An Infected President, A Whiff of Karma, A Dose of Mortality

It is a significant moment when the president of a country comes down with a virus infection that has so far killed 210,000+ Americans and infected over 7 million.  A virus creates a level playing field that is rare for the highly placed.  Mr. Trump and his wife now descend from a land of golden toilets and towers sporting their names to be among the vulnerable ones, 7 million of them, including many black and brown people who pay their taxes and serve with far less privilege. 

Rory Cooney set Mary’s Magnificat to music with this “Canticle of the Turning” declaring, let every king beware for your justice tears every tyrant from their thrones. Originally posted to YouTube by tranceseraph.

One wishes the Trumps a healthy revival, as one wishes the other 7 million victims of the virus.

One is tempted to speak of karma and one receiving what one has sown, as is taught in both Buddhism and Christianity.  The irony that Mr. Trump downplayed the seriousness of the virus for many months to the public, all the while knowing it carried grave consequences, cannot be ignored.  Or that his side of the aisle at the Tuesday debates was virtually mask-free even though masks were required by the state of Ohio. Those who live by Denial may also die of it; and those who flaunt rules and laws because they feel beyond them may do the same.

Artistic skull in the midst of plants. Photo by John Bogna on Unsplash.

The virus is part of the climate change reality that has utterly altered our skies and clean air here in the West for months, and of the advanced and ever more ferocious hurricanes that harass the southern United States.  Yet denial of climate change has been the name of the game from Mr. Trump and his Republican comrades for four years.

There is a real danger that those who live by lies can die of lies. 

So I hope that the Trumps learn some deeper truths during their incubation and struggle with this serious disease.

Living with this virus for 9 months has brought mortality more and more into our purview.   That is by no means a negative thing, for awareness of one’s mortality is a foundational ingredient to living a worthwhile and meaningful life.  I know its awareness woke me up when I acquired polio as a young teenager—it made me think about bigger things than just taking care of myself.  Things like gratitude, along with questions about how to give thanks and how to serve, should I live and walk again.

Woman meditation in Williamsburg, United States. Photo by JD Mason on Unsplash.

So I encourage the Trumps to take advantage of this “down time” in quarantine to meditate on their own mortality and to ask, if they return healthy from this ordeal, how they might render their lives and work more meaningful and beautiful for others.  Do not pass up such an opportunity to learn to let go to practice ever deeper commitment to the common good.

If the results are that one or both Trumps join the 210,000 Americans who did not make it through this virus successfully, one hopes and prays that their last days may overflow with a new found wisdom, one that prefers truth and community to its opposite.

See: ‘Not a Tragic Accident—A Crime Scene’: Critics Say Trump Covid Diagnosis a ‘Culmination’ of His Deadly Pandemic Response

See Matthew Fox, Confessions: The Making of a Post-Denominational Priest, pp. 58-62, 290, 306-310.

Banner Image: Placard declaring quarantine area. Photo by CDC on Unsplash.

Queries for Contemplation

Have you learned a lot from meditating on mortality, a lot that was important and even wise?

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3 thoughts on “An Infected President, A Whiff of Karma, A Dose of Mortality”

  1. Avatar
    Anne Marie Raftery

    Rev. Matthew: As always, with clarity, honesty and inspiration, you deliver to us,
    this day, the appropriate reflection for our contemplation to which I say, Amen.
    Thank you.

  2. Avatar

    As Saturday Night Live had it last night on the first show of the new season, the president’s illness is the meeting of karma and science. Let us all pray that small and hard hearts, including our own when we consider those we dislike or fear, grow into the inclusitivity of divine love and generosity and compassion and forgiveness.

  3. Avatar

    I have never been so impressed by perhaps the most important mentor of my life. Your message has given me renewed hope. Thank you Matthew Fox.

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