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Posted May 22, 2017:

Aggrieved

Over at “What’s Tony Thinking?” I cite an article by Michael Gerson which attributes the affinity between Trump self-identified “evangelicals” to be rooted in a common sense of grievance.

It’s easy to get focused on our grievances, isn’t it? “They didn’t treat me fairly!” “I didn’t get the opportunities I deserved!” “She didn’t do me right!”

It’s a dead end. As William Sloane Coffin once wrote, wisely, “Nothing separates us more from God and our fellow human beings than our grievances. If you want to avoid God, concentrate on money, status, and health, but most of all on your grievances.”

Even if there are real injustices (and there surely are), it’s one thing to name and deal them — as best one can — and it is something else again to live from a place of resentment and grievance.

As people in recovery communities like to say, “Resentment like is drinking poison and expecting the other guy to die.”
Well, we’ve got a lot of toxins in our body politic these days — grievance, resentment, unhinged anger. Trump seems to embody this sickness, taking every opportunity to indulge in complaint, poor-me, self-pity, while alternately going for boasting and self-congratulation.

But it’s not just white men or working class people or evangelicals who seem possessed by this spirit of grievance. It’s a much wider malady. A spiritual sickness, which is at the real root of our problems as a nation and society.

Which is why the basic solution to our problems is not a political solution. It’s not a matter of getting rid of Trump on the assumption that will solve everything. It’s not a matter of electing a different President or getting Democrats or progressives in power and then everything will be fine again.

Sure a different, actually mature human being in the White House would help, but having more mature, grown-up people in all our houses (homes, offices, legislative bodies, churches, businesses) is the real and pressing need.

Say this for Donald Trump: he embodies our core problem to a “T” — too much childish behavior, too little maturity, too little responsibility and restraint. That’s not a Republican problem or a Democrat one. It’s a human problem, and right now it’s our American problem.

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