In this age of selfies, I suggest taking the one nobody wants to take. The only one that counts.
Donald Trump is driving so many of us crazy. However we want to deal with this, nothing will render results if we never address the problems at their root. If I’m having apoplectic fits about what’s happening out there, I have to start paying attention to what’s going on in here. I was enraged about the news of families separated at the border. When I took the selfie on that one, I thought, what’s going on with my own family? Are there any separations there that could do with some reunification? I don’t even know where to start with that one. That kind of reunification would take way too much work — work nobody wants to do. Much easier to show up at a Women’s March, and lunch with friends afterward, commiserating about what a dangerous racist we have at our helm and how now he’s gone too far. Much easier than doing the work of starting a real conversation with my brothers or my sister about how they are, and really listening. Listening in a way that fosters genuine, possibly long term connection. Listening for our common ground — our suffering, our joy.
Until I’m ready to do that work, I have no business pointing fingers at Donald Trump. I was sick with shame at my president playing footsie with authoritarian dictators. Yes, well who are the dictators in my own mind? What kind of dangerous alliances am I making with them? “I Know The Truth” is the worst dictator ruling over me. (The “truth” being anything I hear on the news outlet of my choice.) I don’t dare question that dictator. I’m her prisoner, and she only shows me the images, events, stories and facts that support my beliefs. But if she isn’t right, if what I ‘know’ is not the truth, then what else might I have gotten wrong? And what might that mean for me? For my worldview? For my children? That’s not safe. I can’t go there.
See how much harder it is when we turn our attention to where we could actually do the more meaningful work?
Questioned “truths” are what brought us “the world is round, not flat.” Electricity. Penicillin. Air travel. The internet. Abolition of slavery in the U.S. Women’s right to vote. Questioned “truths” are even more powerful when they’re the truths we think about ourselves and those close to use.
Take the selfie.
It’s the only thing that will yield results. Bring all your reactions back home, and deal with them on the front lines of your heart. This is where real change, both internal and worldwide, can take root and flourish.