We use mirrors every day to look at ourselves. Without them, we would not see what we reflect outwards to the world. Mirrors don’t lie. While some mirrors attempt to distort an image (like a Fun House mirror), they, never-the-less, show the essence of what exists in front of them. It’s often said that the people we draw around us are reflections of aspects of ourselves that we possess (and often need to look at more closely), and that we engage in conflict with those we love, for example, because we are really battling something about ourselves we need to change but just can’t see clearly enough. These people in our lives become our mirrors. We may attempt to destroy the mirror, but what it is reflecting is still present – it still exists.
So, we now have a President of the United States who is deeply disliked by the majority of the American people. Though he may well have stolen the election, he is non-the-less, currently representing a country that permitted his placement into power. He has now become a mirror for the United States. He reflects out to us and to the world a mindset that was (and still is) descriptive of ugly aspects of our American culture that have needed major self-reflection for a very long time:
- An unwillingness to live peacefully and non-violently;
- A love of money and power, and a disrespect for those without money or power;
- An overindulgence in image-making, braggadociousness, distortion of fact, and stealing at any cost;
- An intolerance of difference – language, culture, place of origin, religion or non-religion, sexual orientation or gender identity, disability, etc.;
- A misogynistic attitude towards women;
- An arrogance regarding knowledge/experience or the lack of knowledge/experience;
- A desire to destroy things we do not understand or trust;
- A failure to understand what makes democracies work, what is required to maintain a free society, and how our Constitution and system of laws are supposed to work;
This is not to say that there have not been individuals and groups who have understood these issues, and have tried to raise these concerns and address them. However, as a “culture”, we often choose to live within our own myths about who we are. What Trump does now, is expose the sides of us – all of us – that have been hidden and need to be exposed and healed. From my point of view, he is a monster……. but he is also a creation of the American psyche that we have collectively contributed to, and now mirrors back to us who we are and what we need to see more clearly in ourselves in order to change. In the end, because I have great faith in the goodness of the American people, we will address the change needed, and will do so on a much larger scale. This will, however, take time. The seeds of this change are already underway through the courageous acts of individuals in their professions and in their private lives, who have and continue to come together to protect and defend one another.
It is important that we not discount or look away from what disgusts us in the mirror. We must face it head on, see it, acknowledge it, determine it is no longer needed, and embrace the opposite of what it is showing us, to provide the balance needed to effect the change we desire. Most importantly, we must not mirror the mirror – our actions cannot have the unintended effect of magnifying the reflection that is so appalling to us.