I will never forget the feeling of despair and grief the night Trump won the presidential election. It felt like the world had come to an end. I couldn’t believe that half of our nation voted for such a narcissistic, self-serving, bombastic person to lead our nation. But now, after time to think deeper, I’m beginning to see the hope embedded in the event.
Coming To Grips With A Trump Presidency
Once the shock was over, I began to think about what his victory really meant for our nation. Like it or not, he is going to be our President for the next four years. So how and why did he win? What was I missing? What were the positive aspects of Trump’s win that I could embrace? Where was “hope” hiding in this black swan event?
(*Note: A black swan event is an unpredictable event that changes the world.)
My life as a mental health counselor and life coach has been about adding value to the lives of others. Helping people realize their dreams. Helping people create the life that they dreamed about living. What did that mean for me now… in a world, that felt so dark and unreal? If I wanted to continue living the life of meaning that I’ve struggled so hard to create, I had to find some answers to those questions. I had to find answers to those questions for myself because I couldn’t lead others out of the darkness I felt… until “I” could “see” a path forward; a path of hope and possibility that I could embrace and believe in. A future that I could defend and fight for…..not a darkness I could only fight against.
It’s taken some time but here is what I have come to believe and understand since that fateful night that the world as I knew it changed! Here is where I found “hope” intertwined in an event I never imagined could happen.
You may or may not agree with all the thoughts that follow, but I find them comforting and helpful as I begin the job of moving forward and finding ways to embrace the “big changes” that Trump’s win represents. Here is a hopeful future I can work to create for myself, my family, my friends, my readers, my nation… and all the people I work with, and write for, who are struggling to believe that a better life for themselves and their families is possible. It’s my hope what follows is helpful for all of you.
Here are my thoughts… ten realities that I believe embrace hope for our nation and our personal lives in a Trump presidency.
Evolution is change. Change is a reality at the foundation of our universe. Change is the force that enables creation to happen. So resisting change, or “pushing the river” as I like to say, is not possible. It’s not difficult… it’s impossible. Everything changes! Resisting the reality of change only creates frustration, stress, pain, suffering, anxiety, a sense of powerlessness, and ultimately depression. This is especially true when the world we live in feels like it is falling into chaos and darkness.
The future is created by change, but it is important to remember there is no such thing as “the future”. It doesn’t exist! There are only “possible futures”; and those “possible futures” are not predetermined. The number of “possible” futures is essentially infinite. We need to remember the “possible” future we will experience tomorrow will be shaped by each of us personally, and by all of us collectively… one choice and one decision at a time as we wrestle with what now feels like an overwhelming dose of reality of change. Stated simply, we are responsible for the “possible future” that gets created. We will be the creators of that “possible future”.
When I look at recent history, it’s clear that big change began long before Trump won the Presidency. Change has been dismantling our worldviews, our understanding of how the world works, for decades. Technology has created a reality we couldn’t have even imagined twenty years ago. In the last ten years, social changes have transformed worldviews that have been around for centuries. The rights of women. Acceptance of homosexuality and gay marriage. The legalization of marijuana. The threat of global warming. Exponential growth in human population. Our aging population. Universal healthcare. The influx of immigrants. The threat of ISIS… to name only a few.
As I began to move out of my initial emotional responses and engage more rational thinking, I could see that “big change” has been coming and quietly transforming our world for years. With that realization, I began to see more clearly that Trump winning the election was only one more piece of evidence supporting the concept of the big change. The reality of “big change” began long before Trump came on the scene. And that realization led me to an even deeper insight.
The political battle that Trump’s election represented was not a battle between the political right and the political left. It was a battle between the worldviews of the past, and the worldviews of a “possible” new future. It was a struggle between those who fear change and those who long for change. As I pointed out in Reality #1, this election gave voice to the chaos that results whenever the worldviews of human culture (status quo worldviews that define “how the world is supposed to function”)… are challenged by the inevitable reality of change.
*Note: For those of you who follow my work, you know that the unconscious primitive ego in each of us; the childhood ego that was conditioned and created in our early childhood, tends to have a great fear of change. Until our adult consciousness intentionally awakens and becomes self-aware, most of us will continue fear and resist change. Even when the status quo is not helpful for us.
Real world events in human culture, and unanticipated black swan events like global warming in the natural world, are joining forces to encourage human culture into a new and different “possible future”. The worldviews of our nation, and our world are experiencing change at a rate that makes it all but impossible for us to avoid chaos and conflict. We are struggling with that realization that the expectations and assumptions embedded in our past/existing worldviews will no longer work. Everything we thought we knew about our economic and institutional bureaucracies like Wall Street, banks, government, politics, i.e., the “status quo”… are all examples of old worldviews evolving faster far than we can realistically or comfortably cope with the changes.
Chaos and change are the crucibles of creation. In human culture, we are the co-creators responsible for the “possible future” that’s coming. We can ignore our responsibility… but only at our peril.
Trump simply represents one more fundamental shattering of our existing political worldviews. He is appropriately challenging the existing “entitled, self-focused, elite, top-down political ruling class” that believed it, and it alone knew exactly how the world should be managed and run… for their benefit. A political elite (1%) that ignored and badly failed the middle class and the poor. At the same time, Trump is paradoxically attempting to take us back to the good old days when America was “great”… but in the process, he is not only “pushing the river”, he is undermining and attacking the very values that made our country great. He is in denial that the world that created the good old days has changed. It no longer exists.
We need to create a “possible new future”….not turn back the clock to an earlier America. He is advocating change and the need for change, but we need to sort out the wheat from the chaff in the changes that he is suggesting. Not all of his suggestions or ideas are good ones. There is significant “chaff” in his vision of the future that we will need to resist if we want to live comfortably in the “possible” future Trump represents.
Trump, like the elite, 1%, top-down ruling class he is replacing, is attempting to resist the reality of change. Like the 1% before him, he is attempting bend reality to conform to his brand of greed and his narcissistic need for power… the need to bend reality to his view of how the world “should” function. That kind of political power didn’t work out for us so well in the past, and I fail to see how it will work out well for us in the “possible future” that Trump is attempting to create. Trump will be our President, not our King. He can lead, but he cannot dictate our future. We need to remind ourselves that he does not represent the end of the world……he simply is a voice of change that feels like the end of the world because he is challenging some of our old, status quo, outmoded worldviews… worldviews that in some cases need to be abandoned.
Black Swan events are also causing significant disruptive change. And they too are not giving us time to adjust or adapt. They include the end of the coal and petroleum age, the need for a transition to green solar and wind energy, the end of our greed based capitalism that was created and supported by petroleum, and the need to eliminate the ideologically rigid politics that support our greed based economic system through the politics of ultra- nationalism. These are all black swan events that need to be dealt with.
The problems these black swan events are creating for us will remain long after the Trump presidency has faded into the fog of history. And they will need to be dealt with. The sooner, the better. Overwhelming governmental and social debt, tax reform, healthcare reform, the increased aging of our population, ISIS, unconscious racism, unconscious sexism, the growing immigrant problem created by global unrest and disruption, the rapidly growing threats created by global warming, the economic impacts of climate change and storm intensification, growing world and national poverty, a struggling middle-class, another disruptive recession that economists are predicting, our never-ending war of imperial over-reach that is spreading violence and suffering across much of the Middle East and the rest of the world….. all represent changing worldviews and black swan events that are creating chaos and spreading the deep sense of both political and economic collapse/chaos here in our nation and around the world!!!
The “possible future” we will create in the coming months and years, will have to deal with these disruptive changes. But instead of fighting against change, our human energy would be better spent creatively embracing the changes that are coming and looking for creative solutions.
The unprotected of the world are angry. They want change and equality. They want their rights protected. Trump is not “the” problem. Trump is the symptom of that anger and powerlessness, not the cause. We need to keep our eye on the solutions necessary to deal with, and address, the anger and powerless of our middle class and poor……not Trump. The “possible future” we need to create must include an economic and political system that addresses the issues of the middle class and poor.
The top-down rule of the 1% is not the answer. Trickle down is a failed experiment. Big money has been taking over our democratic political system and represents a serious and significant part of the problem.
Our democracy was created to give power to the “people”…….not just the wealthy. We need to reaffirm that vision. The vision that our Founders struggled to create when they penned our Constitution. When the Constitution is interpreted in order to support the views of a “specific part of our society” at the expense of all the people…..that self-serving interpretation perverts and undermines the vision of our nation’s Founders. Citizens United is a good example of what I’m referring to.
Values Matter: Values Are The Bedrock Foundation of Hope
I believe this is the primary reality we need to embrace if we want to create a hopeful future. Values matter. The potential for hope is present in all of the realities above. But hope will not be nurtured and strengthened until we are clear on what we love and value! Until we have a clear vision of the “possible future” we want to live in. The “possible future” we are willing to stand up and fight “for”. Fighting against Trump, fighting against the darkness we feel, fighting against a particular political party, or fighting against any given future will not be successful. We will need to fight “for” the “possible future” we want to pass onto future generations. The generations of our children and their children. The generations of all the children of the world.
The only way I know how to do that is through value clarity.
I believe there is great hope embedded in the opportunity the Trump presidency is offering us to rewrite the direction of our nation and the direction of our world. The opportunity to rethink our choices, behaviors, and decisions in the coming days… because they will determine that “possible future” we want to create. The choices are becoming more clear every day. We can choose to fight against the 1% or for a bottom-up rule of all the people… the dream of our founding fathers. We can choose to fight against change (to preserve a past that is fading away and perhaps already gone), or for a “possible future” shaped and created by the wisdom embedded in the values we are willing to support and fight “for”.
Only when we are willing to clearly define our core values and the fight for them, and defend them with all our strength and passion against those who would have us abandon them… for any reason!… only then will we have the strength and courage to manage the chaos created by change and successfully create the “possible future” we dream about creating as a nation, as a world, as a global community.
This post is already longer than I believe most people have the time or patience to read. So I am going to wrap it up for today. I’ll continue this post by taking an in-depth look at the subject of values in Part 2 of the next Stonyhill-Nuggets Newsletter/Blog. Values are the key to our future, and the hope that so many of us are struggling to embrace, so I will discuss them in depth in the next Nugget “Coming To Grips With A Trump Presidency: When The Darkness Descends Part One“.