The Morning After

“I met those of our society who had votes in the ensuing election, and advised them, 1. To vote, without fee or reward, for the person they judged most worthy: 2. To speak no evil of the person they voted against: And, 3. To take care their spirits were not sharpened against those that voted on the other side.”

— John Wesley, October 6, 1774

I found this quotation the day before the election, too late to learn from it for the period of the campaign. It was on the Facebook page of Professor Charles Manekin of Princeton, a philosophy professor, a dual Israeli/American citizen and an activist for Palestinian rights. All I can do now is to try to apply it during the Trump administration.

Some help with this task came from an African-American writer (didn’t catch her name) who was interviewed on NPR’s Morning Edition today. Her first comment was that she “had not listened enough” to Trump’s supporters, had not understood the depth of their fear and their anger.

Why wasn’t I listening more carefully? Our town foodbank is always short of food. I have neighbors who can’t afford proper medical care. Their parents, not wealthy, were nonetheless in a much more secure position. Though they work as hard as their parents did, they can’t give that security to their own children. They know, as we all do, of the dizzying heights of wealth accrued by a few in the course of globalization and of the political corruption that weaves through that process and battens on it.

Not that I know what to do about it all. Over the last decade, as I followed the trade wars, the drug wars, the war wars, it has seemed to me that every apparently reasonable policy step, every best try or least-worst idea, has backfired to create more misery. The far left wants us to become Sweden. The far right wants us to vanish the government, except for the ones with guns, and let it all hang out. The middle muddles, producing slight variations on what already hasn’t worked.

The best I can come up with on policy questions is to think my way through, give my considered opinion and reasons to my neighbors and, if I have the opportunity, to someone who might be able to put them into practice, and then apply myself to healing the wounds that will be inflicted on human beings, as they always have been.

In the course of that effort, I hope I will be able to apply John Wesley’s advice, to speak no evil and let not my spirit be sharpened.

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About Heidi Wilson

I'm currently writing a mystery that takes place in New Hampshire and a novel about an artist who's working in Ireland and Hell. Former incarnations: stock market economist and professor of Greek. Go figure.

Posted on November 9, 2016, in Heidi Wilson, politics, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Last night, a friend of mine forwarded an email she had received from Rev. Denise Schubert. After I had cried in total frustration — how could this country have done what it did? — I needed to read the well-balanced and far-seeing insight (is that an oxymoron?) of Rev. Schubert’s words. Your post adds to the need for an intelligent, rather than a visceral, response. Thank you for such fine reasoning, and for sharing 250-year-old words of wisdom.

    I’m including here two paragraphs of Rev. Schubert’s words, in case anyone is interested:

    “What I know is that this universe is intelligent, orderly, friendly and works itself out for the greater good — I do know this. So, as a metaphysician and an awakened participant in the evolution of the cosmos, I personally will not engage in fear, doubt, worry and negativity. Those emotions can’t produce anything that I want. So grieve, be angry, be afraid — but just for a minute. And right after that minute is up, then turn on the love and activate your evolutionary responsibility button. Refrain as much as possible from speaking gossip, fear or negativity. Like it or not, Donald Trump is now your president and he might need your help to keep him balanced. Remember that God (or Love) is everywhere or nowhere. You can’t have it both ways.

    “Remember that the Spirit is indestructible and eternal. Don’t be fooled by the appearances. Don’t be swayed by the opinions of the sleep walking. You are awakened and you make a difference. Be of good cheer. You have the power, responsibility and obligation to help people get through to a more positive and optimistic place. After all — no matter what, all is well with our souls.”

    Here’s to taking the high road. Again, my thanks.

    Like

    • Dear Fran,

      Thanks so much for your comment and the quotation. I love the idea of our “evolutionary responsibility button.” I’ve been inspired by the number of blogs on this subject that call for an end to the antagonism and taking the high road, starting now.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thoughtful post, Heidi. The quote from John Wesley–so timely but alas, how easy will it be to implement his second and third points? And in this election, did his first point apply or did so many vote not for the candidate but against the other one? Every four years we’re reminded that the democratic process isn’t necessarily pretty…..

    Liked by 1 person

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