The ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world that it leaves to its children.
Some people are horrified at the venom spewing from the mouth of Donald Trump. People at the other end of the spectrum are happy to hear someone express the rage they feel because their lives are not the way they would like to see them. Most of these people don’t dare to share their anger or lash out at anyone who could possibly be responsible for their lives being a mess but suffer in resignation.
The Trump rhetoric is not a reasoned response to feeling angry among his followers. There is no attempt to understand why they are in the situation they are in or to find a reasonable approach to changing that situation. Their sole focus seems to be to rage at those they blame for their misfortune and to destroy the people and institutions they hold responsible.
Trump supporters are not the only ones suffering. Many people silently endure poverty, racism, debt, lack of a good job and medical woes. They could choose rage as well but realize that spewing invective as he does will not change their situation. Nor will it make them feel any better in the long run. Those suffering in both groups do not have the power individually to change their status to that of people with more satisfying lives.
Have you ever known an angry mob to find constructive solutions to their plight? I haven’t. The only way to make reasonable changes is to learn how to work together. But you can’t do this while you are consumed with rage.
People shouting are not in the frame of mind to reason with anyone else about anything. Others who listen to the shouting only hear raw emotion. They don’t hear any details of others’ pain, how it came about or how it affects individuals and families. Neither do they hear anything rational which might become a basis for productive negotiations or cooperation.
So why should we thank Donald Trump? We all have within us the capacity to negotiate with each other toward our common good. All of us have the capacity to descend into blind rage where our words are merely weapons and offer no bridges toward mutual dialog. We can thank him for showing us the worst of which we are capable. He mirrors the depth of rage and spitefulness for which we all have the capacity.
Can you imagine all of the billions of people on earth acting as he does in public? It’s a frightful image to behold. Before we get to this point, we can learn to behave like rational human beings and express our concerns in a way which others can understand and which allows us to work together toward solutions which benefit us all.
Life Lab Lessons
- Write down what makes you angry about your life.
- Try to understand how you got to feel this way.
- Do so without blaming someone else for your misfortune.
- Consider what you have to offer others to better their lives.
- Try out one of your ideas with one other person.