By Dr David Laing Dawson
The morning after the American presidential election my son sent me the following message:
“I awoke this morning to a strange new smell of brimstone and a rising temperature.”
That same morning a message from my daughter arrived from Australia: “What the f**k just happened?”
And then she sent me this message after my recent blog on Donald Trump and the possible demise of democracy:
“My dearest father. I appreciate your concern. However, what is done is done and a lone wolf in Canada cannot change the American election results. It is up to the American public to do what is right. Perhaps, as with Reagan many years ago, this new generation of Americans needs Trump to remind them what they had was not so bad and to suck it up and get on with it. We cannot change what has happened. We cannot control what is beyond our control. We can only control our response to it.”
I will have a discussion with her about the “lone wolf” metaphor upon her Christmas visit from Australia. That is, after I give her, her husband and her two children a hug.
Her salutation “My dearest father” must be taken with a grain of salt. Hidden in that phrase may be echoes of Charlotte Bronte, but more importantly, the glee of a daughter in the position of giving wise advice to her “know-it-all” father.
Through this season we will all spend much time together, laughing, talking, arguing, eating, drinking, walking, playing cards. The Australian grandchildren will be introduced to a Canadian winter. I will be reminded poignantly, repeatedly, of what is important in life. I am sure the Ghost of Christmas past will visit occasionally, but we will ignore the ghost of Christmas yet to come.
We will also try to ignore the unfolding American drama. I hope my obsession with Donald Trump will go into remission, at least through Christmas. Though it may require CBT, mindfulness, prayer, alcohol, and the odd rebuke from my daughter.
One of the better contributions made by the major religions of this world is the setting aside of a few days, a few weeks of each year to focus on love, giving, forgiveness, kindness, and hope.
The messages from my son and daughter were about our current anxiety, our shared fear of what might happen over the next four years. But for the moment, for this holiday season, I will take great pleasure and comfort from the fact of those messages. My children are smart, healthy, engaged, and they talk to me.
A fine Christmas present. We will be back in 2017.