October 13, 2020

Does Wishing that Karma Comes a-Calling make me Less Spiritual?


Like many in the United States, I have been following the story of Donald Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis in earnest.

To be transparent, I did not vote for him, will not vote for him, and am not in alignment with his policies, words, or actions over the past four years.

His term in office has been fodder for many articles I have written. They serve to inform others and provide an outlet for me to unpack feelings of horror, sadness, anger, and helplessness.

Despair has snuck in time or two, but hearing that I am not alone in my experience is reassuring. Many a movement has been catalyzed by those emotions. Nowhere in the pieces I have written, or social media posts I have made, have I name-called or disparaged him or his followers (and yes, I chose that word carefully, since never in my 62 years have I seen the supporters of a U.S. president display such displaced and fatal loyalty).

I point out direct quotes he has made. I present facts and do my best to vet information before presenting it. It may sway some, but when people have entrenched beliefs, they are often willing to go down with the ship.

I know first-hand how information can be distorted since a quote was pulled from an article I wrote for a psychologically oriented publication about anger being an addiction, and placed in an article in a right-wing publication as validation that liberals are hateful. When I contacted the publisher, I was told that it was fair use. The original publisher sadly had to agree. I then went on a campaign to do damage control and reassure my readers that I was absolutely not in agreement with the content of the article for which my quote was pirated.

This is why I take the news of the president’s positive COVID-19 diagnosis with a grain of salt. Like countless others, I immediately wondered if it was a ploy to avoid the next debates since he was clearly in over his head, a play for the sympathy vote, a scheme to postpone the election, or a means of minimizing the impact of this often debilitating and absolutely, deadly disease.

In the mind of this man, any or all of these could be justified.

As a therapist, I observed from the beginning of his campaign that he had narcissistic, sociopathic tendencies, and as the calendar pages turned, I remarked that if he had been a “regular citizen,” he would lose jobs, relationships, and freedoms. Sooner or later, karma catches up with all of us.

Most folks think of karma as “what goes around comes around,” a celestial gotcha! I consider it an opportunity to learn from the results of our actions with a chance for a do-over if we are conscious and know that we made choices that were not savory. What became apparent was that this man may be incapable of admitting poor choices. Either it benefits him or causes harm to anyone who challenges him. He is clearly missing the empathy gene—no cosmic lesson learned there.

Cause and effect is another aspect of karma. He had been flirting with the virus from the get-go, decrying the science behind it, flouting the reasonable and easy to follow safety protocols, and eventually, it responded with its own “come hither” beckoning. It was inevitable.

If he indeed is in its deadly embrace, I do send prayers for healing. I pray that he and everyone in his circle who has contracted it find healing as well. I feel a sense of peace when I do that. On the flip side, I also feel a bit of schadenfreude (pronounced ‘SHädənˌfroidə’), which comes from Germany and originates from the words harm and joy. It is defined as, “enjoyment obtained from the troubles of others.” Both make me human. At first, I judged my reaction, and then recognized that had he listened to the voices of the experts who he attempted to muzzle, he might not be in the unenviable position he finds himself in.

What I feel the most outraged about is that, according to the recorded interviews with Bob Woodward, he knew in early 2020 how destructive the virus was. And still, he refused to admit it. He held rallies, both indoors and outside, that not only put attendees at risk, but anyone with whom they subsequently came in contact. He paraded about, maskless as if tempting fate. His example gave carte blanch for his supporters to do the same.

He came to the first debate and slipped through without being tested, as was the agreement. His contingent did not wear masks during the 90 minutes he was on stage, although they did wear them while walking in. His loud, explosive speech put Joe Biden and Chris Wallace in the proverbial line of fire. Blessedly, they have tested negative. May they remain healthy.

When Hope Hicks tested positive, he may already have been infected and still, he proceeded as if he was bulletproof, not considering how that might affect others. He attended a post-debate rally in Minnesota and a fundraiser in New Jersey. The Rose Garden ceremony that announced the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett was the perfect petri dish for contamination. People sitting shoulder to shoulder, most maskless. What appalled me, as well, was that this supposed pro-life candidate showed up with her seven children who followed behind her, sans masks.

In an interview with Sean Hannity, Trump cast blame, as is his M.O. on others:

“You know, it’s very hard when you’re with soldiers when you’re with airmen when you’re with Marines, and I’m with—and the police officers. I’m with them so much. And when they come over here, it’s very hard to say, stay back, stay back. It’s a tough kind of a situation.

But it’s very, very hard when you are with people from the military or from law enforcement, and they come over to you, and they want to hug you, and they want to kiss you because we really have done a good job for them. And you get close, and things happen.”

It seems that the dominoes are falling as First Lady Melania Trump; former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie; Utah Senator Mike Lee; North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis; Trump’s campaign manager, Bill Stepien; Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel, and White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany have all tested positive.

I am not a conspiracy theorist, but I took note of the videos allegedly recorded at Walter Reed that had Trump in a white shirt in one and suit in another. In one, it seems he is signing a blank piece of paper with a sharpie pen. Nowhere is an IV port visible as it would be if he was receiving meds in that form as had been reported. Perhaps they were staged to reinforce the illusion of invincibility.

As has been consistent throughout his presidency, fabrications, distortions, and outright lies have been the norm. It’s hard to know what information coming out of the White House can be trusted at face value. The doctors who are treating him at the hospital and his on-site medical staff swore the Hippocratic Oath to do no harm. By obfuscating and limiting information, they, like him are doing a massive amount of harm.

My crystal ball is off-line, so I don’t know whether he will die from this wanton disregard for his own safety. I am beyond outraged at how over 200,000 people were considered collateral damage as a result. They all represent an empty seat at the table. Three friends have lost elders in the past week: two a father/grandfather and one a mother. None of my friends were able to be at the bedside when their loved ones took their final breaths.

When Trump’s final breath comes, whether soon or later in life, my prayer is that his karmic lesson comes home to roost. It is not mine to determine what that looks like. It is between him and his Creator.

I say this with a clear conscience.


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