The One Way to Resist Trump’s Shock Politics and Win Back the World We Really Want

Whether you are a Democrat, Republican, or Independent, it’s becoming clear that Donald Trump has not delivered on the promises that got him elected. Some still hope that he will “make America great again.” But the key promises that got him elected were these:

  • Make America safe.
  • Create jobs and get more people working.
  • Replace Obamacare with a better health plan.

There is no evidence that he has delivered on these promises or that he intends to do so. What he has delivered on is his promise to enrich the CEOs of corporate America, starting with himself and his family.

I’m reading Naomi Klein’s new book, No is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need. More than anyone I know, she helps us understand the Trump phenomenon, to place it in its proper historical context, and more importantly to show how to keep Trump’s brand of disaster politics from sucking the air out of our collective lungs.

When I read her book The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism it brought clarity to much of the chaos in the world that I felt unable to understand or make sense of. It became clear, for instance, that Hurricane Katrina was less a national disaster, than a Corporate opportunity to enrich itself. Following Katrina, New Orleans’s residents, many of them poor, were scattered throughout the country. Rather than seeing their communities rebuilt, they saw them being replaced. The rich got richer and the poor got removed. [Read more…]

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?’ [Read more…]

Jed Diamond’s Trends and Predictions for 2017

18dsfu_vpzi-shane-hauserFor me, 2016 was a time of massive change. My wife and I moved from our home of 25 years in the beautifully quiet hills outside of Willits and bought a home in town where we could walk everywhere. I turned 73, which isn’t an obviously important age like 21, 60, 75, 80, or 100, but it was the year I healed old wounds, learned to love, and let go of fear.

I wrote about my process in a series of articles: (1) The Soul’s Code: Embracing My Destiny as a Man (2) My Mother, My Wife, My Marriage: How Inherited Family Trauma Can Impact Our Relationships; (3) Lost Fathers: How Deaths, Divorces, and Disconnections Impact Our Health and Happiness.

On the world stage, Time Magazine notes, “Between historic elections, populist movements in America and Europe and the loss of Prince, Muhammad Ali, Leonard Cohen, and more, 2016 was a year like no other. In the last 12 months, Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election, the U.K. voted to leave the E.U. and the world witnessed the destruction of Aleppo and the desperation of its citizens through social media. In moments of hope, nearly 200 countries ratified the Paris climate change agreement, refugee athletes competed in the Olympics, the Chicago Cubs broke a century-long curse to win the World Series, and Native American water protectors stood firm at Standing Rock.”

Each year I pick a Tarot card from the Voyager Deck. For 2017 it was “The Magician.” Here’s what it said, in part: “The magician symbolizes the law of talent. Magic comes from the ancient Magh, meaning power. Your power comes from being a channel for the universe.” So here are the things I see coming in 2017:

  1. Love and fear compete for our attention.

In 1979 Gerald Jampolsky, M.D., wrote a little book, Love is Letting Go of Fear. In the introduction he says, “In 1975, the outside world saw me as a successful psychiatrist who appeared to have everything he wanted. But my inner world was chaotic, empty, unhappy, and hypocritical. My twenty-year marriage had recently ended in a painful divorce. I had become a heavy drinker and had developed chronic, disabling back pain as a means of handling guilt.”

Jampolsky found personal healing in A Course in Miracles, and founded the first Center for Attitudinal Healing in Marin County (My wife, Carlin, was one of the early volunteers). There are now centers throughout the world based on this simple statement: Teach only love for that is what you are. 2017 will bring multiple opportunities to promote love or fear. Choose love.

  1. Mental illness and mental health are turned upside down.

My father was the black sheep of the family. His brothers were all successful businessmen who focused on the bottom line and made lots of money. My father was a dreamer who wanted people to love each other and he became increasingly depressed when he couldn’t fit into the system. He was sent to a mental hospital, diagnosed as manic-depressive, and given shock treatments. He later escaped from the “nut house” and became a successful puppeteer in San Francisco and taught people from different cultures how to love one another. [Read more…]

5 Things You Can Do Today to Make A Better World Under a Trump Presidency

gb5vdzcivba-austin-banThe world works in mysterious ways. As Donald Trump went from being seen as a comical figure that could never be taken seriously by the Republican Party to a serious threat to our democracy, I became increasingly afraid for my family and our collective future. In May, I wrote an article, “The Real Reason Donald Trump Will Be Our Next President” and another one just before the election, “Waking Up From the Nightmare: Why America Will Come Together After Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump Is Elected President.”

I felt there were larger forces playing out in the world, including out-of-control change and complexity that contributed to our fears and our subconscious desire for a dominant male figure who we imagined would protect us from “them.” When we can’t seem to address our real problems like global climate change, the destruction of our life support system including clean water, and extreme economics that make a few very rich and the majority increasingly poor, we look for scapegoats.

Donald Trump gave us a number of “bad guy” scapegoats he told us he would fight against including:

  • The political establishment
  • The media
  • The Mexicans
  • The Muslims
  • The Chinese

More than a few of us bought into the fear. Now we all have a chance to keep the fear going and find our own scapegoats, or we can begin a different kind of practice that can reduce the fear that is at the root of the violent mentality that has brought Donald Trump into power.

While attending a healing ceremony and tribute to a close friend who was murdered on Thanksgiving, my heart was sad and I felt the horror of violence that seems to be so prevalent in the world today. While waiting for the ceremony to begin, I chanced to read an article by David Stendl-Rast,  a Benedictine monk, teacher, and author. What he said, moved me deeply. He offers a perspective and some specific practices that I intend to put into my life today. [Read more…]

Waking Up From the Nightmare: Why America Will Come Together After Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump Is Elected President

photo-1455215540020-876b3233799fMost everyone agrees that either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton will be the next President of the United States. Whoever gets elected a large proportion of the population will be more afraid than they are now. Some will be so afraid of the consequences they will consider leaving the country. Some will actually leave.

Fearful people often become aggressive and look for someone to attack. We’ve seen that kind of violence against police officers as well as violence perpetrated by police officers. Fear and anger also leads to terrorist attacks, bullying, and aggression towards “outsiders.” It also leads to the kind of shaming and blaming we’ve experienced during this long election cycle.

Meanwhile the major problems we face continue to get worse:

  • Global warming and climate change produces more draughts and heat waves.
  • Population increase puts greater pressure on limited resources.
  • Conflicts and wars cause more destruction and displacement.
  • Refugees flee their lands and create additional fear as they seek safe havens.
  • Extreme capitalism has generated massive wealth for some, but has devastated the planet and failed to improve the lives of many.
  • Environmental degradation and loss of species threats the foundations of a stable ecosystem.
  • Overt and institutional racism undermines our shared humanity.
  • Sexism creates distrust between men and women and keeps our economic and political systems from being as effective as they could be.

We could add additional major problems we’re concerned about. But let’s be honest, how many of us feel confident that, given the state of our divided country, these problems are likely to be addressed constructively if either candidate is elected?

In fact, a recent Pew survey of a large sampling of both Republicans and Democrats found that few are excited about the prospects of either candidate getting elected.

  • Just 11% of all registered voters say they would be excited if Trump wins.
  • 26% say they would be relieved.
  • A majority say they would be disappointed (34%) or angry (25%).
  • Just 12% overall would be excited if Clinton wins.
  • 36% would be relieved.
  • Nearly half would be disappointed (29%) or angry (20%).

It’s no wonder that more and more people suffer from anxiety, depression and Irritable Male Syndrome (IMS). But what underlies all these problems? I believe it’s the feeling that things are out of control and we feel helpless to solve any of the real problems that threaten our peace and well-being. It’s why so many people are willing to take a chance on electing Donald Trump. And although it’s easy for many people to demonize Donald Trump, and easy for others to demonize Secretary Clinton, it really does little to solve our problems.

The Real Problems Facing America and the World

There are two underlying problems that we need to understand if we are going to actually solve our problems, not make them worse. The first is that things are changing so rapidly our brains are constantly on overload. The second is that the world has become so complex we can’t really figure out how to fix things. We have become “strangers in a strange land.” We feel we’re on a run-away train heading over a cliff.
[Read more…]

Ten Commandments to Avoid Extinction and Redeem Humanity

5422300740_2553f8fed0_zIt’s summer time and the living is easy. The Olympics were jumpin’ and politics is nigh. Donald is rich and his daughter is good looking. But we best pay attention to the real problems or we’re all going to cry. I don’t often think about climate change these days. But I just returned from Seattle to spend five days with my men’s group. We stayed on Puget Sound which is usually cool, but this trip it was in the high 90’s. My wife had flown to Portland for a wedding. It was over 100 degrees and she reported that it was so hot they were worried about the health of wedding guests and each got a fan and frozen water in an attempt to stay cool.

Now, hot days don’t really tell us much about overall climate change and global warming, but they remind us to pay attention. According to a July, 2016 report, Climate Change Indicators, by the Environmental Protection Agency, “The Earth’s climate is changing. Temperatures are rising, snow and rainfall patterns are shifting, and more extreme climate events – like heavy rainstorms and record high temperatures – are already happening. Many of these observed changes are linked to the rising levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in our atmosphere, caused by human activities.”

We’re aware of the various “hot spots” around the globe where conflicts are going on. We hear about bombings in the Middle East and killings at home, but rarely associate wars and terrorist attacks with climate change and the end of the era of cheap oil. But we should. In his book, The Party’s Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies, climate expert Richard Heinberg says, “The world is changing before our eyes—dramatically, inevitably, and irreversibly. The change we are seeing is affecting more people, and more profoundly, than any that human beings have ever witnessed. I am not referring to a war or terrorism incident, a stock market crash, or global warming, but to a more fundamental reality that is driving terrorism, war, economic swings, climate change and more: the discovery and exhaustion of fossil energy resources.”

[Read more…]

Who Do You Trust to Be Our Next President?

President Trust picWhen the election season began most people believed that Hillary Clinton would be one of the final three still in the race in May, 2016. Few people thought that Bernie Sanders would be in the picture and a viable candidate to win the Democratic nomination. Fewer still thought that Donald Trump would be scowling out at us as the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party.

Although I think Donald Trump would be the worst choice the American people could make as our next president, I suggested in a recent article that there were a number of reasons he was garnering as much attention and votes as he has thus far:

  1. Our Presidential Candidates Reflect the View We Hold of Ourselves.

I suggested that many Americans have a feeling that the world we are creating for our children, grandchildren, and future generations is profoundly damaged and we don’t feel kindly towards ourselves. 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.

When we’re depressed and in pain we don’t always make good choices, in our own lives and in our choices for President. [Read more…]

The Real Reason Donald Trump Will Be Our Next President

5439999805_474811d69f_zA lot of people who identify as Democrats, Republicans, and Independents don’t want Donald Trump to be our next President. Yet, millions of men and women continue to vote for him despite unfavorable ratings that continue to climb. For the first time in more than 30 years of the ABC News/Washington Post poll’s history, Donald Trump earned the highest unfavorable rating among Americans as a front-running candidate in a presidential election, just barely falling behind the unfavorable rating of David Duke, former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, when he ran for office during the 1992 election.

Mr. Trump received an unfavorable rating by 67 percent of Americans surveyed in the ABC/Washington Post poll released April 14, 2016, which is unprecedented for a leading candidate during an election season. The only other time a candidate saw such strong dislike during an election, was Duke who was rated unfavorably by 69 percent of Americans in an ABC/Post poll in February 1992. Unlike Trump, Duke was not successful in his campaign, winning fewer than 120,000 votes and zero delegates in the race for the GOP presidential nomination. Meanwhile, Mr. Trump has currently won more than 8 million votes in pursuit of the GOP nomination.

It should be noted that Hillary Clinton, the presumptive nominee of the Democratic party, also has a very high unfavorable rating. Hillary Clinton was seen unfavorably by 52 percent in an ABC/Post poll last month, 2 percentage points from her worst, 54 percent unfavorable rating in April, 2008. That was the highest unpopularity in ABC/Post polling for any Democratic Party candidate in an election year, albeit still far lower than Mr. Trump’s.

How do we account for millions of people voting for candidates who are seen so negatively? Why do I think Donald Trump may be our next President? What would have to change in the U.S. to keep Mr. Trump from being elected? And most importantly what would have to change in the U.S. to have people in office that reflects the best in us, not the worst? [Read more…]

How Long Would Trump Have Lasted as a Presidential Candidate Had He Been a Woman?

5440384453_4669d0096b_zAs we move more deeply into the election season, it becomes evident that we are a deeply divided country. Government is gridlocked and the private sector does what it does best—makes more and more money for those who already have a lot of money. But there is one thing everyone seems to agree on. This is an election like no other in modern history.

CNN says, “This presidential cycle has been full of twists and turns, but there’s been one constant: Conventional wisdom has been dead wrong.” We see this most clearly in the continuing popularity of Donald Trump in spite of his outrageous rhetoric including the following:

  • “An ‘extremely credible source’ has called my office and told me that Barack Obama’s birth certificate is a fraud.”
  • “Ariana Huffington is unattractive, both inside and out. I fully understand why her former husband left her for a man – he made a good decision.”
  • “You know, it really doesn’t matter what the media write as long as you’ve got a young, and beautiful, piece of ass.”
  • “I would bomb the sh– out of them. I would just bomb those suckers, and that’s right, I’d blow up the pipes, I’d blow up the refineries, I’d blow up every single inch, there would be nothing left.”
  • “I’ve said if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.”
  • “My fingers are long and beautiful, as, it has been well documented, are various other parts of my body.”

These kinds of statements repulse many. As a trauma-informed therapist they are red flags of a person who has suffered serious abuse, neglect, and abandonment. Could you imagine a female presidential candidate getting away with these kinds of statements? It’s difficult to even contemplate.

But Frank Bruni expands our thinking in a New York Times Op Ed column, “If Donald Trump Changed Genders:”

“Imagine for a moment, the presidential candidacy of a rich, brash real estate magnate and reality TV star named Donna Trump,” says Bruni. [Read more…]

Why Bernie Will Win: We’ve All Been Screwed and We’re Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired

21581179719_571bb5a7ab_zWhen I first heard that Bernie Sanders was running for President, I didn’t know much about him or what he stands for. As I learned more I realized this is finally someone who believes in supporting the 99% of us (Republicans, Democrats, Independents, and others) and not the 1% or of those who have money and power in the U.S. Once I understood what he believes in and has practiced his whole life, I felt bad that he didn’t have any chance to win. It seemed to be Hillary’s time and having a woman President might be a positive change to the good-old boys network that has ruled the presidency since the beginning.

One of the people whose perspective I respect is Thom Hartmann a well-known radio commentator and author of such diverse books as The Edison Gene: ADHD and the Gift of the Hunter Child, Walking Your Blues Away: How to Heal the Mind and Create Emotional Well-Being (the most innovative books on treating ADHD, depression, and other mood disorders), and his most recent book, The Crash of 2016: The Plot to Destroy America–and What We Can Do to Stop It. In that book he surfaces what more and more people know to be true. Our country is in real trouble and we need real change if we’re going to come out of our downward death spiral. (On this point, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are in full agreement).

Here’s what Hartmann says in the Introduction to The Crash Of 2016, “The United States is more vulnerable today than ever before-including during the Great Depression and the Civil War-because the pillars of democracy that once supported a booming middle class have been corrupted, and without them, America teeters on the verge of the next Great Crash.” Here’s what he has to say about why he thinks Bernie will win.

If anyone has ever had to deal with a major chronic illness, we know that it’s hard to have energy for anything else when we’re in pain and our lives are overwhelmed just getting through the day. Looking honestly at the state of our country’s health, we have to conclude, as a people, we’re pretty sick. [Read more…]