A friend of mine, who is a Buddhist teacher and a business consultant, once told me that when there’s a shadow in the organization whose existence the organization finally confronts after denying it for a long time, the organization will often kick out the shadow—usually manifesting as a particular employee—as soon as possible, the farther and quicker the better, in order to continue business as usual. Not too many organizations have the patience to bear witness to the shadow, befriend it, and get to know it. Instead, off with its head!
We’re now about two weeks before the elections, and I hear a new tone from liberal commentators and politicians. They’re talking about the importance of humiliating Donald Trump, his family, allies and surrogates in the voting booths, so that the Republican Party learn its lesson and never, ever nominate anyone like that again.
Before there was wariness and dread, but now that the consensus is that Trump is headed for a trouncing, the melody of belittling, mocking, and even jeering is being played, as if Americans are finally coming to their senses, and come Election Day we’re going to put Trump and his minions, including those attending his rallies with raised fists and curses hurled at media, in their place. Remind them that this is a democracy, not a boobocracy, and even if they have forgotten the difference, we have not.
There’s a self-righteous, belittling tone in the face of Trump’s plummeting polls. It’s as if we can now let go of our guard, and rather than acknowledge our fear and even anguish at what happened to our country this year, kick the shadow not just out of the closet but out of the house, preferably through contact of my foot and the seat of his pants: What a loser!
When Bernie was at the Taub Clinic in Alabama, his therapist Danna would ask him to get closer so that she could put her leg and his in both sides of a red, stretching theraband. In this way she offered resistance to his right leg, thus strengthening it. The way she put it was, Come closer so I could lasso you. That, Toto, was when I knew I was not in New England.
And that’s what I feel like saying to the folks who’re angry and upset, who feel the country has let them down: Come closer so I could lasso you. Get inside that durable theraband with me, each in our own side of the stretching plastic, not to become alike or come to agreement, but to get to know each other and offer resistance. Inside that theraband we’re partners, and both of us become stronger the more it stretches.