Most of us have been too perilously close to despair these past few days in the aftermath of the election of Donald Trump to do much of anything except hold each other close. As a friend wrote in her Facebook post, “Hate has been effectively commodified and strategically weaponized in this election cycle. It will and has become a well resourced permanent fixture in public political discourse. And do not expect the media to engage critically, the benefit of such political theatre is also a part of this monetization.”
So what can we do? In the days to come let us find ways to reach out to each other and keep on, keeping on. Today I was reminded of this necessity by an author, Otto Scharmer, who has the experience of the darkest days of Europe to call upon. He reminds us that:
It was interesting to watch the entire American media establishment try to take down Donald Trump (after creating him)—only to realize that all their attacks only made him stronger. The only effective voice against him was Michelle Obama’s. She was the only one who could take the air out of him. And she did, even to the degree that the Trump camp decided to stop attacking her. What made the First Lady, who has high approval ratings among Democrats as well as Republicans, so much more effective in dealing with the Trump phenomenon?
When you watch her speeches in New Hampshire and Phoenix you see the answer: she responded to him not with hate and fear. Instead, she spoke with empathy, honest reflection, and compassion. She courageously exposed her own vulnerability showing up as a human being. Michelle Obama also does not primarily focus on the “opponent,” but rather on her own experience, her own opening process, and on the positive future that she feels is wanting to emerge. That’s what it takes to be a warrior of the third category, a warrior of the open heart: as you engage the current moment, your eye is on the future that is seeking to emerge—not on the past that you try to fight against.