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Hearts of Gold / Hearts of Stone (1)

August 1, 2016

I want to use the old fashioned term, “heartless.” It describes the response to Mr. and Mrs. Khan by Republican leaders such as McConnell and Ryan (this page), and glaringly by Trump (page 2).

Grief invited Politics to have a public conversation within the general context of public, collective morality.  The invitation was rejected, the opportunity for a vital conversation went into the trash.

The invitation took the form of an urgent request for an extraordinary action that might be appropriate in the extraordinary political circumstances that have been created by the Republican Party. They have broken it, now will they own up to it? Repudiation of their candidate, even in view of his obvious and extreme offences, is a lot to ask. It would be an act of high consciousness of the party’s negative shadow, a pulling back of its projection of its self-centeredness and impulse to violence. It would be, in the party’s culturally dominant Christian terms, a confession, a repentance, a request for forgiveness, an act of contrition.

I doubt that many people would guess that the Republicans could do something like that. We know their shallowness, fear, unprincipled opportunism, and hypocrisy. But the minimal, required civil gesture was to turn their eyes towards a conversation on the subject of whether Trump is a morally tolerable candidate.

Politics is a form of the universal human characteristic, conversation, which is an archetypal pattern that our personal and collective imaginations use, in the very act of forming and reforming our humanity. It’s who we are.

Every act by a president is an affirmative or negative word in an ongoing conversation, with the citizenry, and with history. It enacts the historicism of the soul, even in its pathologies, sometime especially in its pathos.

We see that truth written on the face of Lincoln. We know that during the Cuban missile crisis, that soulful conversation guided JFK and his brother, Bobby, quietly in contemplation, as well as in somber conversations with each other and advisors.  We heard it again in Bobby’s address to the crowd in Indianapolis when he told them of the assassination of MLK.

Politics in a democracy must be a conversation, and one that is unshirking, candid, and heartfelt.

In response to the Khans’ invitation, Majority Leader McConnell and Speaker Ryan squirmed for their party, then looked off to the side.

[Update: I see where a Republican advisor to Bush and Romney has repudiated Trump (leaving the party, and even imagining voting for Hillary). Putting morality and humaneness before politics, Sally Bradshaw said:

“I can’t look my children in the eye and tell them I voted for Donald Trump. I can’t tell them to love their neighbor and treat others the way they wanted to be treated, and then vote for Donald Trump. I won’t do it.”

She calls this election “a test.” The Q is a moral one, taken in “the heart’s imagination” (Hillman). This might become a moral vehicle for R re-alignment. Trump’s advisor, Roger Stone, tweeted, “GOOD RIDDANCE…” Perhaps the discord will be creative.]

[Page 2 of this episode.]

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