Trump has happened. He is the Republican front-runner for the presidency of United States. But how, you ask with obtuse bewilderment. How could this have happened!? You gain some uneasy comfort by pointing your finger at "all those racists" that are voting for him, but truth be told, Trump's success is an indictment of your own indifference.
Nothing happens in a capsule. No act of racism, no act of terrorism, no wall. Nothing occurs without the transpiration of a preceding event. Every action, inaction, and reaction is a building block upon which the next event relies. Every closed eye, every turned head, and every muted mouth in the face of human violence and suffering is a tacit acceptance of that violence.
America has become disturbingly indifferent to violence, in all its forms. Where compassion and true moral leadership once existed, hypocrisy and American exceptionalism now reside. Forever viewing ourselves as the victims, the bedrock principles of responsibility, accountability, and truth have long disappeared. It is America first, at all costs, with no moral boundaries.
You may not have liked what you saw, but you spoke-up only when you believed that it directly affected you, and shuttered the blinds when it did not. Then suddenly, when the blinds are lifted and a monster is at your doorstep, you naively question how it could have happened.
Well, Trump happened when you remained silent about the torture and gross violations of human rights on Guantanamo Bay and in Abu Ghraib.
Trump happened when the loss of limb and life at the bombing of a great American race created a national outcry for retaliation and more bloodshed, while the loss of limb and life by great American bombs for over half a century (and counting) in Cambodia and Laos goes unnoticed, unattended, and unpunished.
Trump happened when you refused to hold the political and military leaders of the United States, and its allies, to the same moral and legal standards of accountability that America holds leaders in other countries.
Trump happened when you accepted the killing of thousands of civilians by drone strikes as nothing more than an unfortunate collateral consequence of the "war on terror," never questioning the legitimacy of the strikes or the destruction of innocent lives.
Trump happened when you sat silent as due process, the pillar of American democracy, was gradually eroded under the poor disguise of national security.
Trump happened when you regarded American comfort and safety as paramount to the lives and livelihood of all other people on this planet, never concerned about how it was provided to you. You ate the chicken, but you didn't care how it was raised or slaughtered. Well now those chickens have come home to roost. Trump has happened, and now you must confront yourself. Your inaction and indifference is inextricably linked to the evolution of the collective American consciousness that gave rise to Trump. Trump is the embodiment of all that is America. He is the personification of what you have all along silently accepted. He is you, out loud.
Or maybe Trump represents all that America has always been. Maybe America was never a country of tolerance, truth, and compassion. Maybe that is just a great American illusion. A myth that we perpetuate to give us purpose when we hold our hands over our hearts as we mumble the words to The Star Spangled Banner. After all, we are the same country that brought you African slavery, Native American genocide, Japanese internment camps, the Ku Klux Klan, and Jim Crow. Why should we be any different now?
So now what? You've gone to the Trump rallies with your pitchforks. Good start. Are you ready to take the next step? Are you ready to change yourself and your relationship to your country? Are you ready to scream out loud against injustice, hypocrisy, and violence wherever you may find it, even when it is committed by your own country or your own party? Are you ready to sacrifice a slice of loyalty to Country for some much needed loyalty to humanity? If not, then you are not yet ready for true change, at least not the change that is required to transform America into the country that you believe it is, or into a country that would not tolerate a Trump.
Trump happened because you read this letter and still did not change. Who we are, and the catalyst for what we can be, falls squarely in our hands.
"We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him." - Mahatma Gandhi