Questing for Community, Truth, and Justice, amidst Racism and “Debate” Fallout

We are considering Community as one of the doorways to our deepest humanity, as we find ourselves in a season of voting.

A touch in the midst of trauma: reaching out for comfort at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, Berlin. Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

I was touched by the honest and poignant response to my DM yesterday on the presidential “debate” by a woman who turned off her TV 15 minutes into the debate, had nightmares that night, was physically affected, but found ways to heal the trauma of it all by journaling and talking to friends and counselors. 

It is a touching story of the price humans pay when we are in the presence of abuse and the presence of lies.  20,000 lies and counting from a president comes at a price.

Peaceful BLM protest and march to the Miami Dade Police Dept. Photo by Zoe Fernandez on Unsplash

When Thomas Aquinas instructs us that “truth and justice are the proper objects of the heart,” he is implying that not only do humans yearn for truth and justice and are made for truth and justice, but the opposite must be true too: When we are not in the presence of truth and justice, but in the presence of lies and rancor and injustice, our hearts are going to be wounded.  We may suffer severely, in body, soul, heart and mind.

There can be no democracy without a common quest for truth and justice.   Of course, as humans, we never arrive there; it is a process and only partial imbibing of truth and justice is possible.  But we must try.  And we hope to see that effort in our leaders who represent us.  When we don’t, we can expect to become sick physically and mentally–and hopefully it moves us to action—to vote, to organize, to run for office oneself and support those who seem to have truth and justice as part of their value system.

Proud Boys defending Chilean dictator Pinochet in Pittsboro, 2019. Photo by Anthony Crider on Flickr.

If we live in a political universe where lies have become the coin of the realm for four years, our hearts, bodies and souls may be off center and disturbed.  We need to address that disturbance and care for ourselves and also, of course, for the body politic.

I was struck by Van Jones’ response to the presidential “debate.”  He said he saw three things: 1) Trump’s embrace of the white supremacist group, “Proud boys,” telling them to “stand by.” 2) Trump’s embrace of the white supremacist group and 3) Trump’s embrace of the white supremacist group. 

Many pundits have chosen this as the low point of what was already a low point in presidential “debates.”  Republican senators running for office are few and far between to be heard objecting to even that bottom line racial explosion.

“We Can Do Better” – Black Lives Matter protesters. Photo by Benjamin Finley on Unsplash

But I want to offer this one question: Why are we surprised?  Remember the “there were fine people on both sides” remark made by the president when the anti-semite and anti-black and anti-gay marchers with torches in hand paraded and chanted their bile at Charlottesville?  And one woman who opposed the racism was murdered when a car purposely drove into counter demonstrators?  It is time to surrender our naivete about racism in America.  To be continued

See Matthew Fox, The Tao of Thomas Aquinas: Fierce Wisdom for Hard Times, pp. 101-136. 

See Matthew Fox, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil and Soul and Society, pp. 321ff.

Banner Image: “No Muslim Ban 2, 02/04/2017, Penn Quarter, Washington DC” Photo by Ted Eytan on Flickr.

Do you agree that truth and justice travel together in our hearts and souls?  What havoc, then, do untruths in injustice do to us as individuals and to us as communities?

The Tao of Thomas Aquinas: Fierce Wisdom for Hard Times

A stunning spiritual handbook drawn from the substantive teachings of Aquinas’ mystical/prophetic genius, offering a sublime roadmap for spirituality and action.
Foreword by Ilia Delio.
“What a wonderful book!  Only Matt Fox could bring to life the wisdom and brilliance of Aquinas with so much creativity. The Tao of Thomas Aquinas is a masterpiece.”
–Caroline Myss, author of Anatomy of the Spirit

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4 thoughts on “Questing for Community, Truth, and Justice, amidst Racism and “Debate” Fallout”

  1. Avatar

    Dear Matthew Fox,
    I don’t know how I would have made it through this year (so far!) without your presence in my life. I read every daily mediation and often forward them to family or take snippets and post on social media (with attribution, of course!) I listen to your teachings and read your books. I had been struck by how civil rights law in the USA and the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights differed in the use of the word “dignity.” The Declaration uses the word often and our laws don’t. Our dignity is damaged by the “havoc that does untruths” as you say in today’s meditation question. It is a moral injury as well as a physical one. The present administration has done plenty of physical damage to our planet and the bodies of humans and all of Earth’s inhabitants. But the damage to our democracy and community, the gaslighting, the insults, the modeling of how to bully, making fun of integrity, and the blatant abuse of power has also deflated our dignity. It is hard to stand upright after receiving another blow. We feel tainted by the ugliness, bowed by its current power over good, and shocked by the acceptance of such incivility by 1/3 of our population. The therapy for the cost of indignity is hard to find. When I was a therapist for abused children and their families, I witnessed the physical, emotional and spiritual deflating of the young ones, a trauma that is (without some sort of intervention) passed on through the generations. It defeats hope, it encourages hate, it creates self-hatred. The fact that you stay afloat and fly the flag of human dignity, the dignity of all life, and the dignity of Mother Earth, has made all the difference for me. Profound thankfulness comes from whatever shred of dignity I have been able to hold on to, through your help. May whatever life is left in me be focused on compassion for that injury in all of us, and be focused also on action to restore the best in humanity. Your student, Carmen

    1. Richard E Reich

      Thank you so much Carmen for your kind words that express the fact that, you get what Matthew is trying to do and say. I too am a student of Matthew Fox and have been for many years, and I agree with you wholeheartedly! Blessings to you and yours…

  2. Avatar

    I agree that we should not be surprised about anything that this president does. Someone who would brag during his campaign in 2016 that he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and get away with it and welcome Russia and other countries to interfere in our election is capable of anything to stay in power. I think the naivete of so many people and the lack of proactivity on the part of Democrats has only helped him. The evil that his actions has spawned is debilitating, but we must put it all into perspective and realize that we still must act for justice and community as best we can.

    1. Richard E Reich

      Thank you Sue for your comment. I definitely agree with your conclusion and that is: “The evil that his [the President’s] actions has spawned is debilitating, but we must put it all into perspective and realize that we still must act for justice and community as best we can.” In this you have stated the bottom line for we who stand on the side of justice!

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