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The Thread that Binds Trump Supporters to the Philosophy of Gandhi A Personal Perspective

Cynthia Marek Lundeen
 
 

   In a world now fraught with daily horrors, The Republican National Convention has concluded without major incident, a wonderful testament to the coterie of services providing security in Cleveland, yet Mr. Trump’s acceptance speech, giving voice to his supporters, has in some quarters been characterized as dark and angry.
   Interestingly, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, Arun Gandhi, speaking at The City Club of Cleveland in 2015 stated that his grandfather had compared anger to electricity: both are powerful forces that if channeled appropriately can be used constructively for the good of humanity, but both can be destructive if not properly controlled.
That the American populace is rightfully angry with many of the elected public servants is now well recognized and much of the justifiable anger centers around the Iraq War.
   It is sobering to reflect upon the fact that in another time, Winston Churchill, most strenuously believed that WWII could have been avoided and afterwards wrote in his own inimitable style in the preface to his work The Gathering Storm as follows: ‘One day President Roosevelt told me that he was asking publicly for suggestions about what the war should be called. I said at once “The Unnecessary War.” There never was a war more easy to stop than that which has just wrecked what was left of the world from the previous struggle.’
    Mr. Trump’s supporters have harnessed their anger by voting for a candidate in the Republican primary outside of the political system, yet the U.S., with a form of government which provides for the orderly transition of leadership, has left his supporters with a full nineteen months between the announcement of his candidacy and Inauguration day. This is a significant amount of time for anger to simmer, yet there is constructive action which can be taken while we await the general election.
   Both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders (who has not received his party’s nomination) have called attention to the urgent need to rebuild U.S. infrastructure, therefore, I urge Mr. Trump to do the following:
   Mr. Trump, please call upon all Americans, whether or not they support you, to consider educating themselves to some degree in matters of construction, even if at a level of basic home repair. We will need capable individuals to fill jobs rebuilding roads, bridges, buildings and up-grading utilities et cetera, all of which are jobs which must be performed on sight. People can begin to educate themselves at little or no expense, by volunteering for Habitat for Humanity, by reading or watching tutorials via the internet, through library facilities or through classes given in local communities. In my community, a not-for-profit, the Home Repair Resource Center, offers workshops for general home maintenance.
   Such self-education will allow the American people to productively and appropriately harness their anger for a positive purpose. Moreover, as Inauguration Day conveniently occurs on Friday January 20, 2017, the American people can have the weekend to celebrate the election of the winner, whoever that may be, and on Monday, January 23, 2017 we can immediately commence (i.e., “hit the ground running”) rebuilding our infrastructure which will also be symbolic of rebuilding our nation as a whole.
   While not everyone may have the talent or inclination for building, maintenance and repair, I believe that working with one’s own hands is sometimes looked upon rather dismissively, yet our virtual world is entirely supported by the real world. From satellites in the far flung reaches of outer space to cable buried beneath the sea, every magical element of our virtual world, every hologram, every voice carried around the world, does so through the physical objects created by real people in the real world.
   Rebuilding relationships is crucial as well, and while many of Mr. Trump’s supporters approve of his tone, saying that they are tired of polite politicians who don’t keep their promises, I have encountered supporters who admire his policies, yet none-the-less find some of his rhetoric insulting.
   Although many people may as children have learned the refrain “sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me,” in fact the very etymology of the word “insult” reveals why words are perceived as painful. In the English language, both the word “insult” and “assault” are derived from the Latin word “salire” meaning to “jump,” thus people who are insulted may feel jumped upon. While it can be helpful psychologically to those on the receiving end of an insult to grow a “thicker skin” those on the delivering end may wish to consider that people who feel jumped upon are less likely to be receptive to a message, no matter how beneficial that message may be.
   Now that Mr. Trump has won his party’s nomination, to win over skeptical voters in the general election, as the saying goes, Mr. Trump may need to “mend some fences” but Mr. Trump is after all a builder, so it is hoped that mending fences will come naturally to him.
 

 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 

 

 

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