Thursday, November 9, 2017


It's clear to me that Donald Trump is a weak man. The truly strong man has no need to constantly assert his strength, whether in words, in physical bluster, or in displays of dominance. True strength emanates quietly from within. It is unmistakeable, and cannot be faked. It is not, of course, the sole property of men, though some would like to have it that way.

The same rules apply to a country as to individuals. Our country is in a weakened position, thanks to the president's unseemly threats and bluster. It is at the cost of our strong leadership in the world that he withdraws from pacts on climate change, nuclear agreements and trade. If strength is in integrity, and integrity is a matter of being true to one's word, our strength as a nation has been squandered by a man who does not begin to understand that lasting truth.

This man, though--let's be honest--is a reflection of ourselves. Much though I'd want to dissociate myself from this truth, "we" chose him to be the leader of our country. The rot in his soul is the rot in our own; his venality, his greed, his disrespect, his discourtesy, his elevation of money as the sole mark of success are not inconsistent with the values our society has come to embrace. Our political paralysis is evidence of our lack of care for each other. We are weakened, ironically, by the excess that results from our founding strength: the right of the individual.

The candidate we rejected just last year was right: we would have been "stronger together." Instead, we opted for division.

So now we are divided, and weakened by that division. Once lost, strength is not easy to restore. Sadly, but perhaps inevitably in the long view of human history, America risks sacrificing its pre-eminence among nations. If we wish to "make America great again," we must all work to reconnect with our own integrity.

It's not that we have completely forgotten how to care for each other. The recent response of communities to disasters--both natural and man-made--offer ample evidence that Americans will rise to the occasion. If only we could learn to manifest that compassion and that sense of shared responsibility unmotivated by disaster! Therein, in my opinion, lies the possibility to regain our strength.

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