Blessed are the peacemakers
By now you’ve probably seen the clip of the President at a rally, calling CNN “those b-s-a-ds.”
I’ll give Donald Trump his due as Halloween approaches; his bag of tricks — treats for his followers — never empties. Nor does it lose its potential to harrow me.
“How dare you call CNN such a name?” I screamed at the television. “You’re the one bastardizing your office!”
Once again, I blew my daily prayer, “Please, Lord, cloak me with grace” (prayer courtesy of writer, speaker Caroline Myss).
Long before I read Mary Trump’s biography of her uncle, I recognized DT was a broken being. So did half the nation. We could sense what was coming. As any amateur psychologist knows, broken beings wreak brokenness.
But I’m not here to bash our President. I’m here to confess that I’m losing the battle NOT to bash his supporters.
Let’s start with my friend Wanda (name changed). With a wave of her mystic’s wand, Wanda sparked my spiritual journey. Her soul lit my way.
Actually, let me edit that. Her pseudo soul lit my way. This gal supports Trump. Wanda replied to an email cataloging DT’s lies.
I am heartbroken, baffled, stunned. How can someone steeped like a teabag in the cupped hands of Jesus, Buddha, Teresa of Avila and Rumi vote for a man who name-calls, treats women and people of color with disdain, and brags about his ability to shoot someone without losing one supporter?
Then there’s Santa. Not St. Nick, but my friend whom nuns describe as “more Catholic than the Pope.” Santa’s training for a marathon of saintliness. Yet she voted for Trump and responds to few political emails; she “must focus” on her spiritual path. Will Santa’s journey lead her to embrace the Lincoln Project? I’m not hopeful.
And let’s not omit the crusading Christians in a cast iron box — my evangelical pals. “We try not to confuse personality with policy,” they explain.
Guys, at some point, shouldn’t personality trump policy?
At least my secular pro-Trump pals aren’t blaspheming their faith. They’re worshipping it — their idolatry of the buck, what’s theirs, their fear of others and change.
However, with all of them — Wanda, Santa, crusading Christians and secularists — I keep my mouth shut.
“My religion is kindness,” says the Dalai Lama. If I speak, fire-breathing toads may hop out.
I am doing my best, Jesus, to be a peacekeeper.
Yet Gandhi wrote, “Silence becomes cowardice when occasion demands speaking out the whole truth and acting accordingly.”
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter,” Martin Luther King added.
How do I balance feeling I must speak my piece with keeping the peace? Obviously, I must be polite. Willing to listen. Open.
“Hey,” I texted a conservative pal. “I really like what Mitt Romney said.”
The text had scarcely registered “delivered” than a reply came back. “Romney’s a dweeb and a coward.”
I sent a sad face emoji. Then I turned to my partner: That man is no longer welcome in our home.
Gandhi, MLK, forgive me. I’m not ready for the big leagues. I need to keep the peace within myself.
I could try walking in the shoes of some fellow progressives — unfriending friends and icing out family members. I could play jury and find them guilty then, as judge, sentence them to Siberia.
However, you are reading the words of a woman who stuck by a friend who encouraged her to hire his son to do handy work without telling her, the mother of two young children, that his son was a convicted pedophile.
I have trouble letting go.
Yes, I’m back to texting The Heinous Romney Hater.
I’m compromising. I proudly pull on my Kamala tee shirt — not to spit in the face of friends who dissent (or worse) but to spark discussion.
Talking points never include how spiritually bankrupt I find the other side. I have punted this to the divine.
Who reminds me: “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:5).
Ouch, that h-word hurts. Please let me not be what I condemn DT for being. And isn’t it ironic? Plank-removing may well be what Santa the Saint is attempting.
Also, what better opportunity will there ever be to practice nondual thinking than this polarized political season? I can be disappointed in others and, at the same time, love them. I can despair yet have hope. I can let go as I persevere.
It’s not us vs. them. It’s not us or them. It’s us and them.
We’re all one. Each of us, Democrat or Republican, a wave in an ocean of love.
Jenine Baines is a retired arts publicist who now focuses on ‘publicizing’ the wondrous, beautiful and inspiring spiritual works of art in the world. Email 600- to 700-word articles on all aspects of inner peace to Sally McKirgan at firstname.lastname@example.org.