In my last blog, I offered a parallel between the short reign of the Emperor Julian (361-63 CE) and what many of us hope will be the short occupancy of the American presidency by Donald Trump. Julian’s reign was a temporary hiatus in Roman history; Trump’s administration (in the Globe and Mail this morning he was called a mafioso) will, we trust, be a temporary phenomenon.
Some of those who commented on this blog, however, pointed out that even if/when Trump goes, the angry and alienated cohort that put him in power will remain. This cohort is largely composed of older white males who feel, angrily, that the American dream has passed them by; that they have been excluded by “the elites” from what they deserve as citizens.
Point taken. And then the riposte to it is that as never in recent history there has appeared a resistance movement. Four states, 175 cities and a large number of universities have formed an alliance focused on American support for the Paris Accord. This is something I find very hopeful. That alliance will also need to do what it can to respond to the legitimate gripes of the cohort that supported Trump.
Resistance, then. I have just submitted a ms. to a publisher entitled Thomas Merton’s Day of a Stranger: Solitude as Resistance. Merton has been called by Irish writer Gerry McFlynn “a theologian of resistance,” and well-deserved that sobriquet is. From his monastery and hermitage there issued a steady stream of writings calling for resistance to the toxicity of society, a malaise surely worse now than it was in his lifetime (he died in 1968).
And just now I have watched and listened to a spoken-word poem on “Love and Anger” offered by my friend Christina Kinch, co-ordinator of the Contemplative Justice Network of the United Church in BC. Here’s the link . . .
I invite you to watch/listen to it, and use it as a stimulus to your own reflection on how resistance has found its place in your life. Energized by love and anger, resistance will move us past the temporary phenomenon of populist maladministration (yes, I’m thinking of the US, and this is Canada; but what the US does affects us all) to a better place, one in which real democracy is honored and practised.