Opinion: The time is over for “thoughts and prayers” in America. Let’s get courageous, not complacent.

What I’m about to share may or may not resonate with you. I might even piss some people off with this, but it feels important for me to express. I share this with you from the perspective of being a woman, an artist, an ontological coach who advocates for emotional learning and self-awareness, and a first-generation American. With everything happening in our world today, I’ve been reflecting a lot on my observations. The following is an opinion piece about the president, the overlap I see happening with U.S. politics and spirituality, and the importance of having the courage to feel anger.

Shattering Illusions in Abusive Circumstances

I believe that Americans are in an abusive relationship with this president. I see this president as an abuser, and there are two major illusions that we must shatter immediately.

Illusion #1: We hope the abuser will change. We pray for the abuser to change.

They won’t.

Change is possible…BUT…an abuser doesn’t miraculously change. Abusers change their behavior when they take full responsibility and seek professional help. It is not only rare for them to do this, but it takes a lot of dedicated time and work on their part.

There is no sign whatsoever that this president is seeking help, his mental health is rapidly declining, and he refuses to take any iota of responsibility for anything he says or does. These are basic red flags that indicate he will never change his behavior during this presidency, or even in this lifetime.

Illusion #2: We think we can save the abuser. We think we can help him see his wrongdoing by giving him another chance. 

By giving an abuser a second (third, fourth, fifth…) chance, we are communicating that we accept the repeated abuse and thus enable the behavior to continue. Our failure to remove this president has been our biggest form of enablement thus far.

Praying is Important for Our Self-Healing, But It’s Not a Political Solution

I would never, ever advocate for you to stop connecting with a higher power or energy. Please do so, as I will continue to do so as well. Spiritual practices are so very important, especially in hard times.

By all means, please pray, meditate, connect with the universe/ your god / spirit / angels and ancestors…but do not let the romanticism of “thoughts and prayers” allow you to abdicate your social responsibility to denounce oppression.

“Thoughts and prayers” are not political solutions.
“Thoughts and prayers” won’t fix or change this. 

“Thoughts and prayers” won’t bring back the thousands of people who are dying and will continue to die due to this president’s negligence and total inability to delegate/ organize/ lead/ console / help at all.

“Thoughts and prayers” won’t stop him from being an authoritarian. 
“Thoughts and prayers” won’t stop injustice and hateful words or actions.
“Thoughts and prayers” won’t stop corruption and lies.

You can’t pray away fascist ideology.

Only courageous revolutionary voices and actions can do that. 

By all means, please pray. It’s such a beautiful thing. But do be deceived by the fantasy that this president will suddenly come to his senses or magically refrain from his abuse simply because we prayed for it to be so.

It simply will not happen. It is arguably impossible for this to occur in the timeframe that we would need it to occur.

We would be enabling and falling prey to an abuser, to think he has the capability of changing into a responsible leader overnight. And yet we keep waiting for it. Why? The kind of healing he needs would require a serious medical intervention and years of therapy. So why are we expecting him to have some sort of heavenly revelation that causes him to no longer be an abusive, malignant narcissist? 

Abusers manipulate you into thinking they will change. 
Almost all of the time…they don’t.

Many experts will say that there is no cure for malignant narcissism. 

And even if there was, he will never do the disciplined emotional work required to heal his wounds that would then allow him to lead with basic care and decency.

He is a demagogue unless he suddenly chooses not to be. And we all know, he will not choose to change. Nor do we have the time to sit around indulging in his antics, pretending like he will.

He has broken our trust – over, and over, and over again.
He has proven he is unfit to lead – over, and over, and over again.
He has made a mockery of our democracy – over, and over, and over again.
He has fully shown us who he is – over, and over, and over again.
He is an oppressor with no empathy for human life.
He is dangerous and unhinged.

If he was your friend, your partner, your family member…
Would you continue to allow his abuse?
Would you continue to allow him to speak to you like this?
To treat you like this?
To lie to you, gaslight you, and manipulate you like this?

Would you keep going back?
No.

At some point you would say:
Enough is enough.
I deserve better.
I deserve to be treated with respect.

If he was your friend, your partner, your family member…
you would likely look for the support of the people around you and ask them to help you to:
Take a stand.
Speak up.
Find safety.
Confront the problem.
Seek justice.
Advocate for yourself.
Advocate for the other people he is hurting.

This president is a toxic relationship that needed to end yesterday.

If You’re Angry, Don’t Hide It – Transform It

Many of us feel angry and don’t know what to do with that anger, so we subdue it or ignore it. Maybe we think it’s shameful to be angry or that “spiritual people shouldn’t express anger.” The truth is, anger is simply an emotion that every human is allowed to feel. What matters is how well we channel it. Please do not fall into complacency and subdue your anger at the injustices you see, with transient gestures such as “thoughts and prayers.”

Anger doesn’t make you a bad person. It makes you a powerful advocate.

Anger tells you exactly what you feel passionate about changing.

Like all emotions, anger is sacred; and we can honor it by transforming it into fuel for courageous living.

Courage is the territory we must be willing to explore now.

I don’t have the answers, but I have questions:

  • What would happen if as a collective, we were willing to deeply learn about courage together?
  • What does courage mean to you?
  • In what ways can you transform your own anger into courage?

I believe…

The time is over for “thoughts and prayers.”
Those words now seem like a lame excuse for us to sit back and wait for someone else to solve the problem.

What we need is…
Leadership
Accountability
Trust
Respect
Humility
Discipline
Safety
Discernement
Courage
and Love.

I believe we need to do the work to cultivate these qualities within ourselves and we need to demand them from our leaders.

So if you’re going to pray in the name of politics – pray for the strength to take a stand for what you believe in.