Take heart. We were born for these times. So many of my friends are disheartened even distraught by what is happening in our country and our world. Today I spoke with friend who was in tears about the inauguration of the new president. “It’s horrible!” she declared through tears. Yes, it is horrible. A foreign nation – Russia - has interfered with our election, undermining our democracy and helping elect a man who pretends to be for the people, but is out for himself; who claims to be a great businessman but regularly scams customers and cheats workers and contractors out of their pay; who mocks people with disabilities, who denigrates women, and who disparages blacks and immigrants; who is already using public office for private enrichment; and who shuts down journalists attempting to report on his actions.
Oh, cry, my beloved country! My heart weeps when I see our country, conceived in liberty and developed into a more perfect union by the struggles of generations from suffragists to abolitionists to civil rights activists, overtaken by a satyr who threatens to roll back hard-won progress.
Yet, let’s consider what’s happening from an evolutionary perspective. He represents the dark side of America, our shadow. Greed, selfishness, deceit, lust, fraud, fear of the other, desire to dominate. Enough Americans supported him to make the election close enough to steal. That shadow side is now given full expression, so we can see it clearly, recoil, and make another choice. That’s not who we are. That’s not who we want to be.
We have the opportunity, the obligation, to rise up and say, No! We will not stand by and allow you to destroy our cherished values and programs, our democracy! We shall rise and defend that which is best about America. A government of the people, by the people, and for the people. People of courage. Hard work. Innovation. Imagination. Generosity. Hope. Our fabric as a nation is woven with threads made of people who come here from all over the world, making a beautiful tapestry that is America. Together we shine a beacon of light to humanity, showing the way to a new world.
The worst in us rises, so it can be healed by the best in us.
In Chinese, the word “crisis” is made from two symbols, one signifying “danger” and the other “opportunity.” Yes, this is a dangerous time, fraught with peril, as those with power and wealth grab more for themselves, while they knock down protections for the sick, the elderly, and the poor, and dismantle ladders of opportunity such as public education. Beware of the danger. But also, be aware of the opportunity.
The opportunity to choose who we really want to be. The opportunity to fight for what we believe. And the opportunity to support each other as members of the American family.
The truth is, we need major changes that were unlikely to happen the way we were going. We must address extreme income inequality, and dramatic climate change. Our country is strongest when prosperity is shared. Our future is brightest when we align with nature.
Perhaps in rising up to fight for what we believe in, we can make the needed shifts. To live in greater harmony with each other and the earth.
The Chinese have an expression, “May you live in interesting times.” When I asked a friend from China what that means, she explained, “If you live in normal times, you’ll live an average life, nothing special. But if you live in challenging times, you have the opportunity to do great things, to be a hero.”
Let’s do great things together.
We have had a lot of training and experience to prepare us for this moment. It is a moment of choice, for each of us individually and for us as a nation. Let us choose wisely, and act boldly.
This is our time.