Why Donald Trump’s Presidency Will, Surprisingly, Be the World’s Greatest Gift

In the run-up to the election, someone said that if Hillary Clinton was elected, we would get a “wolf in sheep’s clothing.” We would celebrate a woman being the first president and would appreciate her wide-ranging experience in politics. But we would fail to recognize that this is not a time in human history for someone who supports an old system that is dying. If Donald Trump were elected, it was said, we would get “a wolf in wolf’s clothing.” Donald Trump doesn’t hide who he is, what he believes, or his priorities. He tweets them out daily and his cabinet choices demonstrate his commitment to the rich and powerful.

Let me be clear about my own political leanings. I supported Bernie Sanders, believing he was someone who was committed to real change and could bring the country together. When he didn’t get the Democratic nomination, I voted for Hillary Clinton. I felt she was the best next-step to a better future. I believe I was wrong. I think the people are wise in ways that are not apparent. I believe that Donald Trump may bring out the best in the American people and perhaps the office of the Presidency will bring out the best in Donald Trump.

One of the things I liked about Bernie Sander’s message was his recognition that if the people didn’t rise up and come together in support of a better world, no matter who we elected as President, it wouldn’t do much good. I believe Donald Trump’s Presidency can bring people together in a way that can create “the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible,” as Charles Eisenstein articulates it.

In May, 2016 I wrote an article, “The Real Reason Donald Trump Will Be Our Next President.” In it I said our presidential candidate, in many ways, reflects the subconscious view we hold of ourselves. “We may like to hear slogans that tell us ‘we’re the best, America is number 1.’ But the truth is deep inside we don’t like ourselves very well. And the reality is we’re not very likeable.

“It’s hard to feel good about ourselves when we continue to destroy other people and the life-support system on planet Earth. As Charles Eisenstein says in his book, The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible,

‘Who could have foreseen, two generations ago when the story of progress was strong, that the twenty-first century would be a time of school massacres, of rampant obesity, of growing indebtedness, of pervasive insecurity, of intensifying concentration of wealth, of unabated world hunger, and of environmental degradation that threatens civilization?’

“It’s no wonder that rates of depression and suicide are on the rise, particularly among older, white males. Further, more and more people are suffering from chronic pain and are overdosing on pain medications.” One of the reasons cannabis (marijuana) is gaining popularity around the country is that it relieves chronic pain.

Our human ancestors lived in balance with the earth for 2 million years. Six thousand years ago, a blink in time in our human history, our attitude about the earth and its creatures began to change. Rather than seeing life, in all its diversity, as sacred and worthwhile, some humans began to see the earth and its creatures as something to be used. What we did to the earth and the creatures of the earth, we did to ourselves. We came to belief that we are all separate beings, each in our own world, that we must compete with others for our very survival, and its every man for himself. This “me first” story is coming to the end.

In his book, I and Thou, the philosopher Martin Buber says there are two kinds of human relationships: I-Thou and I-It. In relation to nature, ourselves, and God, I-It sees us as separate. Others are to be used for our benefit. I-Thou sees us as involved in a sacred relationship of communion. Others are to be respected and cherished. As Buber says,

“Love is the responsibility of an I for a Thou.”

We’ve reached a point in human history where continuing an “I-It” way of being in the world is killing us. Imagine a person where the brain sees itself as separate from the heart, the kidneys, the lungs. It’s every organ for himself. “I want your blood for myself,” says the brain. “No oxygen for you,” cries the lungs. That person wouldn’t last long.

So, here we are on inauguration day and our country is more divided than ever before. Our new President clearly exemplifies an I-It view of the world. In the mental health world, we call people who embody I-It as suffering from Narcissistic personality disorder. These are a few of the common symptoms:

  • Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance
  • Exaggerating achievements and talents
  • Requiring constant admiration
  • Having a sense of entitlement
  • Taking advantage of others to get what you want
  • Having an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others

Of course, I’m aware that labelling another person, even someone like President Trump who makes it so easy to apply labels, is an I-It approach to the world. I have to admit that I share many of President Trump’s I-It characteristics. I often see myself as knowing more than others and clearly exaggerate my own self-importance (I mean, everyone should read this article. What I have to say is so important). But we can move beyond I-It and I hope by bringing these characteristics to the surface, President Trump, you, and me, can all move beyond I-It to embrace, I-Thou. Sometimes it takes a power archetypal force, such as Donald Trump exemplifies, to help us see ourselves clearly so that we can choose a different path for our future.

Rather than protests opposing Donald Trump’s Presidency, I hope we have I-Thou love-ins in support of all that is sacred and beautiful about our country, every person, every animal, every ethnic and racial group, every being in this great community of life we call the earth. Your comments below are welcome and very much appreciated.

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Comments

  1. Thank you Jed. Well said. I also don’t like what happened and as you, I see this as a wake-up call to the people of the U.S.A. and as we witnessed yesterday by the women’s marches around the globe, the entire world appears to be waking up to the seriousness of the situation we are in. May this shift happen swiftly and peacefully.

    Namaste.
    Tom

    • Tom,

      What we witnessed yesterday throughout the U.S. and around the world is the kind of engagement I was talking about. Its human nature to take our lives for granted, until there is a real threat. When there is one, people often come together and unite for what they truly believe and want. Now we’ll see if people feel strongly enough to stay engaged. I think they will.

      • One good thing I see coming out of the election is increased engagement in politics, especially by the younger crowd, and evidence that social media can respond to events in ways big media misses or is slow to respond (e.g. Women’s March on Washington), enabling even the humblest of citizens to start a wave of engagement with nothing more than a social media account.

  2. Dr. James Wagner says:

    You are misguided at best…This Trump regime pendulum swing will likely break the clock and ruin the quality of human life across the globe . Love ins may serve to pacify we pacifists…while the wolves gorge themselves as they concentrate even more wealth and disenfranchise and exploit even more people and resources.

  3. Mr. Diamond, Anyone that has dealings with both foreign and domestic organized crime plus constantly refuses to pay for the goods and services that were performed and drags those businesses through the court, has been in order to not pay them, has been through several bankruptcies (how do you can you bankrupt a casino), sexually harassment members of the oppose sex and thinks that he/she can get away with it just because he/she is in the upper crust of society doesn’t not deserve any support.

    “Rather than protests opposing Donald Trump’s Presidency,…”

    You need to remember when Obama got elected and then re-elected, all those racist people came out of the woodworks and the Republican Party made it clear that they would not work with him. If Hillary had been elected, there would have been protests on the streets and Trump stated that he would not recognizes her as president and would have contested the election results plus the Republican Party would not work with her.

    ““I-It” way of being in the world is killing us.”

    Well, it has been killing us for the last 47 years thanks to the no government regulation by corporations and wealthy people. We gave corporations and wealthy people every tax break and government subsidies plus have no government regulation in the economy and look what the results are. Eight people owe half the wealth of the poorest people in the world and half the world’s population is living on anywhere from $2 to $10 dollars per day. 50% of Americans are living at or near the poverty level and you have many American kids go to bed hungry every night.

  4. People have tried to work with people like Trump, Bush, Jr., etc., and the end result is that they get brushed aside or crush. Look at what happen to Martin Luther King, Macoclom X, the American Socialist Party, various labor unions activists, etc. Time to take the kid gloves off.

  5. Gunther, I agree. That’s why we need a new way of making our voices heard and bringing about change. We saw some of it yesterday with millions marching. We’ll see even more as people organize to change who gets elected in local, state, and national elections. And even more when we address the underlying issues that are destroying our country and the world–poverty, wars, fear of others, economic inequality, environmental destruction, etc.

  6. If nothing else, the Trump presidency has show us how politically polarized this country is.
    It would be a good place to start the healing. We’re all in this together.

  7. Not five minutes after reading this and making my post I ran across this.
    Music for our times???

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvW2v9dUjI8

    • Cal, That was a good memory to invoke and re-listen. We do go through these times where power concentrates to a degree that the people rise up in protest and change.

  8. Having read your opinion, it is the last time I shall read anything you have to say. Misguided is the kindest that can be applied. No need for respose. I shan’t see it.

  9. I think we need to be honest. This is a very scary time in history. Nothing like this has ever occurred before, voting in a blatant misogynist, racist, and psychopath that is intent on undoing all our forebears have put in place, over time. When Bush was elected, especially to another term, I heard the same jargon: “We needed this wake-up call.” Well, not much changed. And I don’t think it will this time either, in terms of changing minds. Thinking it will is positive twist on a deadly situation. Already, Trump is undoing climate change agreements and protections, and he has been in office two days. Jed, in what specific ways do you see this becoming a positive change, besides people getting upset and coming together to make some noise?

    Climate change denial alone is enough to make Trump and his appointees a nightmare situation.

    Personally, I will continue to do what I do best and more. But, like Trump, I call a spade a spade, and am not calling this a blessing in disguise. And I hope I am wrong.

    • Jack,
      I agree. These are scary times. If good comes from this Presidency and not one disaster after another, it will be because more and more people organize to stand up for the kind of America we want. We have to stop what we can and create what we want. Sometimes things need to get very bad before people act for the better.

  10. Deryl Adderson says:

    Thanks Jed – I choose to still believe that Love trumps hate and contrast will help more and more people see that – just my story

    • Deryl,

      I agree that love trumps hate, but fear can over-ride love if we give in to our reptilian instincts for self-preservation and believe that “we’re #1” and to hell with others. We’re all part of this wonderful world. It makes as much sense to proclaim “America first” as it would be for the brain to proclaim its commitment to himself at the expense of the heart, lungs, and kidneys.

  11. Hillary Clinton’s loss DOES matter and your attempts to minimize it are not persuasive. Bernie supporters who cruelly and irresponsibly retweeted Russian lies and propaganda and weakened the candidacy of the person who has been repeatedly called the most qualified presidential candidate ever should have known better. As this piece in 538, not to mention your own piece, shows, sexism is still pervasive on left and right. https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/how-unconscious-sexism-could-help-explain-trumps-win/ Put aside your self-congratulatory mansplaining and consider the possibility that your own hidden sexism led you to betray women and endanger our planet and life on our planet.

    The gracious thing to do now would be to apologize to all the women you wronged by not supporting the most qualified, viable, and history-making candidate–and by far the more subversive and revolutionary candidate, as the unending gut-level vitriol she suffered from both right and left attests– wholeheartedly from day 1. Now that it’s too late, a real feminist man would at least know enough to keep his mouth shut at this point and try to learn something.

    Please remember that you as a white man can afford to say that Trump is just fine, but you are not suffering from his policies the way other more vulnerable members of society are. He is already attacking my abortion rights and my body and my self respect as a woman. I feel triggered in my most intimate body. Hillary was a real feminist, an indomitable champion and heroine for women’s rights and freedoms. Now we may never have a woman ever elected as president, ever, quite likely not in my lifetime–if indeed we ever even have a freely elected president again.

    I may have lost my lifelong dream to see a woman candidate elected before I die, many fear for our reproductive freedom, health, safety, and lives, and you dare to claim with the arrogant certainty of the patriarchy (Greatest! Will Be)! that everything is just fine. Imagine substituting race difference for gender difference in this political situation and perhaps you will have a better idea of how much privilege your post claims and how hurtful it might be to members of the group who lost our chance at being represented in the presidency.

    • Annie, Thanks for writing. But let me be clear. I voted in the primaries for Bernie instead of Hillary, not because I’m sexist, but because I thought he was a better candidate. If Elizabeth Warren had run, I would have voted for her. I think she’s an even better candidate. I voted for Hillary for President, not because she was a woman, but because I thought she was the best candidate, for many of the reasons you mention. I may be a white male, but my wife is female, and my daughter is black, as are four of my 17 grandchildren. Believe me, I’m aware of what we’re in for with a Trump Presidency and I think our only hope is for women to lead the way as they did on Saturday and for men of integrity and conscience to stand with them. We are all needed now, more than ever.

  12. Thank you for this thoughtful article. The Chinese say: Fear not the true villian, fear the false hero. Democracy shouldn’t count on the leadership of a Wise King, rather it should be a system of check and balances through which the people hold their government accountable. I hope that Trump would truly made America great again by focusing on its domestic problem first. I’m not a US citizen but I’m curious: what do you think of Ron Paul?

    • Walter, I appreciate your thoughts. I agree we need to have a system that gets back to its working intent of checks and balances. We have gotten too top heavy with government by the rich and for the rich. I see the people getting more involved and speaking out and Donald Trump acting as a catalyst for change. His woundedness may keep him from being as good as he might be. But some people move through their wounds and become healthier as they age. We’ll see.