© 2019 by Noah Sveiven

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We are the deeds we do.

Donald Does Not Simply Disappoint. He Causes Distress.

July 25, 2017

The noxious fumes of the current administration are polluting American lives. Chaotic behavior is a constant. Since Trump and all for which he stands has been elevated to the highest office in this country, stress has waxed, and ease has waned. The president and his associates are denigrating norms that have taken centuries to form. They have eroded truth and aggravated distrust through a mendacious relationship with reality, and they have done so against the will of the majority of the voting population. 

 

Most Americans are tired and hurt. Their candidates have lost; their causes have been dismissed; many of their voices have been overwhelmed. Disappointment is no longer hypothetical, and the Trump presidency is no longer a matter of laughter. Trump has won, and he has governed for more than half a year. Dismay is manifest among us, and we are intellectually after laughter—even if the comedians are still making us laugh. 

 

Disappointment is always to be expected; this is not what makes Trump unusual. Never in the course of free and fair elections have every voter been satisfied by the result. But ideally, the winner doesn't gloat, and ideally, the winner is respectable; and the winner should always respect everyone, even those who did not cast their votes for him or her.  

 

Donald Trump is abnormally antagonistic to what Rabbi Jonathan Sacks calls "the dignity of difference." He does not simply disappoint. He is actively destroying positive precedents and is therefore alarming; Donald Trump distresses us.

 

For those whose healthcare lies in the hands of a mostly inconsiderate Senate majority, for those whose right to worship finds itself threatened daily, for those whose humanity is denied, for those whose ballots are suppressed, for those whose former workplaces are closed, for those whose neighborhoods are decaying, for all those who suffer the pangs of injustice, distress is their reality. 


Distress is dangerous. It is destabilizing and heartbreaking, and it rattles the will. Distress debilitates us. Distress demands our attention.

 

My plea to those who support the president is that they do not dismiss the distress that so many folks experience. Their pain is real and legitimate, and the wrongs which have been committed against them are real and legitimate also. The victims of Trump's cruelty should not be expected to "get over it" or "move on." Rather, the victims ought to expect of others that they listen—and care!

 

Those who supported Trump but who now regret their decision have a moral obligation to support the causes which they fixed themselves against when they voted for him. They now have a moral obligation to labor for the amelioration of the distress that they enabled. 

 

My plea to those who are in distress is that they do not lose hope. As the lives of all of our heroes forged in our minds, progress isn't just possible. Progress is real. 

 

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