Jummah Reflection: You Are Being Played.
Jummah Mubarak, Shabbat Shalom & TGIF.
When I was a little girl, there was an older person who used to tease me mercilessly. This person understood my triggers, noticed when things bothered me, and found it amusing to choose random occasions when my defenses were down and start to pick on them. It was never an outright assault on my feelings. It always began with needling, usually when I was already in a heightened emotional state, and work itself up to me hysterically crying while they literally laughed at me.
When THEY decided I’d had enough, they would tell me to pull it together and that they were only kidding and that I shouldn’t be so easy to pick on. I would sit there, exhausted from crying and feel stupid because once again, I’d allowed myself to be taken down a path of emotional and psychological manipulation for someone else’s amusement.
Here’s the thing about provocateurs: your reaction is what they crave. The MORE volatile you are, the more of yourself they spend, the more satisfying it is for them. You will literally destroy yourself trying to get them to stop by crying, screaming, or acting out and it won’t work. Because that. is. what. they. want.
Furthermore, the person who engaged in this kind of behavior with me was an older person with authority in my life and they would often lecture me when these episodes were over about toughening up. In their eyes, anyone who could be so easily manipulated into an emotional frenzy was weak. And you know what? They were right. I was weak.
I’m telling you this because the person who is currently sitting in the White House acting as President of the United States of America is this kind of provocateur. I see the same satisfaction he gets from watching people grow hysterical over his words. Did you see how he paused and looked at the camera ever so briefly before calling Senator Warren “Pocahontas” during the press conference last week? He’s doing it on purpose. And we are reacting.
Because we are weak. We lack self-control. We are in a heightened emotional state. We are afraid and we want him to stop and go away, but he holds the power. And so we sit and cry and scream and beg the gods to intervene… and he laughs at us. He has control.
This dynamic is familiar to me, and I’m telling you this because I sense a very real danger. Not from the president. But from those who have found cover under his masterful ability to detract our country. There are some dark forces at work in various places in our society, and they have almost no resistance from anyone. Because we are focused on HIM, the Egomaniac-in-Chief. He wins. They win. We lose.
All of our public demonstrations are just us signal boosting to one another how upset we are. Everything that is a threat to this country right now–whether political machinations or white supremacist mobilizing–is taking place behind walls and closed doors, far away from the public square. We are just making noise out here.
I am only one person. I can’t do much. This little Jummah Reflection is just more words on social media. But I want you to know on this day: If America goes down, it will be because she is distracted and lacks the self-control to focus her energy in the places it is needed most.
Take it from this little girl: You are being played.