The Battle We Face
Two very different blog posts that I came across on my Facebook newsfeed last week discuss the painful truth about the choice we face in this presidential election. It is a fundamental truth that is deeper than political party or ideology. It is that most basic human choice; indeed, the duality of human nature: Good versus Evil, Sanity versus Madness, Freedom versus Tyranny, Order versus Chaos. This duality has played out throughout human history, in every war, every era, every triumph and every shame we have ever endured. Today this duality plays out in the presidential battle of Hillary versus Trump.
The first post, dated July 18, 2016 and written by a young Black blogger, Artist Marc Henry Lazarre, discusses the implications of this choice from a personal, yet historical perspective. With his permission, the full text of his post follows.
“The Only Thing Necessary for the Triumph of Evil is for Good Men to do Nothing.” – Edmund Burke
This quote is one of the prevailing thoughts that jockey for position in my subconscious mind as I wade through a World swiftly approaching its tipping point.
As the World spins at a terrifying tilt. Seemingly off its true Axis. I’m often left to ponder….What Happened??
The last month has been full of carnage, violence and despair. We have been inundated with negative imagery at every turn; compounded with a steady stream of vitriol that will leave its Stench and Stain long after the dust has settled.
Make no mistake. Alliances have been exposed. Lines in the sand have been drawn. America is at a Crossroads. America is Vulnerable.
Why can’t we as a Society seem to get it right? Why is it so hard to see each other as Equals? As People? As fellow Human Beings?
We love to Posture and believe that our level of Consciousness and Self Awareness is the highest that’s its even been since the creation of Man. That we won’t make the same mistakes as our Prehistoric Predecessors.
But Nothing is New Under the Sun.
History repeats itself.
And we Seem Oblivious or Powerless to Stop it.
The last few weeks have been a staggering insight into the mindset of many living in this country. The utter lack of compassion…the lack of understanding….and the indifference to bridging the gap has been appalling.
But not surprising.
The emergence of social media has brought to light many ugly truths that have been festering in the darkness for decades. In turn, the media has used these measures to fuel the flames of Hate to unprecedented levels rather than use their power in a Constructive manner.
As I look at what America has become. I contemplate and brace myself for the downfall of a once great nation. If we look over the course of History, every great nation started to crumble from within.
The German Reich. The Soviet Union. The Roman Empire. All Great Super Powers. All no more. What makes us any different?
Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised. Man has always had an underlying blood lust. An urge to conquer and gain the upper hand on each other.
True Equality seems to be a Utopian environment only fit for story books and ancient lore. When has it every truly existed? There have been times of peace..but there has always been that underlying tension…just beneath the surface.
We say we want Peace? But yet we furnish the flames of Hate and Bigotry and sow the seeds of an impending Rebellion. History shows Us when the disenfranchised and misunderstood feel oppressed for prolonged periods of time…retaliation ensures.
It’s an Uncomfortable Truth that few want to acknowledge.
But it’s there. Waiting in the Darkness. Commiserating in the Shadows.
It’s like watching a Movie that you already know the ending. Reading a book, but you already know what’s going to happen.
We Preach Peace. Tolerance. Brotherhood. Non Violence. But we take measures to the contrary. Isn’t that why we have the nuclear arms race? Isn’t that why we have a Military?
Because in our Heart of Hearts. We know that “talking” and all the other peaceful excursions we may explore…. will only work for but so long. And at the end of the day…Violence is the only true thing that Man acknowledges? Or will Acquiesce to..if but for a Moment?
Maybe it’s a defect in our Hardware? A Glitch in our Circuitry?
Maybe we only get outraged when it’s our child that gets killed?
Maybe it’s The Natural Rhythm of our Existence?
Nations Rise. Nations Fall. I just wonder…when each Great Nation was crumbling…did some of them wonder….
– Marc Henry Lazarre
I could not have said it better, myself.
The second post, by Deepak Chopra, MD, FACP (https://www.deepakchopra.com/blog/article/5608?sso_code=eyJpdiI6IjVhQ3NtUkJzMmZDTERoNGJTN0ZBVnc9PSIsInZhbHVlIjoiU2oxSVN4VWJzcUZLY1VwNkp5YUZJSkErZlZsdUdFdkFXYTY0MWxcL01cL1pzRVdGaENlc2VcL1g1dWFFK3RrbWxuRVVTN0lFaHJhK0tVMjZwUFYrbkRoVm02NWdPWXF4OHJEN1VHRG5cL1pUbGlVPSIsIm1hYyI6ImE0YmViOTlkNDU2NGU5NWRhNTU3OTlhZjgyZGY3N2E2OTYxOGNlYmMzZTczZTQwZjZlNzk3ZTMxZTY3ZDA1ZmQifQ%3D%3D), published earlier this year, dissects the psychopathology of the Trump candidacy in both clinical and humanistic terms.
Dr. Chopra begins this way:
“…in reality Trump isn’t bizarre or anomalous. He stands for something universal, something right before our eyes. It’s an aspect of the human psyche that we feel embarrassed and ashamed of, which makes it our collective secret. Going back a century in the field of depth psychology, the secret side of human nature acquired a special name: the shadow.
The shadow compounds all the dark impulses–hatred, aggression, sadism, selfishness, jealousy, resentment, sexual transgression–that are hidden out of sight. The name originated with Carl Jung, but its basic origin came from Freud’s insight that our psyches are dualistic, sharply divided between the conscious and unconscious. The rise of civilization is a tribute to how well we obey our conscious mind and suppress our unconscious side. But what hides in the shadows will out.
When it does, societies that look well-ordered and rational, fair and just, cultured and refined, suddenly erupt in horrible displays of everything they are not about: violence, prejudice, chaos, and ungovernable irrationality. In fact, the tragic irony is that the worst eruptions of the shadow occur in societies that on the surface have the least to worry about. This explains why all of Europe, at the height of settled, civilized behavior, threw itself into the inferno of World War I.”
This “shadow” has most certainly come to the fore during the past eight years of the remarkable presidency of Barack Obama. Notwithstanding his accomplishment of becoming the first Black president of the United States, the conditions under which he ascended to office—a worldwide economic downturn reminiscent of the Great Depression of the 1920s and ‘30s, social and political unrest, wars, and terrorism—were certainly signs of the “shadow” emerging. But the “shadow” of our times truly began to emerge when the Republican Party secretly met to derail Obama’s presidency, even threatening to restrict him to one term of leadership. And while all that is good and sane in our country prevailed to give President Obama eight years in office, rather than four, the “shadow” was singularly unleashed in the person of Donald J. Trump.
Dr. Chopra further states:
“When the shadow breaks out, what’s wrong is right. Being transgressive feels like a relief, because suddenly the collective psyche can gambol in forbidden fields. When Trump indulges in rampant bad behavior and at the same time says to his riotous audiences, “This is fun, isn’t it?” he’s expressing in public our ashamed impulse to stop obeying the rules.
…. Once released, it is very hard to force the shadow back into its underground bunker. The Republican party has kept the shadow on a slow simmer for decades, ever since Nixon discovered how to make hay form Southern racism, law-and-order aggression against minorities, and us-versus-them attitudes to the Vietnam anti-war movement. In order to make themselves feel unashamed, the good people on the right found figureheads after Nixon who exuded respectability. The irony is that as with civilized societies that seem the least likely to allow the shadow to run free, the more benign a Reagan or Bush acted, the stronger the shadow became behind the facade.
Trump has stripped away the facade, intoxicated by the “fun” of letting his demons run and discovering to his surprise (much as Nixon did) that millions of people roared with approval. Yet by comparison, Nixon retained relative control over the forces he unleashed, while Trump may be riding a tiger–that part of the story has yet to play itself out.
…. The present situation finds us trapped between denial and disaster. Denial is when you ignore the shadow; disaster is when you totally surrender to it. Without being at either extreme, right now many Americans feel the unsettling symptom of being out of control. Trump glorifies being out of control, and until this outbreak runs its course–which no one can predict–he will remain immune to all the normal constraints.
What to do in the meantime? A few things come to mind.
- See Trumpism for what it is, a confrontation with the shadow.
- Instead of demonizing him, acknowledge that the shadow is in everyone and always has been.
- At the same time, realize that the shadow never wins in the end.
- Find every opening to reinforce the value of returning to right and reason in your own life.
- Don’t fight the shadow with the shadow, which means not stooping to play by Trump’s nihilistic rules–he will always be willing to go lower than you are willing to go.”
Of Dr. Chopra’s five-point prescription for dealing with Donald Trump’s “shadow,” the first three are not especially reassuring to me. But I do take heart in points 4 and 5, which I would now like to restate in less heady, more practical terms.
How to Stop Donald Trump
- Get involved in this presidential election! Whether you are a Democrat or an Independent, support Hillary Clinton’s campaign in whatever way you can. Whether it’s knocking on doors, making phone calls, or helping people get registered to vote, do your part! Most importantly, on Election Day 2016, go to your local polling place and vote for Hillary!!! I especially urge my brothers and sisters of the Bernie Wing of the Democratic Party—and Independents—to Vote for Hillary Clinton.
- In the words of First of Lady Michelle Obama, “When they go low, we go high!”
Because “The Only Thing Necessary for the Triumph of Evil is for Good Men to do Nothing.” – Edmund Burke