponents, he has--perhaps thoughtlessly, perhaps intentionally--provoked them further with his words and actions. He does not make it easy for any of us to modify our opinion of him, to "give him the chance" his acolytes have been pleading for, let alone to like him. He seems to enjoy the act of being ill will personified.

But we emulate him at grave cost to ourselves. My meditation group met for a sit last night, and I opened up the session with the invitation to join me in taking a close look at the ill will this man has provoked in our own minds. It will serve us better now if we manage to develop strategies to convert that feeling--no matter how righteous!--into its opposite: goodwill. To return ill will for ill will is to participate precisely in what we deplore. Which does not mean capitulating, condoning, or excusing. It does not mean suspending judgment. It does not mean sitting by and allowing ourselves to be steamrollered by untruths and injustice. It means rather to avoid being sucked into the vortex of ill will that Tr*mp has created. It may feel uncomfortable, even wrong, but it will not hurt us to send compassion out to one who shows so little of it. And who knows, it might rub off on him. It will certainly be better for our own peace of mind, which is something worth preserving.

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