Rachel Bitecofer offered the “Pivot and Attack” strategy When there’s a Trumper at Thanksgiving. Then an enlightened friend of mine pointed out that this combative approach would “humiliate him and make him even more entrenched in his anger, resentment and general assholery. A food fight accomplishes nothing — just bad karma all around.”
That made me stop and re-think.
I asked myself, “What if instead, the Buddha came to Thanksgiving where a braying Trumper was spewing his anti-abortion, election-denying, anti-science venom? What would that be like? How could I be like the Buddha?”
The Buddha is an enlightened and happy being. He would contemplate the bombastic Trumper with selflessness, detachment, and thoughts of love and nonviolence. The Buddha can see that the Trumper shrieking about C.R.T. and trans kids has a delusional mind, a mind of ignorance. The Trumper will suffer from bad karma.
Clearly, the malevolent Trumper is engaging in non-virtuous actions:
- Lying. Leave no one with a mistaken impression about what you know to be true. Until we communicate clearly in this manner, no one will believe what we say, even if it’s true.
- Divisive Speech. Never speak in a way that contributes to separateness between individuals or groups, including on social media. Until we end this behavior, it will seem like everyone around us is constantly in conflict.
- Harsh Speech. Avoid swearing, being crass or using sarcasm. Until we refrain from speaking this way, unpleasant noise will disturb our environment.
The Buddha would exercise one of his most potent weapons: patience. Buddhism teaches that true patience is an active engagement with the present moment, a willingness to accept things as they are, and a compassionate response to the suffering of others.
It is true that:
- “The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.” —Leo Tolstoy
- “To lose patience is to lose the battle.” —Mahatma Gandhi.
- Patience is when you’re supposed to get mad, but you choose to understand.
- Patience and determination alone are omnipotent.
The Buddha would not want to retaliate because anger causes bad karma. Anger brings more suffering. Anger is having a bow and arrow and shooting your foot.
Instead, the Buddha would respond with compassion. He would view the Trumper as a person who is sick, harming himself, and bleeding from his mind. The toxic Trumper is angry, bitter and depressed.
The Buddha would respond with a virtuous action. “Would you like another delicious slice of dinner?” the Buddha would ask.
Author: Larry Bodine