Communique 10-6-2020 "The Cowardly Lying One"
By Philip Drucker
I must admit I didn’t expect yesterday’s article on adopting a compassionate path going forward would prove to be quite so controversial. I guess what they say is true. Peace sells, but who’s buying? In a nutshell, in stating I am on board with Biden suspending his negative ad campaign against the slowly sinking into the mud at the bottom of the sea Trumptanic, I was not suggesting passing out “get out of jail free” cards or letting those who have transgressed so virulently from the normal boundaries of decency merely go on with their everyday lives as if nothing happened.
No, for as much as I would like to believe it is possible for even the most heinous of actors among us to change their mistaken ways, there will always be some persons who will not see the need and will almost assuredly try the same useless barrage of either misplaced patriotism or eye on the end of times righteousness regardless of the near immediate and dilatory effects upon society in general and yes, their own rotting souls.
It’s one thing to watch the world burn around you. It’s quite another to fan the flames of delirium by refuting what your God given eyes have shown you while allowing those around you, many who may look to you for help, strength and guidance to cede your chance to stand up, be counted and do the right thing.
Compassion is not a one-way street. It is not a yes or no absolute, or a guarantee of lenience. Compassion is a state of possibilities within which we hope for the best but must not blind ourselves to the reality that some people are just dangerous. Devious of mind and deadly in practice. Unconditional love for the demons among us, and yes, I believe there are demonic forces at work, is foolhardy and will accomplish nothing but to expand the misery we find foisted upon us at a time when we can least afford it.
Compassion, empathy, honor, allegiance, sacrifice, these are all lockets on the same bracelet. Equating patriotism with acts of bravery and strength in the face of adversity has its place, but once the battle is over, then what? When do we beat our swords into plowshares? When do stop fighting and start healing? When will our understanding of the greater good involve acts of kindness, caring and learning?
If you are not quite willing to forgive, do you lack compassion? I would say no. However, if you are not willing to offer a safe space in which those who wish to take responsibility for their actions, including accountability and if necessary make reparations for those who have suffered needlessly for a cause not only long forgotten but indeed never was.
Compassion is a good thing. It frees us from dwelling on the mistakes of others and allows us to become the persons we wish to be. There can be no justice without mercy. Only revenge. Is your plan to seek vengeance? To hurt those who have admittedly hurt you? Or a loved one? I’ve seen so many on both sides of the debate, one claiming the nature of karma as the way of things, the other God’s righteous vengeance as the justification for all that is wrong in the world.
Compassion does not judge. It doesn’t require an examination of who you are or what you have done. You already know that. What it does demand is reflection upon and steps taken toward who you want to be. Who you can be, if you try. If you ask for help, I will help. If you fail, we both fail and yes, we will try again. It may take time, but then again, isn’t time all we’ve really got?
What happens when time crosses with the desire to do good works? When we stop wasting our time chasing after the almighty dollar? When we all agree our first and foremost investment must always be the sustainability of humanity both individually and collectively?
What happens when we discard the philosophically from the word go and harmful paradigm that humans are somehow susceptible to societal triage as an agent of meaningful and lasting change? Tell me, when it comes to “acceptable losses”, how many Covid19 victims would that be? When it comes to poverty, how many children may we allow to go to bed hungry, not knowing where their next meal is coming from, if at all?
How many rivers and lakes, how much potable water, are we entitled to poison in the name of corporate profit before our tolerance for dead and damaged children, dying of toxic levels of lead in our drinking water is reached? How much smog, greenhouse gasses, and particles in our air is OK? Until the young are affected? The old? Those with asthma or some other respiratory conditions? There has been a lot of talk about breathing lately, hasn’t there? None of it good.
And now for the question I assume you have all been waiting for. Does Trump deserve your compassion? The answer is a bit trickier than it may sound, but the answer must be yes. Like prayer, unconditional love and compassion all forward looking and envision a better tomorrow. All our good thoughts and prayers are created to facilitate, God willing, a better, more hopeful future for everyone. Our best way forward is intrinsically tied together with all we have the blessing to interact with, and even some kind souls we will never meet but were somehow “there” when we needed them most.
Trump is a coward. Pretending to fight imaginary dragons is easy. Pretending to be a “tough guy” is easy. Taking off a mask in the face of scientific evidence to the contrary and the potential harm done to those around you, shouldn’t be easy, but for Donald, it was. In fact, easy doesn’t begin to describe it. Stupidity might help shed some light, but let me ask you this. How do you help someone who is so scared of his own shadow, so terrified he may be perceived as less than a “man” that he can’t even wear a mask?
And yes, that he, is incapable of showing compassion for the lives of those he has taken an oath to protect and defend from all harm, foreign and domestic? For his ego, his image, to maintain an illusion, one after the other, that he is rich? A successful businessman? A loving husband and caring father to wife and children? A stable genius? Immune to the Covid19 virus and apparently willing to kill himself to prove it?
In closing, let me ask you. If Trump, as a man ultimately made of flesh and bone, a charter member of humanity, who is unfortunately also a dangerous and misguided dark soul who is suffering from a deadly disease, doesn’t deserve our compassion, then who does? Compassion is both a gift and a burden. The promise of a helping hand in a safe space in return for a bit of humility, self-introspection and ultimately empirical changes in attitude, outlook and action.
How will Trump know when that time has come? When he is ready to offer compassion to someone else who needs it. Is he there? Doubtful, but think of it this way, how many times in life do we get to start at the top? I’m in. You?