A Buddhist Meditation on the Election: Get Your Act Together, Marginalized People!

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via Flickr

In many Buddhist traditions, there is a type of meditation called loving-kindness, which involves wishing happiness and peace for not only yourself but also your loved ones as well as those you find difficult. In the spirit of this practice, I will create a loving-kindness meditation specially tailored for the presidential election and everyone it’s affected. This should be fun.

For Self

First, may I have the restraint and not insult Donald Trump and call him names such as an Oompa Loompa with a suit on and/or a Jack-o-Lantern that had botched surgery and then was jizzed in. Starting now though. That didn’t count before.

May I have the courage to fight for others whose lives and identities are at stake in ways that mine are not. And may I take that courage further than liking a few #NoDAPL statuses on Facebook and then promptly returning to taking a BuzzFeed quiz titled, “We know which former US president you want to have sex with based on your favorite Thanksgiving side dish.”

May I speak out against people’s racism, especially old white men’s, instead of making that weird noise that’s halfway between a cough and an awkward laugh, and going, “Well, they’re just the product of their times,” especially since I grew up in the era of  Jersey Shore and managed not to become a guido. If I can do it, they can too.

For Trump

May Trump develop compassion for those who look differently and love differently than him. That would include Muslims, Mexicans, people from LGBTQ+ communities, blacks, Native Americans, people whose skin tones are lighter than those safety cones students use to learn driving with, those who don’t actively yearn to have sex with their own daughters, and anyone who has gotten married fewer than three times.

For Trump voters:

May people who voted for Trump know that many of their troubles are valid and that economic difficulties are not a laughing matter.

But also, may they know that other people’s suffering are similarly valid, and that by supporting Trump even if they didn’t agree with some of his ideas, they are still to blame if he ends up actually enacting them.

For others:

May people of color be unafraid and learn how to work with whites to create a better America, because it’s not like we haven’t done enough to improve this country under the threat of discrimination and for some, death, while mayonnaise-lovers did the bare minimum like acknowledging we were human and wearing safety pins on their sweatshop-produced Forever 21 jackets.

May LGBTQ+ people finally realize that cis-gendered folks want to cooperate and achieve landmark accomplishments like adding rainbow filters to their Facebook profiles and attending Pride parades.

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It’s time to pull your weight, disenfranchised communities!

Finally, may the rest of the world … just like, turn the other cheek, please? This is extremely embarrassing for us. If you do us this solid, we’ll pretend Brexit wasn’t a thing and Marine Le Pen is just a new Chanel perfume. Alright, cool.

Love,

Rachel

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What the rise of Trump means for me as an introvert

INNER VOICE

I’ve often told myself that although I am an introvert living in a country full of extroverts, it does not mean I can’t still succeed. I’ll just do it my own way. Where I lack in networking skills, I will make up for in my strong writing and work ethic, and where I fall short in outspokenness, I will remedy with my initiative and enthusiasm. And not to mention, I’m constantly working on being more assertive and more confident in my own ideas.

That’s my inner voice telling me I can forge on and make it in this world by following my own path of dedication and creativity, alongside talented and driven people using gregariousness as one of their own tools.

Being introverted isn’t inherently better, and being outgoing isn’t bad at all — it’s just when it’s amplified 1000 times in the wrong direction, while simultaneously ridding itself of qualities like basic human decency that it becomes toxic. This election cycle has certainly shown that the cult of personality¹ can dominate real abilities and integrity.

THE CULT OF “PERSONALITY”

It’s true, many people hate Donald Trump and see through his false promises and bravado for what he truly is: a bully who has no original ideas and who has succeeded by exploiting people around him.

However, plenty of others have fallen for his tricks. Even if he loses this election (crossing my fingers here!), the fact that he managed to reach the stage of Republican nominee for president is a testament to how far just coasting on personality can go.

Even if he loses, his followers and many others are still going to value slander, histrionics and frankly, talking out of your ass, as valuable assets needed by an employee, a friend, even a government official.

And even if he loses, we are still reminded of the reality that our new president is somehow just as unpopular as he is. Trump, a man with little feasible ideas managed to get into the final rounds of the election, while a smart woman who has worked her ass off for decades had to claw her way through inane scandals to get to the same place. I know Hillary Clinton is deeply imperfect, and I’ve never been her biggest fan, but it is clear she at least has real policies in her mind and she is diplomatic, hard working and will do whatever she can to fix her previous mistakes.²

NOT TO TOOT MY OWN HORN OR ANYTHING…

I’m not saying I am the perfect person or the perfect employee. Like Clinton, I am flawed, although I will say I have had far fewer email scandals (the most extreme thing I’ve done is forgetting to attach a file to my emails). But as someone trying to keep my head down, do my own thing and work on being better than I was yesterday, I can’t help but feel defeated by this festering crap bag of an election season. It makes me think even if I bring everything I can to the table — good ideas, commitment, willingness to compromise, ability to take action — the person with the loudest mouth will get the attention.

If there’s anything I want people to remember, it’s that the rise of Trump is not singular. Sure, he may seem like an anomaly to a lot of Americans who wonder to themselves, most people aren’t that pompous, that ineffective or that ignorant, right? Right??

But don’t we all know that loudmouth who skated by in a presentation, group project or even a career just by talking the most and taking credit for other people’s work? They may not be as noxious as Trump,  but such gasbags do exist and take opportunities from those who actually show up to do the work, even if they’re not as flashy about it.

SO BE LIKE SPIKE LEE AND…

 

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Vote. Please please please vote. Vote for who is clearly the right choice. But going forward, regardless of the outcome, I hope we can take lessons from this year, and remind ourselves it’s important to be careful about what we stand for and who we support. Don’t be fooled by vague promises or tremendous³ emotion. Don’t just vote or support someone because they’re relatable or they seem fun to have a beer with. Do your research. Listen more than you talk. Give attention to those who are smart and have actual consciences, not just those who brag and talk about themselves. The world does not need another Donald Trump.


¹ If you can even call what Trump has a “personality.”

² e.g. her changed stances on same-sex marriage and the Iraq War.

³ tremendous: also known as the only advanced word Trump knows and doesn’t hesitate to repeat 200 times in every debate