Think about it for a second. Vulnerability can mean being in contact with a sense of helplessness. Hopefully, this can lead to memories of despair that once upon a time may have felt lethal and endless, but now hopefully don’t have to remain so.
People who love Trump seem very set on not only worshipping him but on defending him and identifying with him. If Jeffrey Epstein, the notorious billionaire who is alleged to have pandered in sex trafficking with under age girls committed suicide as he did, and has been linked to Trump at least in the past, the Trump supporters’ script is already written. Trump is an innocent guy whom liberals love to hate and accuse. There is a conspiracy about, that aims only to smear him.
Even people who allege Christian values of decency and morality seem to skip the rules when it comes to their leader. Well, you know, everyone does stuff and, look; he never said he was perfect. If his treatment of women has been demeaning and degrading and compromising and ugly, well look again; he is human and Christianity is all about pardon.
I think some of us need to remember how vulnerable it can be to seek the truth. Optimally we start out believing in the perfection of our leaders, our parents, and our moral commandments. What starts out as a supreme set of rules, gets to be questioned. Whereas when we are young we need to idealize leaders so as to have stability, hopefully we grow to become more independent and more able to rely on our own judgments and the supports of others who can help us without smothering us or owning our intellect and our souls.
Some of us get stuck in arrested development. And it is not always the obviously weak and needy among us. Sometimes it’s the bully or the grandiose one or the one who seems to be able to fire anyone—someone like Jeffrey Epstein for example. The bully has been bullied in the past, but here I want to talk to the rest of us, those who get enmeshed in personality worship.
The personality worship we are witnessing in the time of Trump for many makes the truth irrelevant. It makes evidence a figment of the imagination of the other side. It makes knowing about anything that might puncture our worship of our higher authority, tantamount to feeling like everything is crumbling. In other words it is too scary.
How can we be brave if we can’t face the truth? How can we be brave if we can’t stand to admit that we are scared to face the truth, at the very least? After all we depend on a structure, a set of values, some things and people on whom we can rely. When things become chaotic we shudder. And when we learn that the people we believed in have lied to us all along, we can feel truly downtrodden. In other words, we can feel not only betrayed but also like fools. And we can feel confused as to where to turn.
Of course we can go from one leader to another, from one religion to another, from one cult to another. And if we should decide to really want the truth, we need to be supported by people who won’t deride us for having been naïve and wrong.
This is a big question we should be asking more often. Do we want the evidence, even if it implicates those we love or those we have believed in. Do we want to listen to our children who tell us priests have abused them, or other religious or scholastic authorities or sports coaches? Do we want to look at each other and put down our figurative arms and say we want to know the truth about all the things—the racism, the corruption, the inequalities, and the fact that people in power love to see us fighting with each other? Do we want to face that each and every one of us is prejudiced to some degree and that we will to some degree have to interrupt our certainty to weather the storms of what it can feel like to doubt—not only others but ourselves?
It’s not an easy choice because hate infuses us with an awful lot of adrenaline. Discovering the truth, taking off our masks and giving up the scripts already written eons ago, can be pretty thrilling as well. Just saying. And, just hoping.