Donald Trump is the 45th President of the United States of America. If that sentence makes you cringe, chances are, you’re part of the nearly 66 million who voted otherwise. Or you’re in the most “vilified segment of American society” which means you’re probably not reading this small-time blog anyway.
But truthfully, there are some of us on the other side of the aisle who are right there with you. Yes, despite the stereotype of football-watching-white-middle-America (and a lot of other ugly words), there are those who voted for Trump wondering what a Trump presidency really means for the future of our country.
I guess we’ll soon find out.
So regardless of which ballot we cast in November, we find ourselves in the same position. That leaves us with two options: We can continue to argue with one another, assuming that we’re mortal enemies, or we can find some common ground to stand on.
Unless we’re willing to do the latter, then these next four years (and beyond) hold no hope for us. I’m not sure about you, but I’m ready to move forward.
A Cultural Cleanse
Earlier this week my wife talked me in to joining her for a 10-day vegan cleanse. Something about removing toxins from our body. To add insult to injury, we gave up coffee as a way to truly reset our system. For a meat-loving, coffee fanatic like me, this was a big deal. Common sense questioned, “How could you possibly do that?” But due to my cancer history, I thought it a good idea. That was until I began throwing up at work after a green smoothie and no caffeine left me with a piercing headache. Sometimes we don’t really know how addicted we are to certain things until we try to let them go.
I’m now a few days into the cleanse and I’m feeling a lot better. My body craves the familiarity of it all, but seems to be rebounding with energy and a sense of wholeness. Quite frankly I was in denial, not ready to face the convictions of reality. But that’s one of the ironic benefits of persevering through pain—clarity is on the other side. Truthfully, food and drink had become a bit of a comfort to navigate the demands of life with four small children. They were a crutch that helped me hobble around on something that was broken.
I think that’s where we are as a country. For far too long, we’ve feasted on the pleasures of our own agenda and opinion, not realizing how addicted to it we’ve become and how broken we are underneath. We’ve done a great job of labeling it, but beneath the stereotype we’re all very similar. When something threatens our way, we fight. Or when something supports our way, we champion it at all costs giving little consideration to how ugly or arrogant it makes us appear.
We have become addicted to that way of life without realizing what it’s really doing to us as individuals and as a country. More than any other event in my thirty-five years, the Trump debacle brought these cultural fractures into the light. It revealed us for who we really were—divided and full of toxins. We’re consumed with blame and finger-pointing, or being right, or what we deserve, or money, or social justice, or hateful language, or social media backbiting—our vices are clear. But instead of continuing to be chained to them, what if we made a decision to rid ourselves of them?
As a culture, I believe it’s time for a bit of a cleansing. We need to purge ourselves of the things we’re addicted to as a way to invite truth into the conversation. Although it’s incredibly unpopular, humility is the only birthplace of wisdom. Until we’re willing to go there, to recognize our role in the madness, I’m afraid we’ll suffocate in our own pride and the ugliness of it all.
What if you refused from bashing those thought differently than you? Or arguing for the sake of arguing? What if you stopped letting fear dictate your life? Or if you gave up trying to prove a point?
If you’re daring enough to step out and finally be a part of the change that you say you hope for, I can tell you from experience that the first few days will be tough. Your body will feel sick as you limit its exposure, but clarity is waiting so keep going.
Choosing the Good
We can’t change who will take office on January 20th, but we can decide how much energy we’re willing to give to him. And for that matter, our celebrities and our fear and our agenda and our desire for entertainment and…you get the picture.
Refraining from animal protein and coffee caused me to realize that I gave a lot of energy to those things to make me happy. Now, I’m more aware and want to make a conscious decision to limit that precious energy—to starve the things that demand my exertion yet provide no eternal benefit and pour my energy into that which is good.
So this year, join me in choosing that which is good. Let’s release all of the bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander and malice. Let’s be kind to one another and cleanse ourselves from those addictions that keep us hobbling around on broken legs refusing to be healed.
And just for the record, this goes for our President Elect as well.