I came across a YouTube video today about forgiveness and letting go of fear and anger. To let go of fear is to be free and to forgive and forget is to release you from the power of the person who hurt you.
I thought about that. What do I fear? Who have I not forgiven?
While I am a chicken, with all the character flaws that entails, I do forgive and forget quickly, the consequence of having a small brain. One person I have not forgiven is Donald Trump. It bugs me that he’s our president. He doesn’t deserve it, he didn’t earn it and the audacity of the guy to think that he’s more qualified than Hilary Clinton, Mitt Romney, John McCain, Bernie Sanders or Barney the Dinosaur, for that matter, to lead this country, just chaps my ass. It will take years for the USA to regain the respect it’s lost with him at the helm. How can our allies trust us to make good choices in the future? Will they ever forgive us for this choice? Which countries now see us as vulnerable? You wouldn’t think that one person could do so much damage in less than a year’s time yet here we are.
What’s more disturbing to me is that my anger with him has led to a pervasive mistrust of men in general. There are exceptions, of course-the men I associate with regularly here and in “real” life and some who have taken a stand against this presidency. It’s more the collective unknown male species that I’m distrustful of and I realize that’s not particularly fair. I am sorry to the good men out there. This isn’t meant to be a male bashing post. I have two sons and a good husband. I would hate to hear of anyone mistrusting them because of their sex. I’m trying to work my way through these feelings. And yet, I’m just so sick of wars that accomplish nothing but endless misery. I’m sick of gun violence. I’m particularly sick of patriarchy and of how religion is leveraged as a justification for repression and violence.
It all comes down to fear, doesn’t it? The Steve Bannons and David Dukes of the world are afraid that Muslims and people of color might take over so they rant about religious war and Christianity. The Mawlawi Haibatullah Akhundzadas of the world fear the opposite so they rant about Allah. And they all fear women, right? The tools employed to subdue half the population include sex, shame, violence, lack of education and lack of basic freedoms, but no tool has been used as successfully as religion to convince women that feminine submission is all part of the plan. No wonder they cling to religion. Without it, a lot more women would ask “Who are YOU to hold me back?”. I believe I am not alone with my feelings. I hear it in conversation; I read it in blog posts and articles, and I notice it as a theme in movies and books. There’s a tsunami of grievance sweeping the country; #metoo is not an isolated trend. It’s an outcome of a larger movement. It’s a clear sign that women have had it with patriarchy and with the violence it embraces.
Maybe that’s how I can, not now, but eventually, forgive Donald Trump. His election woke up a lot of us and made us angry. Anger may be his only legacy. Maybe it’s the catalyst that will bring change. Maybe, after he’s safely out of the way and in a home somewhere getting the care he badly needs, I can forgive. And then, maybe, I can work on all the fears that keep me up at night.