This essay, A Love that Transcends Trump, by Omid Safi, Director of Duke University’s Islamic Studies Center, is a provocative meditation on what a spiritual perspective on the Trump candidacy might look like. In the article’s comments section, I wrote:
I love your advice to start a “spirit-based response” to Trump by “standing in loving solidarity with those who would be marginalized and victimized by the policies of Trump” and then extending that love outward from there to include all, including Trump supporters. And never demonizing Trump and his supporters in the process. Very hard to do, but that’s our challenge.
Safi’s admonition to begin an enlightened response to Trump’s divisive rhetoric by “standing in loving solidarity” with the objects of Trump’s disdain – Muslims, Mexicans, Syrian refugees – really hit home, validating and extending my growing understanding of how we can work toward a better world.
In short, the idea is this: While attempting to influence people we experience as being small-minded and hard-hearted can indeed be a noble endeavor, it is incredibly difficult and more often than not a recipe for discouragement. So, while we should not abandon our quixotic quest to respectfully engage those in opposition to the way we view the world, we can simultaneously reach out to the like-minded, strengthen bonds, and engage in the transformative practice of genuine dialogue amongst ourselves.
In other words, we can grow our ‘movement’ from the center out, with faith that someday we will reach a critical mass of people in solidarity with an equality-and-justice-based worldview.