Even Under President Trump, Lotuses Can Still Bloom
It’s almost 4am and I haven’t been able to sleep. I thought I’d write to help me process my grief over Donald Trump’s presidential victory, come to acceptance, and get strength to fight. It’s amazing what just sitting down at the computer and formulating my thoughts has already done for my mood.
One of my first thoughts was something I recently read in a book about the Ohlone, San Francisco’s indigenous tribal group. After Ohlone women finished collecting grasses and seeds, they set fire to the fields. It would be chaotic and dangerous and scary, but when the rains came, new seeds germinated and grew.
I’m terrified right now because the fire Trump lit is unpredictable, chaotic, and dangerous. I tremble when I think about what he’s going to do to the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Interior. I’m already mourning the setbacks his new Supreme Court pick will inflict on the progress we’ve made.
But I do agree with Trump supporters on one thing: there’s a lot of old growth in the American bureaucracy that needs burning.
Our tax system is a mess. We have trillions of dollars stored overseas that our government could use, but businesses won’t bring the money back here because of taxes. There also isn’t enough competition among businesses. (Monopolies in Big Oil and Big Food are two major environmental problems.) There is growing inequality among the haves and have-nots.
Trump has run an unorthodox campaign without donations and support from the Koch brothers. He has a plan to get foreign earnings back in the United States. He’s fired up the conversation about inequality. My hope is that something good may come from an unorthodox president.
I also hope there are sufficient checks and balances on his power. His family has foreign businesses that will get hurt if he makes the United States too isolationist. Although Congress is Republican, members don’t trust him. If he goes too rogue or hurts a group of people, they may find it politically safer to impeach him and work with Vice President Mike Pence.
Thankfully, there’s international support for environmental and human rights issues. California, the world’s 6th largest economy, is bright blue. There will be a lot of pressure both externally and internally for Trump to make good decisions. I’m going to work to be part of that pressure too in any way I can.
Instead of despairing take action with me. You can still refuse the oil Trump wants to promote. You can still install solar panels and wind turbines. You can eat less beef, use less plastic, and drive less. You can donate to environmental groups like the Natural Resources Defense Council, Environmental Defense Fund, Earthjustice, and the Sierra Club. You can work to green your churches, temples, and mosques.
Never underestimate the benevolent power of your free will. Don’t fear evil. Forests need fire. Remember that the beautiful lotus flower only grows in the mud.
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