Enter the Jester
“Hope, on the one hand, is an absurdity too embarrassing to speak about, for it flies in the face of all those claims we have been told are facts. Hope is the refusal to accept the reading of reality which is the majority opinion; and one does that only at great political risk. On the other hand, hope is subversive, for it limits the grandiose pretension of the present, daring to announce that the present to which we have all made commitments is now called into question.”
Walter Brueggeman (The Prophetic Imagination)
There is a pall over America right now. It is as though a critical piece of the American psyche had died, and we're all waiting for the funeral. In the meantime, we're filing around the casket with vacant eyes. In this deep and protracted period of mourning, we are watching an impostor, a caricature, a cartoon person ascending. We keep trying to reshape this bizarre fabrication into something palatable and recognizable as our president, but it simply snaps back into itself like a twisted balloon.
What the election of Mr. Trump has done is expose the underbelly of a nation that thought of itself as having “moved on.” Never mind the persistent bickering and inaction of our government, and the grinding pace of social change—we were used to that. Some even thought gridlock was a good thing. Never mind the mind-numbing failure of our public schools, and our ever rising medical costs. Forget those empty factory buildings, and our crumbling bridges. Forget the flood of opiate addiction and military suicide, and constant gun violence in our streets—we talk about them, but only to tut-tut and move on. But this! How did we come to this?
That's how we came to this! All of the above is how we came to this moment. Somewhere along the way, we lost hope of something better, and it took a profound shock to wake us from our zombie trance. We have been sleep-walking for a long, long time. But we're awake now, by golly! Activation of the jester archetype is always jarring—that shape-shifting, twirling, watch the world burn, coyote/joker is a change maker. Devil may care, let's do it my way, create as much chaos as possible, and see what happens. The great advantage of this is not the ascendancy of Mr. Trump—it's the alertness of the American people. And now that we're awake, what will we do? The hope for us, in my opinion, and it's a great hope, is that our wonderfully creative capacity to innovate, that alchemical spirit that changes lead into gold, is alive and well, and will rise up and carry us through this time of sweeping change. I have hope and I'll bet you do, too.
In the Spirit,