This past Monday I was meeting with my mentor before heading to watch the debates. I asked him if he was watching. I was a little excited about the prospect of inviting myself over to his house to join. He said matter of factly, “No.” I admitted that upon reflection, I wasn’t sure if I was interested in watching the debates. It was an open question for me. Was I attracted to the drama or some sense of civic duty? Surely, it’s the drama! Shouldn’t the debates be as good as the most recent episode of the Walking Dead!? ‘MURICA! I could go either way – Walking Dead or 2016 Presidential Debate? Both calibrate at about the same level of input – blind entertainment, cultural kitsch, consumer fetishism. He looked at me again after my rant and interjected: “I value my serenity more than I value watching the debates.” True that…but…the Walking Dead isn’t on tonight!
The DEBATE! Oh, political annihilation – a vacuum of meaning. As an aside, the French have always had a beat on us. You’ve got to check out Jean Baudrillard‘s commentary on U.S. culture in his book, America. At the beginning of the debate, my god, I thought it might be dry. No! The collective unconscious archetypes thundered down! Here we have the hyper-misogynized Trump – the external incarnation of America’s purified white-male privilege so deeply unconscious he’s unaware that he’s unaware and by-in-large so are “we”…or is it, “U.S.?” I’m pretty sure the reports showed that he interrupted the red woman over 50 times. Any women out there that have been in a meeting populated by men know what I’m talking about – interrupted much? Then there’s Hillary. Wow. I’m voting for her, but rest assured, it’s not at all got to do with anything you would agree with…probably. I’m voting for Hillary because I’m so ridiculously agasp it’s suffocating. Let me explain in the context of my Socratic legacy corrupting the youth an’ all.
I’m a teacher. Ok, I’m a teacher assistant. How many degrees do I have? #abitpathetic. No matter. At lunch the students gather around like moths to the light and we talk about the debate. I captured their attention this week by speaking not only to their intellect/mind but also to their heart – matters of the heart – the heart matters. (By the way, our children see right through our bullshit.) The integration of the heart and mind was the vital human quality completely missing from the debates. Don’t we see through the bullshit too?
Here’s what I communicated: The sincere truth – the heart stuff – is written on the candidates bodies. The truth their bodies speak is absolutely fascinating! If our bodies are external representations of our internal psyche (from my view they are intimately linked) then both candidates function as individual representations, mirroring the unconscious collective culture in the U.S. This is the same point I made above about Trump; hopefully you’re following. Repetition of insight is always helpful.
So, on to Hillary. Her body is writ with decades of pain, having endured the events of marital, public betrayals and years of assimilation into a hyper-masculine political culture. In that culture, she passes as a man. She has spent her entire life living, struggling, resisting, incorporating, succeeding, dressing, speaking in a man’s world. Her body is non-sexual, not feminine. She is not an object of desire. She strikes audiences as inauthentic, cold, rigid. Does she laugh? As a matter of fact…why is it that I don’t feel her heart at all? Isn’t that the “heart” of the matter? She is sooo thoroughly intelligent. She is a hyper-mentally masculine, absolutely prepared work-horse. They calculated how dehydrated she must remain so that she wouldn’t need to pee during the debate. My friend joked they put catheters in…Is that true?
Hillary Clinton is the complete fulfillment of first-wave feminism – embodied. It’s not that pretty. It’s not heart-warming, it’s broken-hearted – years of accumulated heart wounds unable to express themselves, bound-up in the consequences of living in 2016 as the most powerful woman on the planet. The Claire Underwood archetype realized (thank you House of Cards). It’s damn near sacrosanct. It is – Hillary is – sacred inasmuch as she is profane. I don’t know whether to see her sacrifices as profoundly heroic, disciplined, empowered or to view her as desperate, scapegoated, foolish.
I’ll vote for Hilary, but it’s a time for reflection. We are experiencing the collective consequences of living so deeply in our heads – endlessly trying to “figure it out” – that we’ve become utterly disassociated from our hearts. The products of some of our deepest collective unconscious fears are literally manifest in our presidential candidates! I think we’ve taken the “separation of church and state” to such a dramatic level that we’re missing something vital, something utterly essential in our politics – a sense of heart, of humility, or even…dare I say…a sense of spiritual principle.