The Art of the Deal was the title of Donald Trump’s first book almost thirty years ago. We have now seen what that means in the past year: say and do anything to get what you want.
As I read the news every day since the election, I notice that he is backing away from the firebrand rhetoric that he used to rally people to vote for him. He is not going to prosecute Hillary Clinton or her Foundation. He is not going to put her in jail. He is reconsidering climate change, deporting all Muslims, and his damnation of the press. At first he refused to meet with the NYTimes. His reasoning being that the press has not treated him fairly, that they have “failed”, and he threatened to sue them for libel. He has attacked television network executives and anchors and said that the networks had been dishonest in their coverage of him. Then he decided he would meet with the NYTimes and said the meeting was “cordial”.
What is happening to Donald Trump? The art of the deal may get you in the door, but it may not keep you there. This is becoming apparent to him, I assume, as he seems to realize that he can’t bully the whole world into submission. Now he wants to be nice and have people be nice to him.
Well, that doesn’t help the more than 700 people who have been attacked, harassed and intimated by hate crimes since the election. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, these hate crimes include anti-immigrant, anti-black, anti-LCBT, Swastika, anti-Muslim, anti-women, anti-Trump, hate group recruitment, anti-Semitic and other multiple acts. He seems to have no awareness of the world around him and what he has unleashed. It’s all a game, a deal in his favor. A President for all the people? Really? Then why is he hiring all white males for his Cabinet?
Only time will tell what Mr. Trump will give to, or take away from, the democracy of the United States and its hard won freedoms. It has taken more than two hundred and fifty years to build our country. Let’s hope he doesn’t tear it down in four.
This past week has been the longest week of my life. I went to cast my vote at the local fire station. I didn’t have to stand on line. There were seven districts and enough volunteers to accommodate everyone quickly and easily. Small towns have their advantages. Then I went home and waited. I couldn’t work that day. I had shifted all my clients to other days that week.
That morning I had awakened and all day I kept seeing Trump standing with his arms raised and balloons and confetti falling down around him in red, white and blue. No, no…I tried to switch it to Hillary winning, but the vision wouldn’t change. I knew, all day.
And of course, the polls coming in were wrong. Everything went wrong. My reality was wrong. As Shunryu Suzuki, the beloved Zen master of Tassajara in CA said many years ago: Not Always So.
My mind had to shift from hope and enthusiasm for Hillary Clinton, to shock and dismay for Donald Trump. I went to bed early on election night because I couldn’t bear to watch the reality that was unfolding before my eyes. I had nightmares of Donald Trump winning…over and over again.
I awoke to the validation of my intuition. Donald Trump had won the electoral college.
I couldn’t grasp it. I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t want to believe it. I felt unfettered, ungrounded. My whole life has been about the spiritual dimension of life. Was everything I believed about humanity wrong? I believed that we were gradually moving toward a peaceful world in which people actually wanted cooperation and compassion. I had just started a book club based on The Book of Joy by the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The first meeting was deep, rich and profound. Everyone contributed. And now? Where was the other half of American humanity?
I don’t know. I suppose if I look at the statistics, they will tell me. But I don’t want to. I don’t want to know those people. I don’t understand those people. I am afraid of those people. Anyone who could put on the robes of the Ku Klux Klan terrifies me.
Where is home now? Do I live in enemy territory? Only time will tell. I have only my own inner heart, my own inner compassion to hold onto. It is hard. Very hard. But I am grateful that my beloved friends are as shocked as I am, and we can share compassion with each other. We can console each other. We can prepare for the events to come, whatever they are to be. As they sometimes say in publishing, nobody knows anything.