I heard some of Trump’s speech at the Al Smith Dinner last night, and I began to feel truly sad for him. As he was booed over and over again for inappropriate remarks about Clinton and could not seem to grasp how unacceptable and unwelcome his remarks were, I could not help but begin to think about what has made Trump become what he is. I could not help but wonder about what has made him such a broken person.
I not only began to feel sad for him, but also for everyone around him, especially his family. Perhaps if he had experienced more love in his formative years and more examples for how to respect others, especially women, he might have had a deeply happy life instead of one that grabs for more power and approval. Relationships are so important, and we all fall short of helping each other grow as full persons into loving human community, but something has happened to wound Trump’s soul in such a way that it seems unlikely he could ever recover.
If more persons had helped Trump experience a more fully loving community, it might have made a difference, but it seems now that his die is cast and he has chosen the path that will not lead him or those who follow him to a life of care and compassion.
I also feel sad for my country that so many people are drawn to follow Trump down into the abyss of fear and hate instead of pursuing paths of reconciliation and loving kindness. We must find ways to heal whatever it is that makes people believe that the way to their fulfillment depends on the building of walls, the turning away of refugees, and the rejection of persons we experience as “other.” May our individual souls and the soul of our community find healing and peace, somehow. This is the work of our time – this is our common task, and the more we allow the systems and structures that support flourishing community to be diminished, the more difficult our work will be.