Donald Trump’s unremitting Twitter tirades about anything and everything that irks him and anyone and everyone who besmirches him and last week’s release of an 2005 Access Hollywood video of his hot-mike (didn’t he know he was being recorded?) self-revelatory ruminations about his view of women stirs in me a number of thoughts.
One. The difference between the public square and one’s private space. In the former, our social mores and laws (rooted, flowering, and ever-evolving throughout an ongoing human history of life lived in community) demand more of us in terms of civility and that nebulous designation (though, I think, most know it when they see it) of “common decency.” In the latter, we enjoy more freedom and, indeed, oft take greater liberties to say aloud and show outwardly our innermost thoughts and feelings.
Two. The occurrence is frequent enough to be commonplace when the boundary evaporates between the public realm and our private worlds and we say and do in communal space what ought to be cloistered (again, in the light of a shared sense of civility and common decency) within the our most personal spheres of existence.
Three. When that happens, and with Mr. Trump’s aforementioned vulgar tour de force in mind, I find myself responding in two vastly dissimilar ways: shock and sympathy (yes, sympathy). I am shocked at the crudity of his language and, even more, his brutalizing dehumanizing objectification of women. I sympathize, looking at myself through the bright lens of searing self-confession, as I recall moments when I exhibited in word or deed less than virtuous attributes of compassion and care, less than righteous attitudes of love and respect for the God-given dignity others.
Four. At the risk of seeming to trivialize Mr. Trump’s comportment as an object lesson, I am led to a renewed consideration of what constitutes – not mature (for I view the word as wholly subjective, its definition easily given to individual experience and example, observation and opinion), but rather – healthy and helpful (meaning that which benefits, indeed, blesses all) conduct.
Five. One idea among many (and speaking always and only for myself)… Healthy, helpful behavior commends, commands that I, concerning my thoughts and feelings, my wants and needs, develop and maintain knowledge (that they exist) and understanding (how they manifest themselves) and express them in ways that strengthen and sustain my relationships with others, verily, that strengthen and sustain others, both of which only others can confirm.
Six. What for you constitutes healthy, helpful behavior?
Seven. Asking the question of myself, I will continue to think about it. More to come…