by David Hutchinson
Election aftermath, 4am. Sleep eludes me. But within me, an unexpected sense of hope and self-determination has taken hold amidst yesterday’s heart-wrenching turn of world events. Over the last 18 months, with horror and morbid fascination, I’ve watched the US election process as Americans revealed the worst side of themselves in giving air to the shallow, mean-spirited and truth-shunning bletherings of Donald J. Trump. Today he’s President Trump.
What I didn’t expect to feel is the sense of perspective the outcome has given me. It’s time to look less at the mad ramblings of the noisy few, which I now see are the boisterous many. In Australia we may kid ourselves that we could never go the Trump way, but I don’t believe it for a moment. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs makes it clear that our physiological and safety needs must be met before we can foster belongingness, esteem or self-actualisation. If the chips were down, many of us would do as millions of Americans have – railed against the trials of meeting their basic needs amidst the fear that if things go pear-shaped, they’ll be living under bridges with a shameful number of their contemporaries. The social safety net in the land of the free is truly abysmal. It’s led to a deep sense of fear and an election result that will echo through the ages as a seismic turning point. In our national broadcaster’s coverage of yesterday’s events, Bob Carr used the word tectonic and warned of the dangers of normalising this profound historic moment.
I can do no other than join his call for urgent reflection on what’s essential in life. And the urgency that keeps me awake now is the clarion call to turn down the volume on the clamouring masses and look to what’s most in my heart. I did not expect the present creeping sense of relief, but I welcome it. I’m relieved that my own priorities are clearer. I’ll run my business to meet my physiological and safety needs, but I will joyfully cultivate my psychological and self-fulfilment needs. I devote my inner life to the values I cherish: refinement of the inner life, serenity, love, expertise and creativity.
Donald Trump and millions of calumnious American voters, you have imposed upon yourselves a dishonourable era which will slither across the planet occluding truth, beauty and goodness. But I thank you for awakening in me Whitman’s Last Invocation:
Let me glide noiselessly forth;
With the key of softness unlock the locks – with a whisper,
Set ope the doors, O Soul!