Like most people, I watch the news of Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy with utter disbelief coupled with mortification and horror. The mere thought that a person like this could possibly (although highly unlikely) assume the highest office in the US is enough to catapult even the most optimistic person into a state of abject despair.
And, naturally, the news lately has also been filled with stories about American citizens researching ways to relocate to other countries if Trump should ever be elected President. Though, to be fair, this phenomenon occurs whenever a potential party or individual commonly disliked is in an electable position. Many conservatives vowed to emigrate if Obama was reelected in 2012, but the mass exodus never occurred.
It’s tempting to lose hope in the face of troubling circumstances. Let’s say that Trump were elected, hypothetically. The likelihood that anything he would do as president would immediately affect us on a personal or individual level is minimal. Especially given that Congress is filled with people, many within his own party, who despise him. At most, it’d be four years of stagnation, obstruction and not getting much done. If anything.
And the chances of him becoming President are slim, anyway.
So, why are we freaking out? It’s because we have an expectation that things should be a certain way. We think people like Donald Trump shouldn’t be in the position they’re in. Which further makes us question our faith in humanity. After all, some of our neighbors, friends, family members and colleagues are supporting him. Someone must be, right?
Optimistic people and people who walk in the light of hope and love don’t necessarily require that they’re surrounded by optimistic, loving and hopeful people. Often, we’re the only ones in our network carrying the torch of hope forward. Collective dissonance in society can suck us in, destroy our faith in each other and ourselves. But, when you really think about it, nothing – no external circumstance – should be powerful enough to deteriorate our hope.
We, as social creatures, have a long and torrid history of social upheaval, suffering, struggle and strife. There have been large stretches of history that have been especially troublesome and painful. Even today, in many parts of the globe, people struggle. People long for freedom, health and nourishment for both body and mind. We have no reason to expect this reality we share to be anything other than it is; a product of our collective unconsciousness; of ego control run amok.
Like the ebbs and flows of the ocean, as the clouds move across the sky, some pillowy and white and others dark and filled with torment, life has ups and down. There will inevitably be struggles. Maybe the issue at hand – Trump’s “success” in the polls – isn’t comparable to actual suffering and torment, but it’s something that nonetheless makes our continued optimism a challenging thing to secure.
The questions are:
What can/will happen that will cause me to abandon my hope?
What can/will happen that will make it impossible to sustain my optimism?
What can/will happen that will cause me to lose sight of the wonders of love, compassion, peace and humanity?
Naturally, we don’t know what tomorrow brings. We don’t even know what the rest of the day brings, much less the next few minutes. We can only inhabit this time and space as mindfully and peacefully as possible. Despite what may or may happen, our reliance on the spirit of love and compassion should never be allowed to wither. It’s far too important and far too great for one set of difficult circumstances.
Have faith. Together, WE are the force of hope and love. It resides in us…and always has.