"I got good news and bad news. Bad news is you'll never be the same. You'll never be whole. Ever. What was taken from you can't be replaced. You're daughter's gone. Now the good news, as soon as you accept that, as soon as you let yourself suffer, allow yourself to grieve, You'll be able to visit her in your mind, and remember all the joy she gave you. All the love she knew. Right now, you don't even have that, do you? That's what not accepting this will rob from you. If you shy from the pain of it, then you rob yourself of every memory of her, my friend. Every one. From her first step to her last smile. You'll kill 'em all. Take the pain, Take the pain, Martin. It's the only way to keep her with you.”
The day after Thanksgiving Donald Trump re-tweeted advice from two black women in Milwaukee. Diamond and Silk are among his supporters and recommend that if anyone wanted to fight about Trump at Thanksgiving dinner,“He is your president. Deal with it. Or get over it. Build yourself a little bridge and climb up and get over it,”
I heard this on the radio and at first I couldn’t find it on the web. I wanted to know how to "get over" Trump. Searching for the story I stumbled on advice from psychologists and spiritual directors on how to “get over” the loss of a lover or the death of a loved one. Their advice all centered on acceptance, although I didn’t think that the advice was as good as what I heard in Wind River.
Christine Hassler was the first such counselor of my search. She advises us to accept our losses and if we cannot do that, it is because “we are still judging what happened.... Until you accept what happened with zero judgment of it being bad or wrong in any way, you continue to keep it alive inside you. What happened, happened. It’s in the past. Your judgments about it continue to keep it present and impact your future.... Let go of your opinions and victim stories – they are not serving you. As you do, you empower yourself to free yourself of anything you may have been carrying around like a heavy backpack. Take off the backpack so that you are free to fully embrace all the great stuff that is available to you in the here and now.”
Seems like good advice, but there is a difference between a loss that happens once and one that continues on and on. Trump daily assaults us with bluster, lies, and decisions reversing decades of efforts to make life better for millions of Americans. This is a loss that is “unacceptable,” as Charles Blow reminds us. If we accept these losses, if we accept Trump as our president (who lost the popular vote and won by a quirk in three states), we will have surrendered who and what we are and whatever truth there is in our national life. We can’t “get over” or “accept” the loss of democracy and government that exchanges the desire "to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity,” for the agrandizement of corporate billionaires and those who think they must ally with them.
John Pavlovitz, a Christian minister, writes I Think I Hate This President—and I Think I’m Okay With That. John struggles not to hate anyone as he had been taught, but then lists all of things and people he loves, opposed by Trump. So he hates what is hateful. “And because of the deep love that I have for this country, for its Constitution, and for it’s beautifully radiant diversity—yes, I hate this President. I hate what he and those alongside him are doing to good, loving, decent human beings who call this place home, and I’m going to keep hating such things because that is simply the other side of caring for the least. Silence in the face of oppression isn’t love it’s compliance, it’s participation. Opposing it is how I show who and what I am for. Hatred of injustice is a redemptive way of loving people most threatened by it.” Our anger is righteous.
We have already lost a lot. Long standing values and practices have been trashed. Parts of our government are gone or dissolving, so that we are unrepresented in important parts of the world and unprotected from those who advance themselves and even provide jobs by polluting our water and air and earth. Many aspects of representative democracy are crumbling. We have many reasons to fear unintended consequences of actions being taken that no sensible person would consider.
Acceptance as surrender will not do, but we must find a way to find peace within ourselves while we resist. We can “get over” Trump by surpassing and transcending his every word and action with good, letting nothing go by, letting no one think that he is normal or acceptable. When we have done that, we can claim peace for ourselves, at least until we must rise in resistance again, perhaps tomorrow.
We must accept the reality of our losses, and absorb the pain of it all, but this is not the case of accepting the death of someone who will never return. We will see reason return because the seeds of destruction lie within everything Trump and the Congress are now doing. But the dangers are real. Is it possible that those who lived in Nazi Germany thought it best to "accept" and "get over" Hitler? Resistance is good.
Trump likes to enrage us by his tweets and by his every stupefying statement, so don't bother listening to him. Just keep an eye on the analysis and reviews of the policies and votes that come from the swamp they have created. Share the good ones. Yeah, he tweets that stuff. Yeah, he says stupid and outrageous things. So what? We resist and we fight for justice and a better day. Remind yourself and others what we love, which is why we resist and do not "accept."