Ever since this meme has been launched, my news feeds have been filled with nothing but attack and defense: You created Trump! No, you did! Let me give you my take; it’s like the rabbi in the old joke said, “You’re right…and you’re right.”
Despite appearances and rhetoric, this issue is not political; it is systemic and universal. What we are experiencing is a playing out of a tension characteristic of all human systems - whether it’s our family, organizations, or, as in this case, our nation.
Change and Stabilization. All human systems exist in the tension between the tendencies for change and those for stabilization. Healthy human systems survive by finding some equilibrium between the two (that may in fact be one definition of healthy); it’s the way systems keep themselves from either stabilizing to the extent of rigidifying into irrelevancy or changing to the point of losing their identity and wholeness. So, for example, even as the movement for change predominates, enough stabilization arises to keep the system growing and together. As one force swings to an extreme, the other predictably rises in revolt. Polarized battles rage between changers (“All this change is healthy, needed, and justified; and you reactionaries are trying to suppress it!”) and the stabilizers (“You radicals have destroyed my country and I want it back.”)
The Changers do create the Stabilizers. In the past decades, change has been on the upswing in the US at a phenomenal pace: the changing complexion of the country – more black, brown, and Asian; the ascendancy of people of color and women into positions of power, in the organization, the arts and political life; gay marriage; equal pay for women; secularization; changing role of men (feminization?); tolerance for Muslims and immigration in general; anti-gun; transsexual rights; the globalization of jobs. Donald Trump may have no solid position on any of these issues, but in the change/stabilization battle, none of that matters. That is not where his appeal lies. When he proudly states that he is not politically correct, that is music to the ears of the oppressed stabilizers. Political correctness is code for the whole change agenda – women, Blacks, immigrants, gun control, globalization, feminization. And when his message is: “Make America great again.” What else could that mean?
The Stabilizers created the Changers. Of course, we have to go back a way to understand where did all this force for change come from? It erupted out of the suppression of change by the stabilizers: the long term oppression of Blacks, the suppression of women, the bigotry against immigrants, the criminalization of homosexuality. All of this emergence and growth arose out of a prolonged revolt against the forces for stabilization, for keeping things as they were. So this is an ongoing tension in all human systems; it is the system’s struggle to survive by changing and stabilizing.
More to come...