This morning we awake to the news of a new President; one who has triumphed through embracing a message of fear, hate and division. My FB feed this morning is full of howls of disbelief; a kind of cyber-doom hangs over everything. Whatever you think of his politics (I abhor everything the man stands for) it is hard to escape the facts that Trump’s win has little to do with policy, or character, or passionate belief. It signals a new direction in democracy. The arc of history has a new direction.
What does it mean for the likes of us? Is this the end of a liberal welfare based direction in western civilisation? Do the neo cons/neo fascists now hold all the strings of power? Is this a return to the 1930s when economic crisis led to the rise of despots and demagogues?
What does this mean for democracy? If the will of the people is shaped and shagged into support of a racist, sexist, narcissistic, liar then what value has the process?
Overall there is a feeling amongst my friends that something is wrong, something is rotten in the middle of our culture. Others paint this as a kind of anti-politics, which requires something like a Trump wrecking ball to swing in an ‘make American great again’ and ‘drain the swamp’. My feeling is that the solution is not anti-political, but has to be about two things;
- A renewal of the politics of kindness and the dignity, and people who are willing to hold to account those in power who would denigrate this
- A focus on the small politics of community. Let us create the world we want to live in locally. This means breaking out from behind our screens as this kind of community can not just be on-line (like this blog).
Always at the back of my mind is the conviction that something more significant has to change- the way we live now is not sustainable after all. We can not continue to over consume the world at the expense of the environment and the larger part of the earths population. In this sense, perhaps Trump in all his neon spray tan dreadfulness is actually part of the death of what has been- a last throw of the dice for the empire that has been.
People of faith have a vital role to play here too- Trump won because the American religious right were able to twist their fundamentalist Bible-first theology to embrace him as the lesser evil. Bigotry was preferable to abortion and homosexuality. Guns, God and the Flag, woven together into a toxic heresy all in the name of Jesus. How do we engage with this religion in a way that might suggest a bigger more hopeful world. I read this yesterday from Richard Rohr;
The incarnation of God did not only happen in Bethlehem two thousand years ago. That is just when some of us started taking it seriously. The incarnation actually happened approximately 13.8 billion years ago with a moment that we now call “The Big Bang” or the First Manifestation. At the birth of our universe, God materialized and revealed who God is. Ilia Delio writes: “Human life must be traced back to the time when life was deeply one, a Singularity, whereby the intensity of mass-energy exploded into consciousness.” This Singularity provides a solid basis for inherent reverence, universal sacrality, and a spiritual ecology that transcends groups and religions…
…Christians must realize what a muddle we have gotten ourselves into by not taking incarnation and the body of God seriously. As Sally McFague, a Christian theologian, says so powerfully, “Salvation is the direction of all of creation, and creation is the very place of salvation.”  All is God’s place, which is our place, which is the only and every place.
Our very suffering now, our crowded presence in this nest that we have largely fouled, will soon be the one thing that we finally share in common. It might be the one thing that will bring us together politically and religiously. The earth and its life systems, on which we all entirely depend, might soon become the very thing that will convert us to a simple lifestyle, to a necessary community, and to an inherent and natural sense of the Holy. We all breathe the same air and drink the same water. There are no Native, Hindu, Jewish, Christian, or Muslim versions of the universal elements. They are exactly the same for each of us.
There is more at stake here than Trump and his great erections. The arc of history is not in the his hands, no matter how pumped up his ego might become.