I have a lot of opinions on politics which is not really surprising to anyone who knows me or reads my Facebook or Twitter updates, which is why this morning I couldn’t pull myself away from my computer screen as the news of Trump’s Chicago rally came rolling in. As I watched footage from the chaos, I recognized something. My anger. It was like seeing that old friend from long ago who you went to jail with and decided you could no longer hang out with because they were a bad influence on your life. Then one day out of the blue, you see them somewhere and you are taken right back to the past when you were a different person.
I have been the kind of person who would punch another person in the face. I have been in groups of people who fought another group of people with bouncers in the middle trying to clear everyone out. I have been in the middle of fights that have turned into shootings. It’s all very familiar to me. To this day when I get into an argument with someone on social media, I think about how it would all go if they were in my face. I would punch them in the throat.
I can’t talk to my husband’s ex-wife at all, for any reason, because the anger that boils inside me is not good. I know it. My hands shake, my voice gets high pitched and I start spewing insults that will make a person sit in a corner and cry for their mom. I learned how to be that way in the hood. It is how I survived the move from a small country town where I was bullied but relatively safe, to a high school where someone could walk in a shoot other student right in front of me. Selling crack out of lockers was how some students helped feed their younger siblings. I never even knew what crack was until I began high school there. I didn’t know a lot of things until that move, like what I would have to do to survive. I began to lose myself bit by bit in that survival.
In the last years of therapy I have learned that at the root of my anger is fear. Fear that is masked as anger causes chaos. I’ve seen it over and over in my life. I am now seeing it in people who are fighting each other at Trump rallies and I see Trump feeding that fear and fueling the anger. This is much bigger than politics. It is about a traumatized culture that is full of scared adults who are succumbing to their primitive instinct to fight or flight. You can see it with the protesters who are fighting and the people on social media threatening to flee if Trump becomes president. We are in a national state of crisis.
I am not a very smart person, the only reason that I see this is because there are times when I look in the mirror and that state of crisis is looking back at me. When I’ve cussed out my ex-husband, when I get into a fight with my husband, when someone cuts me off in traffic or when some Trump supporter comments on something I post online. My first instinct to punch them in the face stares me right in the face and reminds me that I am no different than they are. I have the same familiar anger in me. If I weren’t Catholic and know my faith the way that I do and have the relationship with Christ that I have, I would most likely be one of those people clashing with the “other” at one of those rallies.
God help us, have mercy on us, grant us peace.
What we need now are leaders to step up, put politics aside and start helping to unify this country. Right now. Not tomorrow, not during the general election, not after Hillary becomes president, not next month, but right now. We need Bishops, Rabis, Pastors, Community organizers and political figures from every political stripe to stand up and say enough is enough and start unifying this country.
I am not naive enough to think that will happen, but it sure would be cool if it did.
When Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict both consecrated the Vatican to St. Micheal the Archangel I had this feeling like that was a sign that the shit was about to hit the fan. I think that we are seeing the beginning of that happening. Pope Francis has an urgency to his papacy and the Year of Mercy isn’t about letting everyone off the hook but more like a warning for us all to get our ducks in a row. I keep thinking about all of this, about what I read in Strange Gods by Elizabeth Scalia and everything that the last Popes have said about the coming of Christ and it seems to me like what we are seeing around us is the battle of the visible and invisible. It’s more than politics. Politics has always had a role in God’s plan for humanity. All anyone has to do to know that is to read a History book.
It sounds crazy, but I’m typing it and hitting publish for my own sake really because I need to remember to keep my mind on the things of heaven and not on the things of this world to keep my own anger in check. I don’t want end up in hell because I was distracted by the chaos.