Donald Trump and Me.

Charissa Steyn
4 min readNov 14, 2020

A Surprising, Slightly Awkward Way Out of Our Polarization

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

I don’t want to be like him. But if I take two seconds to do a bit of honest soul searching, I find the similarities staring back at me.

They seem to be waiting for me to acknowledge them, but more than that to receive them…as a gift.

I’ve been ruminating on these disturbing thoughts for what seems like a couple of years now.

How could admitting that I resemble that man be so profound, even revolutionary?

Because to me, Donald Trump, is not someone I want to emulate, but rather a distant enemy I’d like to curse. I’d rather keep him and all my fellow humans who agree with and celebrate him at a distance. I’d like to separate myself as much as possible and draw a distinct line in the sand, or maybe a wall would better get the point across?

You are not welcome over here. I don’t want to listen to your rhetoric or support your policies. I don’t agree with anything that comes out of your mouth and I will never stand for your actions.

Is this hatred I’m sensing in myself, I wonder?

I try to talk myself out of using such strong language.

But confessing my hatred might be the only way forward. Towards forgiveness, towards love, and ultimately towards reconciliation. Obviously, I will never get the opportunity to meet Trump, but for the rest of my life, I will be presented with endless, incredible opportunities to interact with people who back him up.

And if I don’t come face to face with my very real hatred of those “other” people, I will essentially be slamming doors in the faces of about half of my fellow humans in this country.

Ofcourse, I could choose to be perfectly okay with such behavior. Most of the time I am. I might even justify it, calling it “wisdom” or “setting up healthy boundaries” or “protecting myself from further harm or trauma.”

But this decision comes with a cost I don’t think I’m willing to pay anymore.

The cost of continuing to infiltrate our world with more division and anger and pain. I don’t want my children to grow up in a world where people are thrown into categories- good or bad, foe or friend.

I want to be able to show them a way forward that is riskier than that- the way of love.

Our views and beliefs and behaviors, no matter how whacked up they might sound or look to one another, can never provide us with enough reason to seek revenge, to give up on forgiveness, to release ourselves from the hard work of seeking harmony.

I’ve listened to several podcast interviews with Rob Bell over the last couple of months where he drops in these words, and they make me stop every time.

“The real invitation to expansion,” he says, “is to look far enough inside of yourself that you find everybody else and you look far enough inside everyone else that you find yourself. Political polarization is the inability to see yourself in someone else.”

Ugh.

I wish what Rob Bell said didn’t resonate, but it does, and annoyingly so.

To see me in someone like Donald Trump feels awkward and humbling, to put it mildly.

I’m sure you all know what qualities I’m talking about here.

The part in each of us that wants to be righteous and perfect and strong. The part that thrives on building walls and bringing division and spilling our selfish agendas into the streets. The part that refuses to concede and instead to pick fights. The part of us that thinks we are somehow better, more qualified than someone else.

Now, this is where the real work begins. Can we find our way through to a new world where peace isn’t just a possibility but a present reality for each and every living creature on this earth? Where we all have space to thrive, to evolve and grow, to be different, to become ourselves?

There’s no denying it anymore, I see myself in him. And I’m daring you to do the same when you feel ready.

There’s a gift waiting for us on the other side of such a practice. It’s called healing. It’s called hope for humanity. Ending our collective polarization starts by taking these little looks inside ourselves and in those we have deemed as the other.

Then, choosing to discover our shared similarities first before anything else.

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Charissa Steyn

Charissa is creator of Being Human, a bi-monthly magazine & creative community dedicated to exploring & practicing the concepts of inclusive love & solidarity.