LITERATURE AND DEMOCRACY

The purpose of all literature and all mythology is to explain ourselves to ourselves. Human beings constantly question what it means to be human in general and ourselves in particular. Our thinking and our stories view ourselves (first person) from a third person perspective. We are thus constantly thinking reflexively about what it means to be this self in particular and any self in general. We are not aware of doing this, but it's constant. Good literature furthers the enterprise and enables us to witness the human experience and apply it to ourselves.

Donald Trump's campaign and now his imminent presidency are devoted to the opposite: not self-understanding but confusion and doubt. Truth not only doesn't matter, he specializes in self-contradictory statements for which his supporters never hold him accountable. Thus rather than revealing truth, and leading humanity in a direction to explore truth and provide governance, Trump disdains truth and makes those around him dependent upon his next statement, his next interpretation of what might, possibly, potentially, maybe, be coming down the line ... but maybe not. In his obfuscation he not only makes every person who depends on his thinking (now all Americans everywhere, and potentially the entire world's population) entirely reliant upon his next inconsistent thought, and he also completes his narcissistic focus on self. No other self matters to narcissists, because everyone else is an extension of himself, an arm, a leg, something to be used as a utility.

Thus, Donald Trump is the opposite of literature, the opposite of truth seeking. He never illuminates; he always beclouds and darkens the horizon.

Yet, the world demands truth, and since the Greeks democratic civilization always has. The Presidency is the ultimate decision making experience, and those effected will remember Trump's decisions. Our job is to be the literature, like in Ray Bradbury's book, Fahrenheit 451. We must be the literature that clarifies, reflects, questions and expands human consciousness.

Leaders like Trump are fascists, strongmen who insist the State is everything and they are the State. "L'etat c'est moi." Democracy demands maturity and human enlightenment. But it also requires attention and focus. This, together, we can achieve, and return our humanity by discovering, acknowledging, and building upon the truth of who we Americans truly are. We are the restoration of the American vision of E Pluribus Unum, and our self-discovery and community building will restore and renew America to the democracy she set out to be.

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© 2016 by Rabbi Mark H. Levin.