Dear President Trump,
Yesterday I said we must cast our votes both to rid ourselves of you and to save democracy and I do believe this is true. However, people in Russia “voted” today even though Putin effectively eliminated any real competition. In China the legislature’s “vote” to remove the presidential term limits was bogus because they weren’t safe to vote against it. Dictatorships are clearly capable of hosting mock elections to consolidate power and give the illusion of choice, so voting in and of itself is not enough; there have to be meaningful choices, everyone has to have access, and the process has to be transparent.
I’ve been thinking all day about the list of potential chapters in your “Dictatorship for Dummies” book and which of them we the people are able to counter through our own actions and attitudes. We can’t stop you from saying and doing outrageous things over and over, but we can make sure we continue to call the outrage. We can’t stop you from trying to divide us, but we can make concerted efforts to be open to connection and common ground. We can’t stop you from lying to throw your weight around, but we can keep insisting that truth and facts are paramount. We can’t stop you from trying to gaslight us with illogical nonsense, but we can commit to engaging in critical thinking. We can’t stop you from engaging in petty, cruel humiliation of those who cross you, but we can support them and we can refuse to be intimidated by these base tactics. Through all of this we have to take care of ourselves and we have to take care of each other. We cannot let ourselves become empty-eyed zombies going through the motions marking time, waiting for someone else to fix this mess.
At church today we went over the three pillars of our collaborative vision and I think they could help us all get through this dark time whether we believe in a higher power or we believe in community (or both). The three core values are to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly. If we can do these things and help one another do these things, we will not become complacent, complicit zombies nor exhausted, embittered harpies. We will hold onto our dignity and compassion and we will be ok.
May we keep our precious values safe.
May we keep happiness and joy close at hand and share them freely.
May we keep our morals and ethics healthy and strong.
May we keep loving kindness and peace.