• Praising the Beast: Reflections on Trump’s new D.C. Location, ELEPHANT JOURNAL – NOVEMBER 2016

    Posted in Articles by Eric Shaw

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    “We asked the captain what course of action he proposed to take toward a beast so large, so terrifying, and unpredictable.

    He hesitated to answer and then said judiciously:,

    “I think I shall praise it.’”

     

    ~ Robert Hass, Praise

     

    I think we should mark the Wednesday after the presidential election as New President’s Day.

    We should have celebrations in the streets and make room for grief and gnashing of teeth—but mostly we should launch fireworks and laud to our new king—or queen.

    Like the Japanese after World War II—we oughtta bow.

    Or like the Americans in that fateful Autumn of 1945, we should clutter the streets with banners and cheers of wild relief.

    ————

    On my own morning after, I told my Dallas yoga students that Donald Trump is an example of self-belief, of pure unbroken focus, of absolute faith in self.

    Throughout these endless months, he’s flinched at the waves of criticism and ignobly descended into cheap shots and petty talk, but he always stayed loose, big-chested and unbowed.

    But I didn’t want him.

    I gave my shoulder to the Clinton wheel.

    I wanted Obama’s revolution to go on and on and on.

    I wanted multi-culturalism, internationalism and faith in the modern world to capture a big win.

    But the day before the election, as I put another positive note about Hill on Facebook and scanned Google for pictures, I found few headshots that looked sincere.

    In most, her eyes burned with a too-fevered intensity, or guffawed with engineered smiles.

    I realized I didn’t dig her.

    I loved her past because of nostalgia for the booming Bill-Hill 90s and her stunning resume of commitment to the common weal.

    Even as my bug-eyed brain knew her victory would benefit Everything that Draws Breath (if I may be so bold), my heart said, “No.”

    Shortly after my dutiful Facebook post, National Public Radio aired the last rallying words of our heir apparents.

    Trump was reckless, ebullient and sure.

    He was cheery and brash—reveling in the glow of faith in victory.

    But Hill delivered funeral-chat. Her voice was tight and drained of joy.

    I was stunned.

    It hit me.

    She didn’t really want victory!

    OMG! (as we say).

    Now, I may ding-dongy to some, but—my dear yoga-fans, and yoga non-fans—I sincerely believe: The Law of Attraction does not lie.

    If you push away winning by sarcasm, pissiness or captious comment, victory will do as it’s told, and it will surely avoid you.

    Her poll numbers said “win,” but I got the hint: Trump was headed to Pennsylvania Avenue ( . . . you might say that sounds airy-fairy, but so it is  . . . ).

    “Clinton plans everything,” the news apps say.

    “You can’t tell Hillary to drink water,” her aides indicate.

    That chick don’t wave her derrière.

    She won’t get “swept away.”

    School-marm Hill.

    And Dauntless Don.

    I bedded down reasonably at 10, but at 2:30, I woke with an unwonted joy.

    I was embracing the undesired Donald.

    I was embracing his reckless joy, his faith, his wild Kali-esque dance of destruction.

    —————

    I taught yoga at 8 that morn.

    After class, we had a frank talk.

    We took it all in like grown-ups.

    Gloom went slightly away. “Hill was the status quo,” we said. Things would have been predictable with a Clinton win, and—as one of my brightening students said—“at least he’s something new.”

    Ladies and Gentlemen: We chose Trump out of the largest presidential field ever: 22 candidates!

    And—despite all the carping about the Electoral College—our democracy works the better for it. With at least three electoral votes per state, the system demands that candidates win this entire country—not just its liberal cities.

    It may be hard to say so, but I suggest it:  there was no chance matter.

    Trump won broadly.

    This is karma, karma, karma.

    Our Hitler,” is a 1977 film in which Germany’s ragged, wild love for their universally-reviled Fuhrer is shown.

    Like that.

    Trump is our love, my friends. We can’t take our eyes off him.

    Attraction’s law—yoga’s law—tells us energy follows attention, and none of us–Left or Right–can seem to stop feeding him power.

    In this election cycle, we gave him our constant gaze.

    We gave him our selves.

    Negative attention or positive attention—in the end they both grant boons (re: the instinctive strategies of your boo-hooing three-year old).

    We chose.

    He’s Daddy now.

    Trump is a certain shade of our national psychology that will play out with dynamism and power and—yes—authenticity in these coming months.

    He might stage a coup.

    He might nuke us all.

    Or he might bring us all together—as his surprisingly kind acceptance speech seemed to show.

    Honestly—honestly now!—all of us have our hopes and fears, but none of us really knows what tomorrow will bring.

    Trump is ours. Our collective “yes.”

    Germany embraced its darkest self and gifted the globe a final, armageddon-esque war that ended the year before the Donald was born.

    In that trough of history, Germany tested its Wagnerian faith in Fatherland and was bombed to a shitheap for it. Israel became a nation. India became free. And—you might differ with me—but I’d also say Germany became a power for world good in the aftermath, and—most importantly—World War II made full-on hostilities between industrialized nations unthinkable.

    Hitler got Germany’s shadow largely out of its system and the planet got an inoculating experience with Big War that now keeps that disease at bay.

    Our twilight battles kill thousands and sometimes hundreds-of-thousands now, but not tens of millions as they did at Mid-Century (and despite ongoing games of brinkmanship, we hope this hesitation continues).

    Germany welcomed in naked masculinity and the ecstasy of power eight decades ago—and I’d say we did the same on November 8th.

    Trump is plainly that vibe and—outside of impeachment or assassination—he will pull our nation nearer that attitude as president—be we his sufferers or faithful friends.

    He is our beast.

    At least—as a human being—Trump has shown that an outlier can grasp the ring.

    At least—whether it sounds good right now or not—he has shown us—like Obama!—that each of us can beat all odds and be who we are meant to be.

    The modern world isn’t swept away by his coming reign, and it is possible he will do great things.

    Regardless, his success or failure will keep daring us to stay true to our will for The Good–and to realize our individual potentials to be as good or a greater human being than he is.

    ————-

    Eighty years ago this year, the Nazis staged the Olympics in Berlin, hoping it would be a global exhibition of their power.

    At Berlin Olympic Stadium, Hitler opened the festivities, and 25,000 pigeons were loosed as cannons fired.

    It was glorious.

    And the pigeons—spooked—pooped on the crowd below.

    As in the old days, glory blows in on a booming shitstorm.

    Look to the skies: we get to compete with our shadow again.

    The Dark Father rallies us to our next phase.

    So we might have to duck.

    But praise him.

    CLICK TO READ AT ELEPHANT JOURNAL
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