Why We Should Be Thankful for Donald J. Trump (30 before 40)

17473166615_56a735bf01_zTrump mania is sweeping (parts of) our nation and it’s something that I absolutely can’t wrap my mind around. For the life of me, I can’t understand how someone who can say such despicable things about almost everyone can be flouted as a possible leader of our country.  I don’t understand what people are hearing to think “this is what we need.”  This article and this podcast are two things, though, that have helped me understand the psychology of it a little bit.   If you’re confounded too, maybe those will help you understand.

But I was thinking today that there might be some reasons to be thankful for Mr. Trump.

I know, I know. Just hear me out.

In my opinion, Donald J. Trump (or Drumpf as many people I know now like to refer to him) has exposed some deep realities in our country.  He has exposed the reality that people do not like those who are different or who threaten their preferred ways of life or who oppose them in any way, shape or form.  His campaign, to a new level, has exposed our inability to see difference as a positive trait and our disdain for understanding the other.  He has exposed the propensity to conquer anything one does not like by any means necessary.  He has exposed what people really want and what they’re willing to do to get it.

Here’s the deal though…

I have a choice to get on my high horse and talk about how enlightened I am.  Or I can sit humbly before you and say when I see those things rising in others, it gives me a chance to address the same things that exist within myself.

We all have the ability to act this way.  It is a human condition to want what we want and not care about its impact on others.  It is a human condition to believe that we have the answers and everyone else shall bow to our will.  It is a human condition to mock those that oppose or disagree with us and to bully to get what we want.

But it is an ugly human condition.  And it is a childish way of being in the world.

(And if you don’t think I’m right, hang out with a toddler for a couple of days.)

In my opinion, Trump’s rise is not creating but exposing some deep truths about our nation and raising good questions about what it means to be a good human.  And maybe we should thank him because how can anything be addressed if it’s not first exposed?

How can we address true diplomacy and reconciliation without first exposing that what we really want is to kill all the family members of the bad guys?

How can we address our phobias without first exposing what we’re afraid of?

How can we address lying in others without first exposing that we don’t actually mind lies that benefit “me”?

How can we address our prejudices without first exposing what we hate?

How can we address bullying in our schools without first exposing that the adults seem to like the bully?

How can we address what it means to be Christ-like without first exposing the fact that the words “evangelical” and “Christ-like” are not necessarily synonymous?

Donald Trump is giving us an opportunity to ask the question…who are we, really?

This election cycle is getting people to engage with the political process and ask themselves real questions about how they believe the world should be.

None of those are bad things.

I (and a good portion of the world) hope that Donald Trump will not become the next President of the United States.  But if he loses and we don’t work to fix some of the issues that have been exposed in our country (and trust me…I’m not pretending I know where to start), someone will eventually be the next him.

So if he wins or he loses, what will we do?  Who will we be?

Will we rise to the challenge of being people of love and inclusion even if we have a leader who doesn’t share our ideals?  Will we push back and speak up when we see injustice?  Or will we sit in a corner and pout and let the bully win?

***

(This post is a part of a series called 40 Before 40.  40 random thoughts on the 40 days before I turn 40 years old.  If you have a post suggestion, send it on.  Creativity is collaborative and I’ll take any writing prompts you want to send my way.)

Photo cred: “Flag 75047”, flagprogram, via Flickr, public domain

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