As we move deeper and deeper into the current election year, civic virtues and their place in our lives takes a central place in my reflections. Democracy, for instance, is inefficient and makes decisions which are less than optimal, as the mean of our individual choices is not intelligent but average. And thus we have Donald Trump. Average is mean spirited and fearful of the inescapable wave of changes that the future brings. Average wants to maintain the status quo. But in a world of evolution, change is the only constant and the status quo is a dangerous, usually bigoted, delusion.
Trump is good for something, of course. He exposes the blindness of patriotism. Patriots are not principled defenders of the right, the good and the true. They are nationalists, and nationalism is as ugly today as it was in 1944. The fact that patriotic Republicans take Trump to be a well-informed representative of the right reveals the fact that those patriots are blinded by fear-mongers, with Trump in the lead.
I was a soldier once. I risked my life for the United States of America. I have a love for the land of America, and my community is my home. But I do not love America above all else. I love the people of Costa Rica and Iraq and Greece and Mexico. Canada’s vastness is a treasure as is China’s expanse. In my dreams, Africa’s many states are overrun with wealth. Try selling that vision.
Trump risks nothing. Everyone knows that hate and fear are blockbusters. We are built preloaded with the in-group/out-group software installed. The real challenge is stripping ourselves of the bullshit we are programmed with and becoming the seeds of intentional communities. So try something new. Be a citizen of the Earth or the coming Kingdom, but, please, God, do not tell me you are a patriot. Besides, I have more medals than you.