I think about love — a lot.
I reflect on where I succeed and where I miss the mark. I try to make sense of a world in which what I see on the Capitol steps looks so much like hate and yet is condoned and supported by people I am supposed to love.
I deeply admire Mitt Romney, Adam Kinzinger, John Kasich, Liz Cheney and others — people who are willing to forfeit prestige, power and position for the greater good. They are true patriots. I may not agree with their policies and politics — but I could vote for any of them with a clear conscience because of their character.
It is absolutely critical to our survival that we start looking at people for who they really are in their hearts and souls and not for who we think they are or want them to be. They will show us if we are willing to look beyond our own dysfunction.
Donald Trump was once a Teflon reality star and casino owner who was fodder for the tabloids. Now he is worshipped by many as the second Christ. Think about that.
When people I know stand by Donald Trump, no matter what he does, because they claim to love his policies, I work hard to give them the benefit of the doubt. I even question my own rigidity and moral superiority for not being able to do the same.
When they reject those that support the same policies Trump does but without the same arrogance, narcissism, greed, white supremacy and lies, I realize it truly is the man and personality they love above all. He could literally shoot someone on Fifth Avenue, and they would still love him.
That doesn’t make them wrong — but it does make them dangerous to themselves and others. They are not alone. We are all dangerous in our own way.
According to Wikipedia, “love is considered to be both positive and negative, with its virtue representing human kindness, compassion, and affection, as ‘the unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another’ and its vice representing human moral flaw, akin to vanity, selfishness, amour-propre, and egotism, as potentially leading people into a type of mania, obsessiveness or codependency.”
I believe we are all capable of both kinds of love. I know I am.
There are times I want to turn my back on those who support Donald Trump … when I don’t want to love them. Then I realize they are supporting him and others like him at their own expense and the wellbeing of those they love. Instead of hating them, I pray for them in a way that I would someone who has been abducted by a cult.
I pray for their mania, obsessiveness and codependency to be lifted. I remember the words of Mother Teresa and pray to love them “anyway” not for them but for me.
“People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered; Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies; Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; Build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous; Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough; Give the world the best you've got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God; It was never between you and them anyway.”
Just as their codependency is between them and their God, my need to shun and shame them is between me and mine. I know what it is like to love someone with vice and not virtue — and how easy it is to get lost in the spaces in between. Perhaps that is why they scare me so much. Maybe it is what will lead us back to each other.
If you are someone who does not feel heard or respected by someone like me — who does not feel loved — please reach out. I would welcome the chance for a dialogue that proves it is about so much more than just the two of us … that in finding each other in virtue we are much stronger than any vice.