Yesterday my brother called.
We shared a text conversation earlier in the day. He sent me a quote from Sufjan Stevens.
It started like this:
There really is no such thing as an illegal immigrant, for we are all immigrants and refugees in a wildly changing world that is dominated by superfluous boundaries built by blood and war. We all come from somewhere else. The truest of “Americans” have either been destroyed by the white immigrant, incarcerated, isolated, held captive, or stolen and enslaved.
Read the rest here.
I thanked him for sharing. It was a cool quote. And it even referred to Jesus (turning the other cheek, loving enemies, etc.) and also to prayer. The quote itself embodies my own politics. Even though I don’t believe in a deified Jesus. I value my root understanding of him and who he was as a radical mind.
It drives me nuts that Jesus was clear about how to act and do in the world. And yet, no Evangelical would ever actually have enough faith that behaving like him would be the best option in the world. You can’t stop terror or enemies by turning the other cheek, offering up your last article of clothing, paying for someone else’s medical bills, etc etc etc.
Wait, can you? Why did he teach that stuff? What was his point?
One time, a wise evangelical explained this outright (“You can’t be friends with Muslims. You must fight. You must go to war.” I nodded my head at the time in utter confusion. I’ve always been down on myself for not saying, “Are you sure?”
Realistically or maybe practically, you’re digging your own grave or expecting a good hurtin’ if you act like Jesus acted. That’s why he said, “Turn the other cheek.” That means, “If they hurt you once, offer them another body part to hurt.” If anyone did act like Jesus, Christianity would go extinct in a jicama heartbeat. No no no. Jesus’s commandments weren’t “commands” but recommendations if not a nice story or two to pass the time on a Sunday morning between cinnamon buns and a big lunch.
Later in the day, I text my brother:
With all that’s going on in the world, I’m seriously considering looking for a new therapist or maybe going back to one I used to go to. I’m finding that i’m obsessing over it.
My brother text me back a few hours later and wrote:
Sorry, just saw this. Sorry to hear about the therapist…I’m gonna call you!
He called almost immediately and wanted to chat about the therapist thing. I think he thought my situation was much more dire. “Sorry about this …” Like I was living on the brink of brain explosive, skyscraper jumping, madness.
I don’t have a negative view of therapy. It’s positive. Therapy is a good thing. It took me over half my total 41 years to arrive at this conclusion. And when I finally did, holy shit, it was life changing.
When I was growing up, I was taught therapy was negative. Jesus is the wonderful counselor, prince of peace and all that shit. But you can talk to Jesus all day long, and he’s not going to help guide a more thoughtful way of approach through two-way discussion, focused listening and guided meditation. He’s just going to, wait, he’s not going to do a fucking thing. Unless you describe to him abandonment issues and then you call opening your bible and reading about the time he walked on water or recommended the Israelites bash babies heads on rocks as the best thing you can try to alleviate this kind of pain.
My point was that I just need to talk to a professional listener for an hour a week.
What’s going on in the world is definitely affecting me. And it’s why you’re seeing more activity here on this blog. I need to raise my voice, if only for the few of you who may be stopping by.
It’s not just Trump. And it’s not just America. It’s world events. It’s the shooting in Quebec. It’s terror. It’s earthquakes, tornadoes and hurricanes.
Whenever a mass something happens, I find myself pressing refresh on newsfeeds. It’s a 9/11 complex. And there’s so much 9/11-y type shit happening right now that I can’t stop clicking refresh.
I don’t watch TV News. I haven’t for eons. Visually, the redundancy is cataclysmic and it’s wrong. To listen to talking heads or to pundits is, quite possibly, the worst thing anyone can do for their brains.
I am a fan of NPR. No yelling. No screaming. Not a lot of out-of-control pundits. It’s not visual. It’s all aural. Once in a while I’ll find myself turning on a TV so I can see some visual that I can’t imagine.
My brother tried to console me a bit by repeating what some conservatives are repeating, which is: “Why not give Trump a chance? It’s only been a week, for pete’s sake!”
To that I say, “I’m strapped in. I’m doing my best to ride this tidal wave!”
My problem is I’ve read the 140 characters that emit from his fucked-up brain as they arrive on the twitter feeds. Way before that, I listened to him devalue the patriotism of John McCain. That alone should have disqualified any man from becoming a leader this country let alone a contender. I listened to him talk about assaulting women. I watched him make fun of a handicapped journalist.
I’ve even given credence to watching videos showing Trump making that same gesture when talking about so-called non-handicapped people, like Ted Cruz. Let me tell you, I’m not convinced. And even if Trump wasn’t making fun of Serge Kovaleski, stack the offensive behavior atop his inaugural speech atop his megalomaniacal obsession with deceiving the American public (e.g. inaugural crowd, alt facts, his own greatness, his executive orders, etc.), and we have a great case against a piece of shit of a man.
My approach is hardly ever going to be one of forgiveness and acceptance for his appalling behavior during the first 8 days of his unprecedented bizarreness that is his presidency.
As I’ve written on this blog, I was taught that leaders lead via strength of character, excellence in behavior, truth in perspective, focus from distraction, integrity, stoicism, authenticity, and accountability.
They should have a strong moral character. I can’t find these qualities in Donald Trump. It makes it really hard not to criticize him. But I’m listening. I’m watching. And I’m doing my best to be patient.
Okay. That sound means my hour is up. Thanks for letting me sit on your couch. See you next week.