Letter: The Trump Effect
When Trump was elected, I pulled the covers over my head and intended to stay that way for four years, or until he was impeached. I have not followed my initial plan, but I rarely watch national news, or allow Trump to speak as long as my mute button is handy. Since last November I have been suspicious that some higher purpose is involved in the apparent mistake of the election outcome. I am more and more convinced of this. In spite of the embarrassment and ongoing damage to the reputation of the U.S. that Trump creates on a daily basis, there is clearly a backlash happening in many segments of our population.
The latest incipient paradigm shift related to the treatment of those with power (most often men) of those without power (mostly women) is an example of the Trump Effect. He may not be the sole catalyst of the revolution against sexual harassment and rape, but his comments and behavior certainly act as a co-factor in the reaction that is reaching a critical mass. Suddenly the realization that women are of the same species as men is dawning on us. The notion that all humans should be treated with respect is being raised as a real possibility.
The list of facets of our dark side and ambiguities in our moral code that the Trump Effect has caused us to shine a spotlight upon grows daily. His insidious conduct displayed in living color and surround-sound reminds us and the whole human race of our history of slavery, our crimes against minorities, our prejudice against others in whatever form, our violation of Mother Earth, our obsession with firearms to the detriment of the most vulnerable among us, our greed, bigotry and lust. In his bizarre and oblivious way, by personal example, Trump is showing us our failures. I am astonished that his methods are so similar to those of Nasreddin. Is Trump the reincarnation of that "clever simpleton," the Muslim cleric of the 13th century? If so, what irony.
The constant prodding by Trump to re-examine so many of our beliefs and behaviors, requires that we decide who we are as human beings. What is important to us? Do we have a moral code? More importantly, we must look at where that code came from. Did we learn it from our parents? From our religions? Are there just and compassionate values that can be applied to all of humanity, not just to the rich and powerful, or the privileged, or those of a particular race or religion? And how do we agree on what those principles are before our behavior destroys us? These are basic, profound and difficult issues. Our current president can expose the questions, but he does not have the answers.
We have a lot of work to do to.
Judith J. Petry,
Westminster, Nov. 17
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