Some thoughts on the election of Trump to the US Presidency.
Although I prefer to keep my political rants to my FB and twitter, and off of this blog, I am aware that the majority of readers of this blog are people who found the result of the United States presidential election very distressing.
Well, when I say “distressing”, I mean that some of you told me that you are are terrified of being targeted for violent hate crimes. I think it would be cold and uncaring of me to say nothing about the fear and anger many of you are feeling. And some of my own creative projects, like the RPG based on my novels, now feel rather frivolous.
Yet I’m somewhat at a loss to know what to say. I have the distinct advantage of living in Canada, and of being a straight white male, so perhaps I can only incompletely imagine what some of you are feeling, and what some of you might be about to endure.
So, I hope it is not too pretentious of me to say something like this. For many years now, I’ve been writing and publishing books about The Call of the Immensity, an ethics-grounded spiritual path which I discovered while living in Ireland, and which acknowledges the moral importance of the limnal frontiers of things, the in-between places of the world and of the mind: places like the edges of the earth, and the faces of other people, and loneliness, and death. My task, our task, is to respond to these frontiers with heroic and rational virtues like wonder, integrity, and humanity, so to build a worthwhile and meaningful life for ourselves and everyone whose lives overlap with our own. We rise to the call when we affirm the essential basic goodness of all humanity.
Yet for a great many good and beautiful people like yourselves, this affirmation is about to be put to a radical test. I know that a lot of people are angry and that they have very good reasons to be angry. We will get through this if we are better people than those who would hate and harm us. That doesn’t necessarily mean quelling your anger, if that’s what you’re feeling right now. But it does mean preserving your sense of wonder, integrity, and humanity. And even then, we won’t all get through this, just as not everyone survived other times in history when it seemed the monsters were winning. Such is the tragic nature of human life. And it breaks my heart.
Still, it is always better to be rational, caring, and intelligently optimistic, than to be vengeful or despairing. It is always possible to see something in the world that offers hope; that is a moral postulate as much as it is a statement of fact. At the fall of darkness, Minerva’s Owl takes flight. With each other’s help and encouragement, we can demonstrate by example that there are always more and better ways to be human. And in so doing, we can craft worthwhile lives for each other.
We can all do that much, if nothing else.
Good luck, everyone.