I almost didn’t write this blog article. I have been starting to feel like I am delving too far into opinion about the political landscape. I had hoped to avoid treading those waters on this blog site—tarot readers, like other types of consultants and professionals, are supposed to remain non-committal, to not be judgmental, to allow our clients to come to their own conclusions and revelations.
But there’s a vast difference here. The political candidates are not clients; their actions may affect mankind and his future (literally), and those candidates seem to have expressed an immobile stance of dishonorable vice. Besides which… they started it. It you’re going to run for office asking the American people to express their opinions with their votes,…well, that seems like fair game, and a license to express an opinion.
But the sea divide is W-I-D-E on opinion. And it’s that each side doesn’t seem to be able to bridge the gulf of understanding (even though each side thinks they understand perfectly).
Let me be clear here: I am not on the sea floor trying to temp each side to move closer to the center of the ocean bed. I am not so brave as Moses to tempt those parted waves. I am definitely standing on one shore of the parted waters. I cannot be counted among one of the “undecided.”
As a reader-consultant, and as a Catholic-Christian religious, I have a definite opinion based on my scope of view and learned philosophies. And I stand in befuddlement and bewilderment at my brethren on the other shore so far away. This, I think, is the hardest, most sorrowful predicament of the entire situation—that we have to admit our differences of opinion, and that the candidates seem to be the devils in the middle conflating those differences to the maximum level of damage to which they can be manipulated.
And despite the sadness of being torn asunder philosophically from fellow Americans… yet I still remain adamantly on the shore of my choice. How can I possibly throw myself upon the other shore if I believe it to be detrimental to the very people who stand upon it (whether they know it or not)? And how can I not be sad to know that my fellow Americans on the opposite shore feel the exact same sentiment about me on my shore?
So there we are… at the impasse.
And all I can do is try to present my reasonable perspective… and make sure to (try to) listen to the reasonable perspectives of the opposite shore.
And feeling like I’ve not said ANYTHING that ANYONE doesn’t ALREADY know… here is part of my perspective, partly informed by ideas and writers and resources that I trust to try to think reasonably through the melee…
The editorial staff of the National Catholic Reporter wrote an op-ed piece in which they tried to compare the popularity of Donald Trump with the popularity of Pope Françis here in the United States during his papal visit in 2015. They came up with some interesting observations:
“We are politically at sea. [ed: Hey! That’s my trope!] As a group of Washington Post reporters noted in a recent and masterful analysis of the politics of 2015, what once worked no longer does: 'Television advertising moved few voters. Policy rollouts fell on deaf ears. Impressive political résumés proved not to be persuasive. What took on the Republican side was a new kind of politics, one built on emotion and visceral connection.'
“Trump is riding a thermal created by a general anger and disgust with politics and "big government." Disdain for "political correctness" has provided unlimited cover for language and attitudes that once would have rendered a candidate unacceptable across all boundaries, save for the most extreme.”
This “disdain for political correctness” also befuddles Americans on both shores of the divide, for it seems that each side has a different index of “political correctness” and its virtues or vices. Also, therapists and tarot consultants see something else spring out from that quotation (and not just because I put it in boldface font). That the political landscape has quit its trust of decorum and diplomacy, because what good have either of them gotten anyone in the real world (or amongst those on the opposite shore)? Now politics is moving into a realm of raw emotion—a sort of unhinged and unregulated Fortitude-time-bomb without the salve or application or balance of the other virtues: Temperance, Justice, Prudence. Too many Cups (emotion) and too many Coins (money!) suit-cards in the spread, and not enough Swords (intellect) or Wands (creativity, intuition) suit cards represented to balance things.
Another opinion piece from the Rutland Herald points out the bullying tactics of Donald Trump towards a public that questions his interactive competencies. Trump doesn’t disappoint, as you can read in the snippet below and read in full at this link here.
“Here’s what Donald Trump yelled out to his hand-picked audience of 1,400 when he held the mic and center stage at the Flynn Theater in Burlington a few nights ago when a man in the crowd started to heckle him:
“‘Get him outta there! Don’t give him his coat. Keep this coat. Confiscate his coat! You know, it’s about 10 degrees below outside. No, you can keep his coat. Tell him we’ll send it to him in a couple of weeks.’
“That cheery lynch-mob talk of Trump reminded me of something I first heard about as a boy in the 1930s: the administration of big doses of castor oil by Mussolini’s Black Shirts to political dissidents. What could be funnier than the sight of your political opponent clutching his stomach and needing to run to the bathroom — and not being allowed to?
“In the same decade of the 1930s, Adolf Hitler’s Brown Shirts, with their own lynch-mob mentality, got their kicks by compelling old bearded Jews to get down on their knees and scrub the public sidewalk clean with a toothbrush. The old photographs show smiling faces among the crowd that gathered to watch the show. And a show it was.
“And a show it is, with Donald Trump, in these strange months of America’s history, when politics and high entertainment have been blended together as never before…
“The temperature outside the Flynn Theater that night was 25 above, not 10 below, as Trump averred. Accustomed as he is to the Limousine Life, he probably wouldn’t know the difference between 20 above and 10 below — any more than he knows the difference in the life of a wage-earner between a wage of $10 an hour and $15 an hour. But actual numbers and actual facts are of less than decimal concern to the Great Entertainer that Donald Trump primarily is, whose chief preoccupation is with below-the-waist matters, and secondarily, with the everyday prejudices of a fantastically wealthy white man born to multi-millionaire privilege.”
This ASTONISHES me. I cannot fathom a political candidate isolating and disenfranchising constituents as opposed to trying to rally everyone together under the umbrella of common aspirations embracing everyone. I cannot conceive of blatantly mocking and creating divisions among the constituency in an attempt to win more votes. But if the above witness account seems unbelievable as a potentially fabricated written account of the proceedings,… well, I found some video for you…
This video comes from an article in the Washington Post in which is described the ejection of a woman muslim from Trump's speech rally in South Carolina in early January. The peacefully protesting woman—who never said a word or made any noise to disrupt the function—was ejected for what appears to be racial profiling and the fact that she was wearing a shirt that read "Salam, I come in peace."
I think what stuns many people is not so much that Republican candidates are shirking the mantel of “political correctness,”—because politicians have been doing that from the earliest days of the union, even under the burden of that very same moniker—but that Republican politicians are, through their actions and words, equating political correctness with their “suppressed” right to bully, shame, mock, defame, discriminate against, and degrade their fellow countrymen and human race.
How is it possible that we can upbraid and send the mixed messages that we have a “zero-tolerance” policy for bullying in many of our school systems, reproachable with a punishment of suspension or expulsion, …but that the act itself is completely acceptable for adults in leadership positions, or people with enough money to spare the rights, or in our political system in which “diplomacy” used to be the standard of decorum?
What stuns people is not so much the bullying itself—it’s completely identifiable; we know it when we see it—but rather trying to compensate for the paradoxes of its existence in a realm that we have hitherto considered sacred to a higher degree of ethics and virtue.
What stuns people is trying to fathom a large segment of our neighbors and fellow countrymen (and women) who have somehow allowed themselves to have been conditioned by the high-jinx of reality television, of low-brow meritocracy, of sophomoric delusions to surface materialism, of anonymous apathy towards the weak, …that those neighbors and countrymen could forfeit ethics and virtue standards for the lowest common denominator and be satisfied with that denominator.
There’s a difference between political correctness that politically disallows freedom of speech or opinion… and political correctness that socially helps to maintain a platform of respectfulness. Yep. Semantics… subtleties in manifesting your eloquence… discernment… manners… prudence… temperance… Wouldn’t it be great if some political candidates could use some of these tools?
In politics, we like to believe that the leaders we choose are going to be great humanitarians, that they will represent the best of humanity in championing core values that serve humanity towards its greatest end. But that seems to be too grandiose of a wish…particularly in this political season (and, good grief, it’s only just begun!) This seems to be the season of accentuating divisions rather than finding the greatest common hopes for greatness.
The National Catholic Reporter article mentioned in its closing paragraph how Pope Françis’s answer to long term anxieties and divisions of the Church’s congregants resides in his “reading of how religion should react with the culture.” Is America’s problem overreacting to culture? Or not reacting reasonably to culture? Perhaps culture—technology and the too-immediate nature of social and news media—prevents us from reacting reasonably. Perhaps the stresses of overwhelming media and data and unrelenting global news is too much for our human sensitive emotional levels to tolerate. It’s easy to point fingers and decry false prophets.
Maybe we should all just slow down… and breathe. (Four of Swords) Maybe we should reassess what makes us great humanitarians without blaming others for our deficiencies, or without throwing others under the bus, or without people vying for leadership positions using bullying tactics and fear-mongering as their go-to resource. Maybe we should just quiet our minds and just listen.
Maybe someone ought to wade out to the center of the seabed… brave the parted waters and set-up a bistro table there with a tea service and snickerdoodles. Or maybe hold a yoga class there. Not into yoga? Maybe we could just watch a game and have a beer. I dunno, maybe there isn’t anything we can agree to do in common. Maybe there’s no neat and tidy way to wrap-up this impasse or this blog poste in a feel-good, satisfying way. But I’d sure like to meet you there among the starfish-littered sea floor and the coral reefs…