"All That's Left," the song I sent you on Inauguration Day, is now available from iTunes, Spotify and other digital stores. I hope you enjoy it.
I recently attended a lecture by the Jungian psychiatrist and author James Hollis, at the Palisades Community Church in Washington. Hollis spoke to the social psychological roots of the rise of a figure like Trump. Displacing Trump requires not only political organizing, but self-searching and expanding our capacity for empathy.
Each day strains our understanding of what democratic society can accommodate. We must organize to defend what we care about. For Public Citizen's part, we are suing Trump; challenging the White House executive order that would arbitrarily overturn the rules that keep our air, water, roads and consumer goods safe.
Somehow, though, I don't find opposing Trump very satisfying on its own. I read articles and listen to friends and people I generally respect. I hear outrage, accusation, and sometimes pain or fear. And that matters.
I also want to hear reflection. A sense from one another of how our deep prejudices and judgments of people who think or live differently, including those who voted for this government, alienates us from them. Anger is real, appropriate and perhaps necessary. Yet I don't feel anger alone will get us where we need to go.
Our certainty concerns me. Our occasional contempt. It is harder to learn that way.
This month I would like to spotlight "The Hard Path to Peace." I wrote this song for a different moment, principally about friends in harm's way in Afghanistan and Iraq. Then as now, it seemed a risk to have too single-minded a view of the conflict, or to wholly embrace or dismiss the views of either successive U.S. administration. Every perfect speech works to our conceit.
Unless we hear the legitimacy of another's pain, Hollis reminds us, there will be no reconciliation. The alternative for our society, as with most relationships, is to make things worse.
I suppose I feel that some of the most important work I can do is within. I will understand if that sounds naive, but I don't think it is. Somehow, in certain areas of our lives, we may have to become more forgiving, less aggressive, and less in need of being right.