I spent the morning walk contemplating my interview last week with the Canadian host of Books 4 A Better Life, Camden McInnis (webcast). During the conversation the topic strayed to the elections in the USA. He asked my opinion of the election and candidates. I indicated my misgivings about the both candidates and the election – but I am most disheartened, and not surprised, by the many millions of residents who are angry and fearful.
One candidate represents the establishment and status quo. With Congress being in session only 110 days in 2016 (30% of the year), an unfilled Supreme Court position (effectively leaving the most relevant issues of our time left undecided), government listening to conversations without cause, email providers allowing the scanning of private correspondence, failing infrustructure, tax-evading corporations and billionaires – it’s no wonder people want to ‘blow up the system’.
Another candidate thrives on sowing the seeds of fear and discontent. A man who reaches into the hearts of his followers and finds that dark, wounded spot and brings it forward for all to see. A man who sees nothing wrong with firing insults and demeaning comments to major sections of the populace. A man who spreads fear because he is fearful. Take away the money and fame and this man would soon realize that he wouldn’t be a blip on the radar of humanity. It is easy to see why so many follow him and overlook his heartless comments and beliefs. The wounds of many are real. Loss of jobs, loss of security, loss of peace of mind. I know the chance of winning the lottery is slim, but it provides hope and possibility of change for the better. Many probably feel there is a slim chance this candidate can make things better in their lives, but a slim chance is better than none. The fear, too, is real. If you see a system that has brought forth your loss, and see no possibility of change, you can foresee a spiral downward. If you are told through the barrage of media reports that there is much to fear – then surely there is a good reason for this. If you are told to fear someone who is different, maybe friends or neighbors, then you’d better be afraid. After all, I’ve seen many reports of terrorists who have flown under the radar of their friends and neighbors.
Both candidates have trust issues … dare I say .. the whole country has trust issues. The lack of trust in our structures, of our system of government, of our elected officials, and ultimately lack of trust in ourselves. Yes, the structure of our beliefs need to be rebuilt and systems updated to work in a new paradigm. One that allows for flexibility, creativity and innovation. One that recognizes that instant global communication is a reality. Clandestine, nefarious activities will be exposed. Openness and honesty is what leads to trust.
Where is the rainbow after this storm? It is within each of us, individually and collectively. It is recognizing that what we have been doing isn’t working. It is recognizing big, important shifts need to occur both within ourselves and our nation. It is healing our wounded heart and becoming more compassionate with our friends and neighbors. It is to reject fear and instead, embrace change and have courage to face the unknown. The beauty of the conflict we are now witnessing is that it makes clear we are not alone in our struggles and we should not feel alone in resolving the challenges we face.