I woke up sick this morning. Not the dreaded COVID, but that familiar feeling of a horrible sore throat, something I haven’t had for over a year. And of course, I was angry about it. Three more days of the grandkids visiting and I didn’t want to limp through it feeling sorry for myself. Or angry at Malik for giving me the cold!
So as I was shaving, there were three or four of those drain flies who just will not go away.
And in my anger, I wanted to kill them. And to my credit, I didn’t. Maybe I was remembering the old samurai stories of these professional fighters who weren’t allowed to kill in anger. (Though really, is it better to kill dispassionately?) Or I simply understood that yes, I was still annoyed with these damn flies and have no second thoughts about killing them when I can. But somehow it felt better to kill with annoyance than displace my anger about getting sick and take it out on them. Are you with me?
James Baldwin put it eloquently:
“I imagine that one of the reasons that people cling to their hates so stubbornly is that they sense that once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with their pain.”
And that speaks volumes of the millions who latched on to Trump as a shield to avoid looking at the pain in their own lives. Not only the unavoidable pain of simply being a human being, but their own personal failures and inadequacies that they’re unable to own. This is not politics, it’s character. It’s psychology. It’s the learned ability to face one’s shortcomings, carry one’s grief and not project it out on to others to avoid having to deal with it. It’s a lifestyle based on some twisted need to always have an enemy and to dump all one’s anxieties, fears, failures, shame and blame on to them. It’s about being mad about getting a cold and wanting to take it out on innocent drain flies.
But I didn’t. And neither should you.