Yesterday I drove over to central Vermont to met with a long time friend I haven’t seen in a while. Just before I came to her village, I saw two very young deer standing close together near the road, watching the cars go by. I slowed down so as to be able to respond to them should they bolt into the road. No need, as they stayed exactly where they were.
Sunrise now comes about an hour earlier than it did in late-December. This morning there were dense clouds to the east and breaks in the cloud cover over the lake to the west. The weak late January sun struck the western most clouds, bringing on a soft pastel glow. We have just enough snow cover to enhance the effect.
This past week has been fraught with challenges and echoes. The president placed a portrait of Andrew Jackson on the wall of his office, then proceeded to bar Islamic refugees from the country, stranding people in airports here and abroad. (My heart goes out to them, even as my stomach churns.) Not surprisingly, there has been an international outcry, much of which seems based on the likelihood that his policies will only empower extremists, and thus misses the point. Fittingly, his executive orders came on Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Here in the U.S., and around the world, there is a large and growing movement of resistance to his actions. Sadly, the president is only a small part of the problem. Congress has led the way in undermining social and ecological programs, and rolling back civil rights gains. They openly praise the reign of Jackson, who cared little for law, and nothing for people. The vice president seems little better, if a lot more politically savvy, so much so that he publicly came out against the president’s actions. Of course, he used much of the same rhetoric against women and gays when he was governor of Indiana.
It has long been the task of healers and spiritual leaders to stand up to evil, which is, too often, embodied in groups of politicians and religious leaders who seem all to eager to do its bidding. May we stand together against evil, remembering that we, too, are human and may be seduced by evil’s promise of wealth and power.
I wonder: can we remind one another evil does not exist solely in one person, no matter how visible s/he may be, and agree to hold all politicians, and others, who seek to do harm as they enrich themselves and their allies, accountable? Can we consider together how we may do this without demonizing those who abuse power? Surely the last century has taught us that demonizing others dehumanizes us and lays the groundwork for more evil.