“Never forget that ‘justice’ is what love looks like in public.” Cornell West
These are perilous times. I, like many of you, have spent much of my life “trying to make the world a better place”, and as such, it is very hard not to feel like a complete failure (This is not a plea for sympathy or a solicitation for ego-boosting support – just a fact of life these days). Donald Trump’s extreme narcissism, self-aggrandizement and complete disregard for the truth have not only put our nation and the world at grave risk; his unique compilation of sociopathic traits has made him almost impervious to those who would hold him to account.
Of late, Trump has ramped up his very public demonization of Democrats, liberals and media figures trying to hold his feet to the fire. Building on a narrative that has been growing within both conservative Christian circles and extreme right media and websites for some years now, he regularly attacks those who challenge him as traitors, spies, savages, anti-religious, anti-American and more. Most recently, he charged that the impeachment inquiry is a “…coup intended to take away the power of the people, their vote, their freedoms, their Second Amendment, religion, military, border wall and their God-given rights as a citizen of the United States of America!”
In other words, we Democrats – or progressives, or those fighting for social and economic justice, etc – are enemies, not just of Trump, but of America, of everyday people, including our neighbors. All the more so for those of us who are not white. Trump increasingly incites violence, and he may well succeed.
I have no brilliant ideas about what to do or how to break through such a cascade of lies and tidal wave of hatred. But I do know this: Our world view, our ethics and our everyday work is founded in love, and in the pursuit of a more just, fair and sustainable world, not just for our family, friends and allies, but for our neighbors near and far, including those who vilify us. Because we know that justice is the public expression of love.
As we work and support efforts to hold Donald Trump and his rapacious administration to account, let’s stay focused on at least these two things: First, the local and state elections now less than five weeks away, elections that will help determine if we begin to move our communities, state and nation towards a new economic and political path, based on love, empathy and justice. That’s a very long-term challenge, but each election either moves us closer to or further from that goal.
Second, let’s fully use the opportunities we hold every day to work towards a better world, not just as individuals, but through collective action to make our communities better, healthier, more resilient, and yes, more loving. We may shake our heads about the loyalty towards Trump, no matter what he does; we may be incredulous about the right wing media’s complete inversion of the truth. But we can’t deny that millions of our fellow citizens are angry for real reasons. The only path I see forward is a relentless commitment to empathy, truth and community. Hang in there, friends and please redouble your work for justice.