Distractions Notwithstanding; and, Committing to What Matters
I’ve read fairy tales with more facts in them than were to be found in the Pretender-in-Chief’s commencement speech at West Point yesterday. It’s a wonder the man doesn’t die of embarrassment. As reported, “[I]t was a visual that a president campaigning for re-election would surely cherish.”
“Mr. Trump’s suggestion that the military was ‘depleted’ when he entered office and had seldom received such a large amount of money is wrong.”
“While the Islamic State has been pushed out of its so-called caliphate, the extremist group continues to carry out attacks. And some of the territorial gains made by American troops and their allies predate the Trump administration.”
“Mr. Trump campaigned on a promise to end wars in the Middle East but has yet to fulfill this promise.”
West Point was a distraction.
The Defunder-in-Chief — you’d think the money was his personally — continues to threaten to defund the World Health Organization whilst depending heavily upon their recommendations for how to manage The Trump Pandemic.
“While the group has certainly made mistakes in its response to the coronavirus pandemic, those mistakes are a far cry from the dark and deliberate obfuscations that the administration has accused it of.”
Threatening, blaming, and defunding the W.H.O. is a distraction.
In “Call Off the Dogs, Mr. Trump,” Clive D. L. Wynne, a professor of psychology at Arizona State University, writes, “When President Trump tweeted late last month that the Secret Service was prepared to sic ‘the most vicious dogs’ on protesters outside the White House, I was dismayed, as both a dog lover and an American citizen. … Mr. Trump, however, wasn’t praising the highly trained dogs that save lives and reassure communities. He was appealing to an older, darker, strain in American history. The dogs of war were never just a metaphor.” Dogs have been used for protest control for millennia.
The threat of attack dogs leveled at the peaceful protesters is an abomination, but a real one. And also, a distraction.
Contributing Opinion writer Peter Wehner weighs in. In “Trump Has Made Alternative Facts a Way of Life,” he maintains, “No president in the history of our Republic has been as disorienting as Donald Trump. His goal, even before he became president, was far more ambitious than to tell mere lies. It was to annihilate the distinction between truth and falsity, to make sure that we no longer share facts in common, to overwhelm people with misinformation and disinformation. It was to induce epistemological vertigo on a mass scale. At a fundamental level, then, the Trump presidency has been about projecting shadows on walls and asking us to believe they are real.” I might change ‘asking us’ to ‘telling us.’
Dr. Google helped me out here. “Pathological liars are lying to create a false sense of identity in which they can control. … Pathological liars demonstrate little care for others and tend to be manipulative in other aspects of their life. They lie with such conviction that at times, pathological liars can actually believe the lies they tell.”
Donald Trump is a pathological liar. I know. Ho-hum. Tell me something I don’t know.
Jamelle Bouie wrote this week, “It was this month, 162 years ago, when Abraham Lincoln accepted the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate and gave his famous ‘House Divided’ speech in Illinois. This wasn’t, as is popularly believed, a call for unity in the face of division. Just the opposite. It was an attempt to make clear the stakes of the conflict with the ‘slave power.’
“‘I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free,’ he said. ‘I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other.”
As Timothy Naftali, who teaches history at New York University and is a former director of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library said, “The city is burning, and Trump is Nero.”
This is precisely where we stand right now — all over the country, certainly, and perhaps all over the world.
Two more black men were murdered yesterday.
Rayshard Brooks was killed by a police officer in Atlanta.
Robert Fuller was found hanging from a tree in Palmdale, California.
People from coast to coast are calling for investigations, for information, for transparency.
People are, rightly, demanding the truth.
Mr. Wehner writes, “If this trend toward political and moral chaos is going to be reversed, it will be because ordinary citizens understand the cost of it and push back against it; because they grow weary of the manipulation; because they decide that living within the truth is better than living within a lie.”
Somini Sengupta writes of a new breed of protesters, “They are movement newbies. Mostly in their 20s and 30s, emerging from different corners of New York City, they call this their personal turning point. No longer, they say, could they just post on Instagram, or just give money, or just vote.”
“[They do not] belong to an established organization. They follow no particular leader. There are many leaders, they say. Some are the bicyclists who whistle and clear the path for marchers. Others lead chants. Suddenly, in a crowd of hundreds, someone else will command the group to kneel in one of the busiest intersections in Brooklyn, bringing the streets to a startling near-silence. ‘The first person who makes their presence known is the leader.’”
Quin Johnson, another young protester said, “‘I’m not an activist; It’s my first time speaking out,’ she said. ‘We’ve all been drowsy or sleeping.’”
Maureen Dowd finally got her wish to speak with “Gregg Popovich, the coach of the San Antonio Spurs and the U.S.A. Olympics basketball team. At 71, he’s an N.B.A. legend who has long called race ‘the elephant in the room’ and argued that we are all just an ‘accident of birth.’”
“He has spent 25 years in a dialogue about race with his teams.” Listen to his telling words, “‘Especially if you’re a white coach and you’re coaching a group that’s largely black, you’d better gain their trust, you’d better be genuine, you’d better understand their situation,’ he tells me. ‘You’d better understand where they grew up. Maybe there’s a black kid from a prep school. Maybe there’s another black kid who saw his first murder when he was 7 years old.’
“But in recent calls with the Spurs’ players and staff he has been amazed at the level of hurt.
‘It would bring you to tears,’ he says, his voice cracking. ‘It’s even deeper than you thought, and that’s what really made me start to think: You’re a privileged son of a bitch and you still don’t get it as much as you think you do. You gotta work harder. You gotta be more aware. You gotta be pushed and embarrassed. You’ve gotta call it out.’”
Few of us benefiting from white privilege have spent 25 years in dialogue with anyone about race. Even fewer coach professional basketball teams.
But I believe all of us, regardless of nature or nurture have the power to discern what’s important to us, how we wish to make a difference in this world, and to commit to what’s really important.
If you don’t believe me, consider these words. Mr. Wynne draws both our personal and collective attention to what matters in the same article about dogs. “Paradoxically — perhaps ironically — what makes dogs such excellent projectors of human aggression is an exceptional capacity to form strong emotional bonds — for love, if you will.”
What’s really important, Beloved, are the people with whom you have strong emotional bonds. There’s where you’ll find what really matters to you. Within. Always and forever, the first activity toward solution must be to look within.
We have seen indelibly what life looks like when we live it from the outside in. It’s a devastation, an ongoing earthquake, an endless typhoon. Living from the outside in — optics first, if you will — is what has put us all in the turmoil, the hurt, the rage.
But no one feels turmoil, hurt or rage who does not love.
Put in the sense of yes, rather than no. Everyone who hurts loves. If we didn’t love, we wouldn’t hurt. We wouldn’t care enough to hurt.
The headline of an article in this morning’s Times read, “From Cosmetics to NASCAR, Calls for Racial Justice Are Spreading;” the subtitle: “What started as a renewed push for police reform has now touched seemingly every aspect of American life.”
Of course it does. It’s systemic. It means system-wide.
I am not the only ‘content creator’ who has cited a tipping point.
Just like happened with #MeToo and sexual transgression, now it is happening with racial transgression.
Ross Douthat wrote this morning, “Trump offers only a daily lesson in how to let power go to waste.” There was an Internet-based show that ran for eight weeks called “Some Good News.” “It was a well-intended distraction, but it was, as with so much else, insufficient to the circumstance.” None of Mr. Trump’s distractions are well-intentioned.
#BlackLivesMatter is thoroughly well-intentioned and long overdue. It is not insufficient to the circumstance. It’s entirely on point. and this moment of recognition of what we white privileged have allowed to go unremarked is a chance to offer a daily lesson in how to let power be used for positive change.
Thomas L. Friedman observed recently, “Lately, however, polarization has become so tribal that compromise is impossible and the system has frozen into a veto machine, the political scientist Frank Fukuyama observed. So, we can’t do anything big or hard — or together — anymore.”
Really? I beg to differ. We are beginning to do something big, hard, and together. Begin within, Beloved. If Black lives matter to you, dig into your heart and find the love that applies. Then take the power of that love, bless it, and hand it out as freely as the dogs we love love us.
Dr. Susan Corso is a metaphysician and medical intuitive with a private counseling practice for more than 35 years. She has written too many books to list here. Her website is www.susancorso.com
© Dr. Susan Corso 2020 All rights reserved.