Op/Ed By George Payne –
Mother Teresa once wrote: “The biggest disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis, but rather the feeling of being unwanted, uncared for and deserted by everybody.”
As Mother Teresa knew as well as anyone, there are individuals in the world who are combating the biggest diseases by caring for those who have been deserted by the policies of disconnected and weak minded leaders. There are individuals who are instilling hope in the masses with their fearless truth. In comparison, Donald Trump’s stale menu of disrespect, favoritism, passivity, willful ignorance, exclusion, and corruption, has made all of us-whether we want to realize it or not-sick to the marrow of our bones.
Allow me to put it this way. To share this earth with such luminaries as the Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, Jane Goodall, Thich Nhat Hanh, Julia Butterfly Hill, Bono, Jimmy Carter, and so many others, is a wonderful feeling. To know that somewhere, with grace and sublimity, Pope Francis is doing his thing is reassuring. Somewhere, alone or in community, Bob Dylan is constructing sound in ways we have never heard before. Somewhere, in the most dangerous places imaginable, courageous individuals are standing up to real monsters. In Afghanistan, Malala Yousafzai is fighting the Taliban. In India, Vadanna Shiva is fighting Big Agriculture. In Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi is fighting secret police and the threat of torture. These moral supernovas are alive at this passionate and tender moment in history.
Perhaps the great tragedy of our current moment is how much emotional and intellectual bandwidth is exhausted on an unreflective, untrustworthy, and inconsiderate president, especially when there is the work of so many inspiring humanitarians to follow. One of the most empowered forms of resistance right now is to turn off Trump and go find a real leader. There are revolutions of mindfulness happening in every country on the planet and too many are missing out. From Rangoon to Los Angeles, there is a revolution of love happening. From Kabul to the Cape of Good Hope, there is a revolution of peace happening. From Calcutta to Tibet- and from the preserves of Gambia to to the cities of Vietnam- there is a revolution of understanding happening. So go follow the Dalai Lama: be a warrior for peace and tolerance. Follow Desmond Tutu: be a force of truth and reconciliation. Follow Malala: face your enemies with determination and integrity. Follow Jane Goodall: be a champion for diversity and sustainability.
Throughout the world there are so many remarkable individuals who should merit attention and emulation. Why obsess over the actions and words of a mediocre thinker and inconsistent leader such as Donald Trump?
(George Cassidy Payne is a freelance writer, adjunct professor of humanities, and domestic violence social worker from Rochester, NY. His work has been featured in a wide variety of foreign and domestic publications.)