Day 64 of the Trump Presidency

From the Boundless Reservoir — March 26, 2017

Hello all!

Martin Luther King said:

“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.”

Likewise, I think the degree to which we cannot recognize ourselves in others is the degree to which we will always remain separate. I think it is critical for us to keep developing the capacity to find others in ourselves. As those of you who have been reading my posts for a while now, this is a theme I come back to from time to time — and, a theme I think we need to keep reminding ourselves of. I know I need the reminder! Here’s the gist of it: if you stand in the view that any separation between us is an illusion, and that we are all one (albeit distinct expressions, but all one), then truly I am you, I am Paul Ryan, I am Donald Trump, I am all of it. Now, I think to relate to this as the truth is a mistake — I think it takes us off the hook of really creating it and being responsible for it as a view, a possible view, and a view to be empowered by. You see, we can just as easily stand in the view that we are all separate, wandering around attempting to connect. I don’t think this is any less valid a view, or any more or less true. However, I think if we take on the view of being all one, we can develop and maintain our capacity to forgive, and we are “less prone to hate our enemies” because truly they are us. If there is a way out of this mess that we are in, I think it is going to be through here.

Having said that, I think we are in deeper trouble than we imagine. I don’t mean to be an alarmist (well, maybe that’s not true — maybe I do!) — but I think what just went down with the health care bill is symptomatic of where we have gotten ourselves — a largely ungovernable bureaucratic mess. It seems to me that we are playing a giant game of chicken to see who will blink first. And, it sure wasn’t the Freedom Caucus!

And, while that spectacle has been going down, there have been real, impactful issues at play. Some of the things that happened last week while we have been enthralled with the drama and theater of the on again, off again vote to replace the ACA with the ACHA:

- “The Senate voted to kill Obama era online privacy regulations, a first step toward allowing internet providers such as Comcast, AT&T and Verizon to sell your browsing habits and other personal information as they expand their own online ad businesses. Those rules, not yet in effect, would have required internet providers to ask your permission before sharing your personal information. That’s a much stronger privacy protection weapon than letting them use your data until you tell them to stop. As anyone who has ever tried to stop getting targeted ads on the internet knows, opting out is hard. Without those protections, consumer advocates fear that broadband providers will be able to do what they like with people’s data.”

- “President Trump announced Friday morning the granting of a permit for construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, calling it “the first of many infrastructure projects” that he would approve in order to put more Americans to work.” As you likely recall, this pipeline is designed to move the dirtiest of crude oil from the tar sands in Alberta to refineries on the gulf coast in Texas. The tar sands project in Alberta is, in my view and in the view of many people concerned with our environmental impact on this planet of ours, one of the most damaging projects on the planet — both in terms of how it is scarring the earth and in terms of how product it delivers contributes to climate change.

- “The Senate voted Tuesday to abolish a rule restricting specific hunting practices on national wildlife refuges in Alaska — including trapping, baiting and aerial shooting — on the grounds that state officials should be able to set the terms for wildlife conservation on public land within their own borders.” This would roll back means of hunting that in my view are just, I don’t know, ridiculous, egregious. Really? Flying around in a helicopter and shooting wolves and grizzly bears from the air?

I think there are more dangerous issues at hand that are largely being buried under the latest “outrage” from Washington or by the deconstruction of who’s to blame for the failure of “repeal and replace.” It seems to me that we are living in a very dangerous world, and unlike 75 years ago, or 115 years ago, or further back, we are inextricably linked to one another globally, and we possess at our disposal the capacity to wreak havoc far beyond what could have been imagined then.

In an article by David Frum (I’m becoming a fan of this guy) in the Atlantic entitled, Two Glimpses of a Grim Post-American Future, he says (linked here):

“As the United States under President Trump recedes from world leadership, things are not looking so good elsewhere on earth. Two new books have arrived to warn of big trouble ahead for both the European Union and the emerging economies of Asia.”

Our America First policy, while useful in riling up jingoistic crowds of almost entirely white people, does not play well in the foreign policy challenges we face. Steve Bannon seems to think we are marching to a global conflict between Judeo-Christian values and the values of Islam. Trump’s budget seriously cuts funding for the State Department while boosting our military in what he claims to be the largest increase in spending ever. What does this say to you?

Okay — done for the night. Thanks for reading and for doing whatever you are doing to be an informed citizen. I think this is so critical. Keep practicing loving, being generous, being kind. You and I don’t know the ripple effect of our actions. Practice disappearing the separation between you and those you find hardest to be one with!

See you tomorrow.



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