Day 81 of the Trump Presidency
From the Boundless Reservoir — April 10, 2017
First thing — I trued up the day — turns out today is the 81st day of his presidency. Somewhere along the line, I missed 2 days.
Today was a day of immersing myself. Damn, there is a lot happening, isn’t there? It really seems relentless! There are a few things I want to write about from what’s happening in our world, but before I do, I have questions for you:
- Were you kind today? With whom? Did you include being kind to yourself? What difference did it make?
- Did you allow yourself to be moved by something beautiful?
- Where you present to the magnificence of life itself?
- What did you do to alleviate suffering?
- Are you expressing your love?
I think it’s useful for us to stop and take stock. So, before you read on, I ask that you take a moment to reflect on those questions, and get present to your life right now. I was thinking about this business of time — I’m almost 59 (this May) and I was thinking about the likely number of years I have left, and for the first time ever, I thought about it in terms of the number of transits of our planet around the sun. Do I have 30 more trips around the sun left? 35? 28? This trip could be the last one. Thinking in those terms had something become more real than ever before. You and I really have a finite number of trips around left. What sort of ride is it going to be?
I want to bring something else present here — which is part of the grappling that I’ve been doing. If I was Donald Trump, that is to say, if each was replaced completely and entirely such that I really was Donald Trump, I would do exactly what he is doing — exactly. And, I suggest the same is true for you. Much earlier on, I referenced a book by Sam Harris where he wrote about the illusion of free will. The actions Trump is taking are actions completely and entirely consistent with and correlated to how the world occurs for him (if you haven’t read The Three Laws of Performance, I recommend it). So do mine, so do yours. My writing, and whatever I have to say here, is all without fail a correlate of my view, of how it all occurs to me.
What I didn’t say yesterday is this: part of the opportunity of this conversation, for me every bit as much as you, is to get some access to how it all occurs and to both take responsibility for our “default” view and to explore other possible views and see what we see. What if we weren’t stuck with our view? That is to say, what if we could get that “how it is” is really only a function of our view?
Okay — now, a few things. First, this from Rex Tillerson at a summit in Italy in the aftermath of the bombing in Syria: “We rededicate ourselves to holding to account any and all who commit crimes against the innocents anywhere in the world.” Will they start at home and hold our government to account for the horrific acts it has committed against the “innocents”? Will Rex hold Exxon/Mobil to account for the crimes it has committed? What about all the innocents killed in our raids in Somalia, Iraq, etc? I don’t really think so. And, how on earth does this fit with the stated policy of “America First,” which Trump rode right to the White House?
I think one of the things for us to be most concerned about is an administration at odds with itself and its own message, as incoherent as it seems. Nikki Hayley and Rex Tillerson appear to be speaking about entirely different foreign policies — I think they are both making it up as they go as Trump, as best as anyone can tell, has none. There have been many reports in all the different media outlets, left right and center, reporting on this lack of any consistent and clear message.
People, this is very concerning! Two quotes I read today. The first, allegedly from the alliance supporting Assad, is this: “From now on we will respond with force to any aggressor or any breach of red lines from whoever it is and America knows our ability to respond well”
The second, in response to the US diverting a carrier strike group to the Korean peninsula: “We will take the toughest counteraction against the provocateurs in order to defend ourselves by powerful force of arms,” the North Korean foreign ministry spokesman said. “We will hold the US wholly accountable for the catastrophic consequences to be entailed by its outrageous actions.”
Where are we headed? Bereft of any cogent foreign policy, it seems what we have is a president reacting to pictures and with no apparent impulse control, launching lethal force. No one quite seems to know what’s next — every article I read had that as an open question. There doesn’t appear to be any strategy of what follows the Tomahawk missile strikes.
Something I came across today: the South African government has legalized the trading of rhino horns. This had been banned. Rhinos are an endangered species, and their horns are made of the same material as your fingernails. And, yet — they are prized in Vietnam and China as having miraculous medicinal properties. And, so it goes. Saddens me.
Okay- I’m finishing. I’m still smack dab in the middle of the inquiry of what I’m doing here in this space. I’ll continue to work it out, out here — in the “primitive art of love” that your listening is. Maybe the most powerful action you can take is to really listen, to give someone the gift of being heard, really gotten. I think it is important for us to stay present to what’s happening while at the same time, being grounded in the boundless reservoir of love.
Good night! See you tomorrow.