It’s About Our Souls Now.

Well, it seems all the players have shown their cards. The truth is out and we have a choice to make.

The choice is, yes, about Trump and Hillary.  That’s not the whole issue, though. It’s a choice between hate groups and community-building groups. It’s a choice between fear and hope. It’s a choice between inclusion vs. exclusion. It’s a choice between progress or at least stability and regression. In short, it’s about the very soul of America, with no hyperbole used.

This will probably be my last post about the election, because the choices are clear and all that’s really left to do is vote. That said, I want to clarify things.

Donald Trump has made it this far saying what he means on any given day. What he has been consistent about is the overriding importance of “winning” (aka dominating) European, preferably Christian, English-heritage men, above all else. He says, “that’s who had power in the past, and who should have power in the future”.

Of course, since 1620, a lot of things have happened, and a lot of people have found freedom, or at least a theory of freedom, a goal of freedom. Trump’s goal isn’t that. It’s the opposite. Trump’s goal, Trump’s “victory” leaves out a whole bunch of people who also live in America at this time — women, men of color, women of color, Hispanics, immigrants, Muslims, Jews possibly, and people who have ever had a hard luck period in their lives.  Elevating those men, of course, means taking away the freedoms and rights of everyone else because, in their minds, there’s only so much to go around, and only they deserve it.

Here’s the interesting thing, though. Trump’s image is beyond him now, and is no longer under his control. In order to actually win the election (which he can’t do with only his constituents), he has to look like he can soften on issues. He’s hired a female campaign manager who says, “look what he’s talking about doing now, instead of then”. His campaign indicates he might soften on immigrants and “building the wall!”.

People on the far left don’t want to give Hillary a shot. Trump is not even on their radar as a choice. Nobody on the slight-left cares, because they think he’s lying.  People on the far-far right (now called the  “alt-right”?) who have come out of the woodwork — people who believe in the lie that is White Supremacy are now mad if he doesn’t keep his word. This leaves him — and, more importantly us — with two choices: he can lose and lose big, by softening his stance and having those sociopaths mad at him or he can double down on hatred and avoid the threats of those who actually believe what Trump just says.  The candidate has backed himself into a corner because, amazingly, there are always people who can hate more than you do.

We have two choices when Trump makes his choice. We can let him (and thus them) create Apartheid, Nazi Germany, Stalin and every other bully-terrorist form of government there ever was (they’re all the same) or we can choose democracy and freedom as a goal. Personally, I’m going to go with freedom. There is nothing short of an actual “come-to-Jesus” moment that will make me listen to anything else from him or them.  In about 2 months, it’ll be time to choose, and I’m going to use my freedom every day until then. And on voting day, I’m going to vote for the only candidate who has a chance of beating him.

After that, it’s just details.

Peace,

John

 

 

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The incredible cruelty of racism explains a lot.

Saw a client today who on the surface just seems to embrace every stereotype of an aggressive/violent man. I could have treated his violent tendencies through behavior modification. I could have used narrative therapy to explain that “men shouldn’t tell their wives to shut up — ever!” like they taught in grad school. I could have taken all kinds of moral high roads with the man. None of these things would get to the heart of the matter. Though his wife was White and he was… not… It became clear that somebody had called him “stupid” at some point in his life, and when she had said the word “stupid” talking about something else (not him), he had lost it.

Standard question: “who  called you stupid in your past?”, assuming the answer to be a family member. Nobody in the family. Some body at school when you were a kid? No. “Nobody saw race when I was a kid. We all knew all kinds of kids.” “So somebody — where? at work? said something about… race?”, I asked. “Yeah. Everybody did”he said,  and this very angry man described incidents of racism from 20 + years ago… and brought the list up to the present day. As he did, you could see the anger leave his body.

It turns out his child followed in his footsteps and — though he has white skin– his name badge indicates something else. His colleagues are using racial epithets around him all the time. His kid is in therapy, too, for depression.

Today, between clients, I watched a police tape of a shooting in Chicago. There must have been ten cops in the video and the driver was going very fast through an apparently suburban neighborhood. I had expected to see — as we all have now — dozens of time, cops shooting a Black guy while he lay in the street, or as he ran through a park. Turns out in the video (from a chest cam), I couldn’t see the suspect’s color.  But I saw all the other things I just described. Turns out he was Black — and they knew that. Clearly, the law was broken or some code of conduct by the police was broken or some procedure wasn’t followed. If that’s not the case, no one should ever go to Chicago.

The choices here are: 1) The police are horribly violent in Chicago with no reason or 2) The police are horribly violent in Chicago with some reason. That reason is race, according to the protestors who interrupted a police press conference.

If I put these two stories together, I get this: daily hammering away with words about who somebody is — or thoughts or actions like it– create anger and then creates rage. It happens so much that people of color assume if that many cops shot a person, that person must be Black. He is.

It’s not the riots that get to people — the odd bursts of anger here or there — it’s the day-after-day whittling away at someone because of their color or culture or looks or whatever that destroy a culture. Then we tell them not to get angry, that they’re all just making it up. White folks, at least in this area do and say stupid things all the time re: race or culture, and they don’t even notice it.

But after 24 hours a day of this, we tell them their experience isn’t true, that it’s their fault, that there’s something wrong with them, because they are angry all the time. Want to depress someone, or make them feel crazy? This is how you do it. The way out of depression (anger turned inward) is by getting angry (anger turned outward) and that’s not allowed because it’s a sign that they’re bad… and the circle goes around and around.

Put 20 depressed/angry/feeling crazy people in a place and you’re setting them up to vent their anger, now called a riot.

This must end. Justice must happen. We white folks need to change the way we think and act if we don’t want riots to happen,  our friends to die unnecessarily, and our country to implode on itself.

We need to start believing the experience of people of color. We need to grieve, because these are our sisters and brothers and our friends who are dying. We need to do something differently because what we’re doing and people of color are experiencing just isn’t right. Period.

Peace,

 

John