visual representation of the silver lining of clouds

Trump and the Coronavirus: the Silver Lining

There’s a reason Donald Trump had to be our president at this time.  In his own way, he is helping by bringing the ridiculousness of our overarching social culture in the US to the surface.  We can see just how ineffective our national government truly is.  It also shows us that the value of capitalism does not work for the majority of our population.  In fact, it goes against our very primal nature.

First, I must commend us as a species for how quickly we have been evolving.  Our ability to spread and share information, both accurate and inaccurate, are astounding.  We can create a myth and debunk it within 24 hours.  Sometimes we debunk “myths” before they’re even a fact – they’re barely the beginning of a pattern (i.e. ibuprofen and coronavirus – not a myth – a baby pattern). Sometimes, we’re debunking a “fact” by spreading a myth (the Mandela Effect and the Berenstain Bears).  As conscious creatures, our ability to engage in mental backflips to keep the reality we want to see, are simply brilliant.

Unfortunately, our mental backflips are also binding.  For example, believing that a man, who behaves the way Donald Trump does, could ever run our country, tells me that we (as a country) are dangerously close (by the amount it took to vote him in ) to prioritizing money as a value (duh capitalism) over the survival and welfare of our own people.  Either that, or we really wanted to see if we could break our government.

The silver lining of this is that the coronavirus is breaking our national capitalist government. That’s not necessarily a bad thing (more on this later).  The coronavirus also broke our national economy – the stock market, the fat cats, etc…  If we hang tight – our community economy will recover much more quickly – as long as we “stick together” – and I mean all of us – not just the semi-privileged, not just the under-privileged, all of us.  The good thing that’s coming out of this brokenness is a global consciousness and value of accountability and authenticity.  The thing that is so difficult with Donald Trump right now, is his inability to remain clearly authentic.  He uses a small truth as bait and clamps down to fill you with poisonous assumptions and generalizations.

He’s not doing it on purpose.  He’s engaging in the same kind of behavior that a 10-year-old bully would, only with different words.  Bully’s often do that to release the extreme rage and anger they feel towards the guardians who poison them.  They do this out of survival, because to rage at the guardians would mean to die on the street, cold and alone.  Survival and fear.  I suspect that he (Trump), picked this up when he was young, as a way to survive whatever situation he was in.  It just so happens, that in the context of capitalism, his form of survival mechanism helped him flourish.  Hell, it brought him all the way to the presidency.  He might have had a longer run if it weren’t for the coronavirus.  I like to think of this virus as the great equalizer.

I honestly don’t blame Donald Trump for his behavior.  This does not mean I excuse or condone it.  He is still part of the same reality the rest of us are – subject to each other’s judgment.  Now, in the context of a global pandemic, where authenticity holds the line between life and death, Trump is floundering.  His floundering is perfect though.  If you look at the honest truth of it – he shows us some really important things about our humanity, as well the actual power of the presidential office.

I believe that given a specific context; an intention to leach or drain (justified as ‘dog eat dog’ circumstances); and the magic of genes to back you up, we would all be like Trump.  Some people might find that insulting, while some of you might find that flattering.  Either way (or any gradient in between), it doesn’t negate the truth of who he is as a representation of what humanity is capable of being.  Truth is we all are representations and the truth of humanity – and as such – get to wake up and chose what we want to become in the world.

The other silver lining that is glowing from this experience, is the recognition that we can rely on our local government way more than our national.  That’s a good thing.  Our local government is part of our community.  Our locally elected officials have more of a say on how our individual lives will be affected on a day by day basis than the National government does.  Yes, national government deals with a lot of our tax money – however – how often does that tax money affect local government?  Very little from what we’re seeing in a life and death situation.

In other words, we put way too much stock in our president and the national government.  The president carries influence – not power.  He can influence many people to do either great, terrible, or stupid things.  We, as people, are the ones who get to decide if that figurehead will influence us.  We get to decide if we agree or disagree.  It becomes dangerous when someone with such a high level of self-esteem issues and insecurities, influences other’s with insecurities, to rise up and engage in atrocious interactions based on assumptions and generalizations.  This is why so many people felt that he would be a dangerous president.  However, what I see unfolding in front of us is a shared desire, by most citizens, for authenticity and transparency.

I watch as many of the news outlets as I can, including ones from outside of the US.  Many of the US outlets (both liberal and conservative) are reacting with shock about his behavior.  Frankly, I’m surprised they’re shocked – because if I trust anything about Donald Trump – I trust that he will be Donald Trump.  I’m not surprised he’s saying and doing the things he’s doing – that’ what he does and always has.  Why would this be any different?  If anything, I’m surprised he hasn’t changed.  I had hopes that something like a global pandemic might bring him to his senses.  So far, I’ve been wrong, though I’m not shocked.  His inability to provide a national response – and instead forcing local governments to “fend for themselves” – shows me how deep his value of a “dog eat dog” world remains.

We will not be the same country we used to be if we all face it like it’s “survival of the fittest”, (i.e. – understood by most as dog eat dog).  This is not our nature.  Humans would have never evolved to this point had we lived on the directive of “every man for himself”.  We evolved by taking care of our tribe – by circling the wagons – by sticking together.  As the saying goes, “together we stand, divided we fall.”

The one golden strand of truth that all humans share is a need to be connected, however beautiful or horrific (and any gradient in between) this may look.  Sometimes we connect through destruction, other times we connect through creation.  Either way, our need to remain connected is a directive sent by our primal brain.  To act against it would ultimately lead to disconnection and the kind of loneliness that leads people to suicide.  Let’s hope that this pandemic helps us recognize how precious our connection with each other is and how important it is to continue cultivating it, even if it’s only online or virtually.  Especially online!

Think of this as an opportunity to connect with a new generation who has been online most of their lives!  They may still be dumb like we were when we were their age (in terms of social norms and recognizing their mortality), and they’re also brilliant.  Let them teach us their new internet ways!  😉