From Your Interim Minister
Something good is going on in this country right now. What’s going on is the attempt on the part of an increasing number of those who did not vote for Donald Trump to understand those who did. Some of our wiser leaders are telling us to avoid thinking of the Trump voters as ‘deplorables,’ the deplorable term Hillary Clinton used, and instead to try to understand why millions of these people voted for someone who seems to represent the antithesis of what so many of us believe is America’s soul and aspiration, even its destiny. I have been watching this reconsideration carefully, because anything else seems like a temper tantrum. I had it brought home with new force when I read part of the book our Ethical Explorations discussion group is reading, Eric Haidt’s The Righteous Mind—Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion. The book explores the way intuition and reason interact in the human psyche, and how some of it has elements of being ‘hard-wired.’ In my view, this human brain activity promises to be an addition to other generally accepted mechanics of the mind, such as causality, and positive/negative reinforcement, and the bio-chemical basis of thought.
We liberals have been un-selfconsciously arrogant about our view of these things. We think we’re right just as stubbornly as the other side thinks it is. And we are indeed in favor of equality and a fair share and decent health care, and all the rest, and believe that this is what Jesus and all good people want. We think in horror that the other side wants to impose its religious values on us. But don’t we do that? From their point of view, aren’t we trying to impose our religious values on them?
An extension of unhelpful liberal thinking is the belief that Donald Trump and Steve Bannon and rest of them are monsters in human form. No such thing exists, although there do exist, of course, humans in monster form. We must not demonize them, or Dick Cheney, or Hitler. We all behave according to our circumstances. It is counterproductive to condemn and dismiss any of them. But it is proper, productive, and consonant with reality, to work to restrain people who do or would do what we term evil, same as with those driven to common sin and common violence due to poverty, racism, and despair. No-one chooses their circumstances. Everything is given to us. Donald Trump didn’t choose to have narcissistic personality disorder, or whatever it is that’s wrong with him. We can and must prevent as much evil-doing as we can, but condemning and wishing to cause pain to damaged souls is unkind and unwise. Let’s work at better understanding.
— Rev. Lee Bond-Upson