The encounter with evil left on her the imprint of the pattern of evil.
I can see how I, too, have become more like the Bushite forces that I detest.
In my case, it is not a matter of adopting the Bushites' amoral, "winning is everything" approach to life and power. The impact on me has been on a different level.
Now, as I continue to do radio by phone to that area, and as I contemplate possibly resuming a program of my own on my return to that Bushite part of the country, I feel repelled by the idea of talking with those people about our political controversies. I find what I regard as wrong-mindedness as intolerable as many of the Bushites of rural and small-town Virginia used to view my "wrong" ideas.
During the 1990s, I was quite aware that while I regarded my conservative interlocutors primarily as my fellow human beings, and embraced them as such, a good many of them looked on me --progressive, cosmopolitan, intellectual, Yankee that I am-- as a kind of enemy. I approached the show as part of an encompassing "Us," and at least a lot of them approached me in terms of an "Us vs. Them."
This is not how I WANT to feel.
While I can find major justifications for my adversarial stance, and for my feelings of repugnance, I do not believe these attitudes I'm describing are the most enlightened. If would prefer to come from another place in my heart, if I could. But thus far, my feelings of disgust and enmity seemingly come from a place in my being beyond choice.
Where I am is, rather, part of the reverberation of my experience of trauma as the forces of darkness have swept over this land and impacted the deepest fibers of my being. It is a traumatic injury of the soul --just as I imagine Hillary's was-- and the effects seem likely to be slow to heal.
Evil has been assaulting my country, and I felt called to place myself between the two. On the one side, perhaps I can entitle myself to believe that I've played some small role in impeding the triumph of that evil. But on the other, I can see in my heart that, through the intensity of this encounter, evil has left its imprint.
I have become more fearful, just like the fear-driven people through whom this evil has worked.
Where I would wish to be filled with compassion even for my enemies, my compassion now is buried beneath my scorn-- just as the people with whom I used to engage on the radio had learned to regard "librels" with scorn.
Where I would wish to be a builder of bridges, I now can see in myself a longing to live in a world without certain sorts of people-- the people who are on the other side from me of some of our major political and cultural divides. The moat looks better to me than the bridge.
Where I would wish to love humankind, as I always used to, I find that now my view of my kind has become harsher-- just like the harshness of those Bushites in Virginia in whom I used to try to spark some wider feeling of empathy for other people, and other kinds of people. I now experience a Swiftian disgust at human foibles, closer to those whose sin-drenched religious vision feeds a vision of a world at war.