A friend asked: "When Trump says he will make America great again, to what do you think he is referring?"
I thought I was just going to type a quick response, but clearly, my recent studies in social policy, social justice, and social law have helped educate me on aspects of our political system of which I was previously unaware.
I have stayed out of politics for years, focused on the relationships, values, and choices in my own life, but I'm learning how important it is, especially as a person born with incredible privilege, to be aware of politics (which is virtually anything regarding policies - underlying values, power to influence, implementation of policies, equality, etc.) and their effect on individuals, families, communities, our country, and collective humanity. How do my values translate to political positions? How does all that I have learned on my journey into the soul inform my perspective of political issues?
I used to believe that I was socially liberal and fiscally conservative. I now realize that those two ideologies don't go together. Social liberation requires that more equity be created through fiscal and policy change. I'm also learning that many of the social problems, from domestic poverty and violence to immigration, are actually effects of prior policies with non-inclusive agendas. Many "needy" people are "needy" because of US policy. Because I'm now aware of how legislative, judicial, and executive policy make such an impact in the quality of life of people, and their capacity to reach their human potential, I feel like it would be irresponsible of me to continue to "opt out" of political engagement. My interests in self-esteem and self-actualization are political issues. This awareness is probably obvious to many, but it is quite a breakthrough for me - a paradigm shift.
Here is the response I gave to my friend when she asked: "When Trump says he will make America great again, to what do you think he is referring?"
I believe he's talking about "The American Dream," but sadly that is only available to people with privilege, and that kind of "success" is won at the expense of everyone else. The media, corporations, the ruling elite have worked hard to paint a picture where social welfare is what keeps opportunity away from the middle class, when the top 20%, and even more so, the top 1% are the ones who are gathering all the wealth. I know good people who support Trump and believe Trump can help their families to thrive. There is a gap in education in the real cost of conservative social and fiscal policy. Even when income taxes are cut they are often raised somewhere else, usually in ways that disproportionately burden middle and lower classes. Education, in my opinion, is the answer. Education without judgment on what people have believed to this point. The majority of privileged people have been brainwashed into believing it is all thru their own hard work, not through discriminatory policy, that they have had any measure of success. I believe education of privileged people will allow the power of privilege to then be turned to social equity. I pray we have eyes to see and ears to hear. I give thanks for social media that allows more than the dominant voices to be heard. I give thanks for all those compiling evidence of the effects of discrimination and presenting it in a way that is digestible to people who have been believing the elite agenda for years. I pray that I walk in and as social justice and that I use any influence I have with wisdom and humility, in service to the whole of creation. I pray I remain open and teachable, that my biases are revealed so I can investigate their validity, and that my heart remains open and prayerful toward all, believing we can all, myself included, be transformed by grace.