Does the existence of a self-centered, dishonest, and uncouth President bring me clarity?
During the past 18 months of daily emotional upheaval and moral decay, I’ve slowly become numb to gross violations of human rights and international agreements. Child separation seems to be the norm, and I display a defeated sense of apathy.
How can I change a mad man? How can I overpower an entire federal agency that is trying to gut its own purpose? (Yes EPA, I’m talkin about you. The exile of Scott Pruitt has not stopped you from destroying the home of America’s original inhabitants – animals, plants, and American Indian natives.) How can I explain to my black friend’s baby that he lives in a time where people hate him for the color of his skin, in an age where Stephon Clark was murdered by police right here in Sacramento for no apparent reason except for being a black man?
The outrageousness of this time is exhausting. Yet it is also cathartic.
I now realize that the outcomes of low-income people are just as, if not more, important than my own. I desire to build partnerships with people who are willing to fight for equality in access to education, employment opportunities, healthcare, housing….and equal access to serenity and a life of peace. I want to be surrounded by brothers and sisters who can recognize the immorality of our current politics and can offer help in making a change.
Change needs to occur internally first. What I think affects what I believe which affects my actions. Sometimes compassion needs to be factored into those initial thoughts. I have received compassion on countless occasions and it’s my duty to pay that forward. The Dalai Lama once said, “Compassion and tolerance are not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength.”
These realizations flood me as a wave of enlightening thoughts. Now more than ever I want to be closer to my family – sister, parents and dog – and my Indian culture, like those chewy, slightly spicy thikhi bhakri that comfort the soul. In this horrible age of public policy upheaval and racism, I want to avoid Trump supporters and surround myself with loved ones and friends. Maybe loving-kindness meditation is necessary to show compassion to people who have turned fear into hate.
I used to believe my purpose was to lead a feminist lifestyle with complete financial independence. A life in which career trumps love, and I could make a difference for millions through my work in health care policy. I thought my stubborn protests and arguments against my father would change his traditional, at times backward, outlook. The Time of Trump has taught me that no single person can create positive changes overnight, and wasting energy on hostile arguments isn’t a solution. Real, everlasting change occurs when one builds loving sustainable relationships over an extended period of time. According to John Lewis, a politician with firsthand experience from the Civil Rights movement, “Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime.”
National policies can drastically differ with each administration but the real work begins on the ground at the grassroots level. And those who don’t understand the dirt beneath the grass can never truly create informed public policies. (Yes Betsy DeVos, I am specifically referring to you here!)
In the Era of Trump, I recognize I need a partner who shares similar values to me. Someone who has led a life of serving others with compassion, whether in the dirt or through small everyday exchanges. Someone I respect because of his thoughts, beliefs, and actions.
In the Time of Trump, I reflect on past relationships as if looking at the red-orange sun from a sky blackened by wildfire smoke. Each love taught me new things. Each love shaped who I am. Those experiences were crucial to my journey and indirectly nudged me to find a love where I feel at peace.
The Age of Trump has unearthed my expansive heart and my infinite capacity of loving others. It’s time I actually emphasize love, being loved, providing love to those around me, and being of service to family and friends without focusing solely on my career path. Maybe this love can create a small ripple of compassion that softens the extremely polarized mindsets of our nation’s people.
I have discovered Love in the Time of Trump. Love for my life and everything in it. Thank you to the current President for somehow providing me with this enlightenment. 🙂