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A Big Warm Thank You to Donald Trump

This will not be the first time I have misjudged someone, nor will it probably be the last time, but as a firm believer in giving credit where it is due, I feel the need to acknowledge that I may have misjudged our new president.

Thank you Donald Trump for being the catalyst for a nationwide uprising the likes of which I have not seen in my lifetime. Thank you for being the catalyst for so many people from all classes, groups, races, beliefs, and creeds, from all demographics to transcend their own ingroup biases and personal priorities and join together.

Thank you for giving people around the world a reason to see past our differences and come together. While attending the Women’s March in NYC last weekend I could not help but wonder under what other circumstances would so many people representing so many walks of life, have joined together?

Thank you for allowing so many who have never been “activists” to walk in stride with members of various groups including Black Lives Matter and experience first hand what various activists are about, thus expanding our understanding far beyond what is often portrayed in the media.

Thank you Donald Trump, for rousing people nationwide to stand up and be accountable as part of a government which requires citizen participation. Thank you for awakening so many who for so long had lingered in the background opting out of active citizen participation in government. Thank you for inspiring so many to rediscover their role in grassroots organizations and citizen engagement in government. Thank you for giving so many a reason to write and call their representatives to fight for issues we care about.

It appears many of us took our liberties, rights, and freedoms for granted for far too long. Many of us surrendered them willingly in past administrations and stayed silent as our fellow humans, and our very planet were exploited. Too many of us for too long have been cloistered by circumstances of privilege, oblivious to the realities of others even in our own nation, whose lives did not resemble our own or the expectation promoted by mass media of what the American lifestyle should be. Many of us rested upon assumptions about how government should work for the people and did not want to discern the truth, did not want to reality test our assumptions.

Thank you Donald Trump for helping us realize that we can take nothing for granted.

Thank you for helping us all, rich, poor, left, right, man, women, gay, straight, Christian, Jew, Muslim, Atheist, Pagan, North, South, East, West, thank you for helping us all become very clear about our personal values and rousing us to willingness to fight for these values in many ways, not only when convenient.

Thank you for helping us build empathy. I cannot think of another situation in my lifetime in which people of privilege were given the opportunity to experience what generations of those living without privilege, feel like. Thank you for helping to show the slightest glimpse into what it feels like to be disempowered, to have no voice, to be stigmatized, scapegoated and persecuted. Unfortunately too many of our brothers and sisters have lived in this shadow for their lives, as did their parents, grandparents, great grandparents and so on, but thanks to you Donald Trump, those who have not experienced this as part of their cultural, religious, racial, gender, or ideological heritage, can now understand on a deeper level, what our brothers and sisters have endured for far too long.

And thank you for stirring within so many of us, the intense desire for liberation and rejection of oppression in its many forms, that as a result has called us forth to stand with those we previously feared, judged, misunderstood or even mistreated.

Thank you for reminding us of the preciousness of Mother Earth and our waters and ecosystems. Your controversial actions toward climate scientists have rallied efforts to protect the Earth and demand justice in the dissemination of vital information.

Likewise, I thank you for carrying the energy of controversy to such an extent that issues long ignored by mainstream media such as the crisis at Standing Rock are now receiving a much needed and long overdue spotlight. Your decision to continue the construction of the DAPL and Keystone XL Pipelines challenges those on both the left and right, and in all other categories to examine just what safe drinking water, and the preservation of the Earth means to us and just what we are willing to do to battle such decisions as well as consider how our own actions and lifestyles contribute to the demand for oil at a great cost. In addition those who were previously not aware of the terrorism being inflicted on the Native People of Standing Rock are now, because of your decision, becoming aware, awakened and activated to defend the rights of Native Americans, even more so than under previous administrations.

Thank you for reminding all of us of the need to research our facts, question our sources of information and at once both value the need of a free flow of information and a free and open press and at the same time not take it for granted that all information is of good quality. Thank you for promptly and effectively sharpening the collective’s radar for bias, demand for facts and citations and discernment of opinion, marketing, hyperbole, and data.

Thank you for opening our hearts to love on a greater scale than we have before. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to search our own Souls and ask ourselves what it means to love others unconditionally. This includes a special thank you for challenging us to honor our connections to those who do not share our ideology, for in doing so we are experiencing unconditional love. For challenging us to see our neighbors, friends, family, and loved ones not as “liberals” or “conservatives”, “Trump Supporters” or “Clinton Supporters”. “Snowflakes”, “Pussies”, “Deplorables,” or any other labels, but as the people we know them to be, and for whom we can have unconditional love and acceptance. Just as you have challenged us to open our hearts to the ability to love strangers without question, to honor the rights of refugees, immigrants, the working class, and all others.

Thank you for reminding us that our civil liberties and constitutional rights were not in fact “guaranteed” but fought for. Thank you for inspiring a new generation of activists and political involvement and for encouraging those who of all ages to resume their activism or become active for the first time, proving it is never too late, and defying age stereotypes.

Thank you for being a catalyst for this great awakening in which people will begin to finally connect the dots between corporate wealth and public policy, a link that you certainly did not invent, but that thanks to your energy and the way in which you play your role, more and more will awaken to.

Thank you for alerting so many to focus on the many conflicts of interest, while not unique to your presidency, have infiltrated the power structure of this country for too long. Thank you for creating the havoc from which we will be called to make more enlightened, humane, compassionate, tolerant and peaceful choices.

In playing your role so well, in rousing millions to take to the streets, in galvanizing support for the persecuted, in teaching us not to take our healthcare, retirement, civil liberties, and rights for granted, in posing a threat to the arts, to democracy, environment and public education, by targeting refugees, immigrants, and women, you have brought about massive movements of solidarity and protection for those in need. Thank you for being the volcano whose eruption has brought to the surface of the consciousness of America generations of dysfunction, oppression, injustice and corruption, so that we may now choose to act in alignment with the values we profess to hold.

Thank you, Donald Trump for reminding us that Facebook, Twitter, and social media in general are relatively new mechanisms for sharing information and for reminding us that although we enjoy catchy memes, some issues are too complex to whittle down in limited characters or outrageous posts. Thank you for giving so many a reason to dig deeper, research, learn facts and distinguish truth from manipulation.

Thank you for helping us to see the embodiment of America’s Shadow, for embodying capitalism unchecked.

In providing this catalyst and reminding us to cherish our rights, to fight for them and for the well being of each other, for helping us see beyond the constructed limitations and walls separating us from those of other socioeconomic standing, and even those of other nations, you are in fact making America great.

May we continue to take responsibility for our role as participants not only in government and activism but in the daily encounters which uplift others rather than marginalizing them.

May we continue to fight for Mother Earth not only against this administration, but also against all threats to the ecosystem and nature both corporate and personal. May we search our own souls and come to embrace sustainable lifestyle choices.

May we continue to demand healthcare for all, and in doing so assert that we choose healing not only of the physical body but also of emotional and mental illness. May we continue to fight for the rights of all individuals to have access to healthcare.

May we continue to protect freedom of the press, of expression of ideas and may we be reminded of the power of words. May we come to recognize the importance of dissemination of information on all levels and also truly appreciate the exchange of information in our mundane discourse and discussions, seeking to hear, understand and learn from each other rather than to outshout, disprove, shame, or mansplain each other. May we create platforms from which all voices can be heard, even those which present controversy and discomfort, for it is in allowing all voices that we prevent the misdirection of anger, the repression of ideas and the oppression of people.

May we think long and hard before sending our young people into wars which will inevitably create more suffering, illness, destruction, refugees, and anguish.

May we find creative ways to resist, rise up and share ideas, creating art and supporting arts programs under threat.

May we resist the injustices we perceive by first bringing down the walls in our own consciousness which caused us to separate ourselves from our fellow beings and from nature in the first place.

May we continue to make phone calls, demonstrate, organize, and push back against injustices and may we stay awake, activated and conscious long beyond these next four years.