I woke up this morning to news from home I didn't expect. Transitioning from shock I began to comfort friends at home about the new Trump era we are about to enter. Clearly few of us knew how much anger was simmering under the lid of America.
The election is over so my first advice is this: Amor Fati. Embrace the stoic perspective of Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius and philosopher Seneca. We suffer trying to resist or deny the unchangeable. This is the new reality, we must operate within it. Let's begin with some empowering perspective.
1. The system was already corrupted: Last night, on the eve of the election, I watched the Netflix documentary 13. Moments before going to sleep I was enraged to tears for what our country has done to the African American population (and is now transitioning to do to immigrants). Bill Clinton, who I voted for, is as culpable as Nixon or Reagan. Corporate influence and the growing prison industrial complex have been running out of control. Neither candidate was poised to stop it.
2. Hillary would have likely continued hawkish policies overseas: According to a recent report the United States dropped 25,144 bombs on six countries last year. None of these bloody shenanigans have benefited the average American. Will Trump be less aggressive than Hillary? Putin seems to think so.
peaking of Putin, many countries surrounding Russia are chewing their nails over our next president's lack of defense support. However, there is a solid argument that NATO's encroachment of Russia has exacerbating the threat it was designed to contain. There has been escalating armament on both sides of Russia's borders recently. Hillary did not look to change this trend. Trump might. Let's see what happens.
3. Sometimes things have to get worse before they get better: After Rome fell the western world dropped into the Dark Ages. It was a time of fear, superstition, ignorance, and brutality. A huge step back for humanity. YUGE. It lasted almost 1,000 years. That's four times longer than the United States has existed. Then winter finally broke into a glorious spring known as the Renaissance. Science and innovation flourished like never before, leading to the modern age we all enjoy. Sometimes history takes a step back before taking an enormous step forward.
The next four years may see big regresses for certain issues I cherish. Rights for women, minorities, and the LGBT community could suffer. We don't know this for sure, but it seems likely. However, the bounce back might see growth that blows way past what the current political ceiling allows.
We now know the majority was determined to shatter the old structure by voting for an outsider. The democratic party took a miscalculated risk by backing an establishment candidate and inhibiting their alternative choice. Both parties are now crystal clear that the game has changed. For progressives this means that in the upcoming years we'll have more candidates who better represent us.
4. Progressives needed an ice-bucket wake up moment: Who would really choose anger, fear, and isolation over love, hope, and connection? Who would rather sit alone in their living room fuming at Fox News than dancing under the stars and hugging people at festival?
Negativity and division are winning the day because many people don't feel like they are invited to the love party or they don't know how to get there. That means we need to design better maps and warmer welcomes.
A small example came to my mind this morning. PLUR centered music festivals and intentional communities like Burning Man are perhaps the most transformational places on earth right now. At Lightning in a Bottle this year I heard someone refer to these things as "the new church." A church in which no one goes to hell and we can collectively raise our consciousness and vibration.
Let's look at the marketing for these events. What do you see in their media? Youth and beauty. Fantastically attractive women dancing in bizarre and erotic outfits. Statistically most of America is overweight. They dress in t-shirts and jeans. Will they feel like they would fit in to this good time?
Let's talk about ticket prices. Most cost around 300$. Burning man is 400$, but unless you have a coordinated camp you'll pay double to a hawker. Does the average red state voter have the funds to go to to a place where they are uncertain to be welcomed?
I'm a big fan of the crazy outfits and a bon vivant appreciator of beauty, but how can we get more outsiders to "come to Jesus." I have friends who aspire to be influencers in the festival scene. This is a question which now, more than ever, needs to be considered.
5. It's a call to action for doubling down in our spheres of influence: This entire presidential campaign has bled an enormous amount of my energy out. I wasted hundreds of hours looking at news, reading articles, and worrying about things that were out of my control. Now I have an opportunity to put all that energy back into my circle of influence. Anything I can affect is in the circle. Anything I can't affect is out of the circle.
Anyone who is upset about the election could do the same. Amor Fati. Don't waste one more second bemoaning things you can't control. Put every shred of vitality into what you can. Minimize time wasters like browsing nonsense websites or binge watching Netflix.
If we are going to rebound into a new Renaissance of inclusion, compassion, and understanding we need the Lockes, Newtons, and Galileos to be ready. In the next four years how can you become a better man or woman? How can you expand your circle to have a voice that reaches farther and wider? How can we communicate to those afraid of a changing world, "Don't worry. Take my hand. You will be part of this." How can we help each other to ascend?
I'm Jonathan Legg
The road has been my greatest teacher.. challenging stagnant beliefs, disarming prejudices, and developing understanding of others. I hope the content on this blog will bring a sliver of that juju to you.