I have said stupid things in my life, and written stupider things. Now, on July 21, during the nightmare Republican Convention, besides trying to remain in reality and do everything possible to make sure this “buffoon”(thank you, Trevor Noah for this word) is not elected president, I realize when I posted a Trump topic post back in December, I did not add some important things to it. I also noticed I was disgusted by my own poem but another voice said, “Are you disgusted because you don’t want to see this bad stuff inside you?”
The post was a poem about accepting the Donald Trump within me, and I still think that any person of any amount of privilege in this country, needs to look at themselves and acknowledge any pieces of Trump within them. According to Carl Jung, we need to follow this:
Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people.
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/c/carl_jung.html
When I wrote that poem, I took a radical position of seeing some of my own darkness as “Trump-ish”. I see parts of Trump, that I need to control for sure, including, narcissism, grandiosity, careless talking, need for too much attention, etc.
I do not agree with anything about Trump, from his values (which he has none), to his lying and not caring and continuing to lie, his racism, his anti-Muslim positions, and xenophobia, and all of the hate speech about every minority group, the list goes on. Most of all, I do not condone living so long without a total inventory of yourself, what lies deep inside you, what is on the surface, what parts of yourself you may have been unconscious of. The most dangerous people are the “careless” people, those who have no insight into themselves, and have no desire to even look for any.
Looking at the Convention, about 6 months after writing the poem, I did not forget this poem. I don’t know who said this idea, which is not mine, not only do we have to know our own darkness, we have to know that what’s going on around us in our country is our responsibility. You may have hated nobody, you may work to end poverty, you may be a therapist who really wants to help people have the fullest life possible, but you can’t ignore reality or it will become hell and you can’t ignore the “bad/ignorant” parts of yourself.
So this man is bringing the ugliest parts of American reality of 2016, which may seem not that different from 50 or 40years ago when you look at the ugliest parts, but it is a different place.
The main thing Trump is doing is not brilliant or original, he’s playing to everyone’s fears. You can watch Trevor Noah’s bit on the Convention playing to fears. It’s nothing new. It’s what Bush did and lots of others.
Yes, I have to take responsibility for my own ignorance and ability to ignore things that should not be ignored, whatever they may be. I aim to be in touch with the hatred and racism, sexism and everything else that is somewhere inside me, because you can’t live in a country founded on taking other peoples land, founded on racism and sexism and every other ism, without internalizing those things.
These are difficult times, but I don’t want to be fearful or ignorant, as much as I possibly can.
All the things they all want you to be afraid of at the Republican Convention are manufactured. The facts have been checked and you can find them in a lot of places. For example, http://www.politicususa.com/2016/07/21/crime-statistics-trumps-acceptance-speech-lies.html
Of course the thing to be most afraid of is the power Trump has right now and his supporters, a fear that brings action, not more fear.
Philip Guston, the painter, painted some very provocative paintings that would resonate with people today, probably you could change them slightly to look more present day, but the symbolism is there:
This is Guston’s painting, a very scary self-portrait of himself painting himself as a Klansman, much like my poem about Trump. Trump is a modern day 21st century Klans person. I don’t think that is an exaggeration.
Philip Guston said he tried to really imagine being “evil” and even imagined being with the Klan, because he knew that even when the hoods go away, they are still here. They are inside of all of us in different forms. Some artists amplify things. They exaggerate things to make a point. When an artist gets deep inside their dark side, they make some very intense works that may appear really crazy. Other artists see no need to go that way, they can just paint what they are seeing and what they are experiencing that the view sees and experiences as part of the “reality” of both painter and viewers, such as Jacob Lawrence and his Migration series Both kinds of artists make important art work. So do the artists who are not interested in looking deep within themselves or at what they see. Those artists paint and write and sing other kinds of things, also needed.
I have been fascinated with Philip Guston’s paintings most of my life as a painter. He is even called an “artist’s artist”. The poem I wrote was influenced by his kind of art. If I was as gifted as Guston, I could paint a self-portrait of myself holding a gun in some way that would capture what’s going on right now in this country. Or I could paint a weird painting of myself looking like some white blond lady delegate from the republican convention. You can find photos of them, here’s one I might copy: http://media.gettyimages.com/photos/delegate-wears-a-women-4-trump-pin-on-an-american-flag-themed-cowboy-picture-id578126290
Maybe she’d have a real gun on her hat. It would be a tribute to Philip Guston’s kind of painting, to go into your own evil, you have to own having it and own yourself seeing it. The canvas in Guston’s painting functions as a kind of mirror.
We also have within us all kinds of good aspects of our living in the United States, we have the Statue of Liberty inside us, the one that really stands up for every person’s right to live equally freely.
Now we need whatever part of us is not scared, but angry and not willing to sit and be lied to by anyone. We also need to be hopeful and see positive changes and work towards more.
“The job of a citizen is to keep your mouth open.” Gunter Grass
I would say one job of a politician/”government servant”and anyone else, especially people who are in privileged positions, is to know when to shut their mouth and when to open it, and to be very careful of what comes out of it….