The election of Donald Trump shocked the United States and the entire world. The need to resist came almost immediately in reaction to the outrageous outcome of this election. However, more than just resisting and putting all our energy fighting “against” what is, we must take a good look at ourselves and proactively build a new society with a revolution of values at its core.
Trump is the consequence of an already broken society.
As many, I felt broken the night of November 8th. I could not believe that such a character could rise to power supported by a hate-filled platform. After weeks of pain, disgust, introspection, and research, I am coming to the conclusion that maybe Trump’s election is a blessing in disguise.
Before you come at me jumping to conclusions, please hear me out. I am not a Trump supporter, by any stretch of the imagination. I actually no longer believe in politics at all. I am just arguing that the situation of American society was disastrous well before Trump took office. While the level of emotional intelligence of President Obama is unarguably better than Trump’s, let’s take a look at simple facts:
- America ranks 1st in worldwide military expenditures, “World military spending totaled more than $1.6 trillion in 2015. The U.S. accounted for 37% of the total. U.S. military expenditures are roughly the size of the next seven largest military budget around the world, combined.”
- America deported 2.5 millions undocumented immigrants from 2009 to 2015. While this is mainly due to a change in definition of deportation under Bush’s administration, it contrasts greatly with the 2.1 millions people that were deported from the U.S. in the span of 105 years (from 1892 to 1997).
- America ranked 50th out of 55 countries in healthcare in 2014, “According to a Bloomberg index that assesses life expectancy, health-care spending per capita and relative spending as a share of gross domestic product”.
- American students ranks 4oth in math, 25th in science literacy and 24th in reading literacy according to of an ongoing study by the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) that compares academic achievement in 73 countries.
All of this was part of the situation before Trump took office and I did not even touch on climate change and nutrition. This speaks volume in terms of priorities and how we act as a society.
“War becomes perpetual when it is used as a rationale for peace.” – Norman Solomon.
Just to be clear, I do not consider this the record of Obama’s policies at all: he undoubtedly left the country in a much better place than it was when he found it. This record is ours. We are all at fault and we must own it. This is the consequence of decades of standing by while greed and wars took control of the country through our tax dollars and our personal choices. Over half of the discretionary federal spending was already dedicated to military in 2015: where was your outrage back then? Where was your outrage when tens of thousands of people were deported every year? Where was your outrage when America ranked rockbottom in healthcare and education? American values are not in the right place and they have not been for a long time. We are a violent country. George Carlin warned us about it years ago: his words sound truer than ever.
Of course Donald Trump is taking the country to an even darker place: but he is a result. A consequential logic; a breaking point. Would you have woken up if Hillary had won the election? Probably not. You might have celebrated like there’s no tomorrow. Today we have to look at ourselves in the mirror and cease the real opportunity to implement a revolution of values.
Resisting is not enough. We must proactively engage in a revolution of values.
Ok so you started to #resist? Beautiful. What have you done so far? You expressed your outrage on social media, participated to a couple of protests and maybe made some calls to your local representatives? This is a good start, but do you really believe that this is enough to implement a revolution of values? All these actions imply that the problem exists outside of yourself; inside the government, or in society to be exact. However we seem to forget that we are society. We have the society and the leaders we deserve. Have you taken the opportunity to audit yourself?
“We have the society and the leaders we deserve.”
Ask yourself these simple questions:
- Do my actions match my values? Pick a social issue that really resonates with you and evaluate honestly how actively you are contributing to change. If you are only venting on social media or complaining about it: how does that help? Alignment between values, thoughts and actions is the most powerful element of change but requires efforts and a lot of courage.
- How do I spend my money? Do your spending match your values? Do you feed a big corporate unethical cow or do you spend your money on honest corporations? Do you check the values of the businesses you invest in? Your dollar is the strongest form of activism you can use. If unethical companies no longer receive your business they will disappear. This is as simple as this. Mindful spending will lead to the growth of conscious organizations.
- Where do I focus my attention? What kind of media are you consuming? Most importantly how do you feel while consuming media or after consuming media? Do you feel elevated? Angry? Outraged? Are you being informed or are you being misinformed? When watching the news, namely on cable TV ask yourself, “who is benefiting from showing me this information?” Do not get fooled by mainstream media agenda. Focus on positive content that elevates you. Train yourself to see the good in people and in society and I promise you that you will find it every single time.
- How do I speak to people around me? This is probably the most important one. I truly believe that we create the world by the way we speak to each other. Words matter. If you #resist on social media but treat your spouse or your coworkers like crap, what good does that serve? If you insult Trump supporters for their lack of compassion and empathy what good does that serve? It is indeed easier said than done, fighting fire with fire does not go a long way. As Michelle Obama perfectly stated, “when they go low, we go high.”
This is not easy for me either. I am no Gandhi and I am calling myself out every single day. But it is important to realize that we all have a choice. Always. Not necessarily an easy one, I will gladly admit. Donald Trumps is indeed empowering a hateful part of the population but we have to use this as a wake-up call for all of us to take responsibility and finally start this crucial revolution of values. We cannot respond to hate with hate, and to violence with violence. Those changes have to take place every single day, by the way we act, by the choices we make and by the way we interact with one another. Significant changes never came from government. It came from the people. Law being a matter of power and not justice, a true revolution of values come from individuals; and it starts with you.