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Joy Trumps Fear

Joy Trumps Fear

Ira Chernus

Sometimes I force myself to look at photos of Donald Trump, to confront the harsh reality that he will indeed, in all likelihood, soon be the president of the United States. What strikes me most forcefully in that face is the total lack of joy.


I’ve had the same thought about Trump, and I think that there is something he shares with the mobs of white men who voted for him. Living in the midst of nature, they are emotionally cut off from it.

OWhatever else may be said of him, Trump is entirely a creature of a manmade world. His prime definition for himself is that of a builder of that world, and he is most at home in his tower. He has never been known to express any positive emotion about untamed nature - for him, a carefully groomed golf course is more beautiful than any forest or prairie. In this he does resemble many of my fellow rural working class white males. Many are like Trump’s sons and only go into the nearby woods to lay in wait for wild animals they can kill. Walking in the woods is unimaginable but racing through it on quads, that’s the thing to do,

For many guys like those I have grown up with, expressing positive emotion at the beauty of nature is unmanly, a sign of homosexuality. You may as well ask a guy around here if he likes poetry. But I did see a sign of hope recently, a gang of middle school age boys building a fort in the woods. If even a few boys give up the video games and can still use their imagination and see the natural world as a place of freedom and joy, I’d say there’s hope for us rural white males.


Thank you Mr. Chernus. Joy is missing in the minds of most politicians. As a native of Colorado I was fortunate to have grown up living in the mountains and the plains. Our best Sunday was a trip to a river or lake in the mountains, or a visit with family that still lived there. I was born in Cripple Creek and lived in and around the beauty of the Rockies all my life. Joy was indeed ours in those lazy days of picnicking around a lake or in a forest. My father used to gaze out and say, “this is God’s country”. And we believed him and found that joy with him.
It is hard to see our own politicians sell this most beautiful state to oil and gas companies and development of all kinds, with no appreciation of what is here for all of us.
There is no way we can ever go back to that time but we must find joy and fight fear with the joy they can no longer feel. The fallacy of many republicans is thinking joy can come from a new politician that promises backward thinking and centers his policies around hate and division.
I’m not a religious person but I see this fight as a battle of good and evil, between joy and hate and fear. The one’s that cling to hate and division are afraid, paranoid and then easily manipulated. Trump is a master at manipulation or “the deal”, and sees winning as all there is. He’s a sad little man, as are the choices he has made for his cabinet. They profess to be Christian but it’s a ploy and they do their dirt while hiding behind the name of God. Very sad indeed.


Profound insight.

Absolutely true, Look at Trump and you see no Joy, you see the Assassin of Joy.

Yup - in the part of West Virginia I frequent they spend all their lives running through the woods on their “quads” - often illegally on Monongahela Natl. Forest trails. The damn things are scourges. They cannot name a single tree or bird. They know what a whitetail deer, black bear, and wild turkey looks like, and that’s about it. They all like and do exactly the same things everywhere - quads, gigantic pickup trucks, guns, Mountaineer Football - whose jerseys look like reflective-taped coal miner work clothes.

And yup, anyone who likes the beauty of nature, or poetry, are gay - which is a vert bad thing. Socialist too, which is a very, very bad thing. “Socialists want free stuff” as they say over and over again. Oh, and since November 9, they are “snowflakes” whatever that is supposed to mean.

I mentioned at Thanksgiving that Trump is a man who does not smile. It’s something I noticed a while ago. I agree completely that he has no sense of joy.

I really like this article - faces - Yea - you can tell !

Lately, I’ve been watching a number of music videos - for example, Paul McCartney’s documentary on “The Real Buddy Holly Story” (highest recommendation by the way).

What always strikes me, in that video, and in many others, is the artists’ capacity for joy - for, as is said in this article:

“Feeling joy means being sensitive to the entire world”.

Look at Neil Young in his “Heart of Gold” - his sense of humor, his smile, or “Emmylou Harris at the Ryman”, BoneyM - you know - faces - capable of joy - and instantly recognized by the vast majority of us.

Unfortunately the darker side of this article mentions fear - and as the wise man from the East said:

“Fear is the only darkness”.

Looks like war to me - war right here.

"Let us then turn this government back into the channel in which the framers of the Constitution originally placed it.”

— Abraham Lincoln (July 10, 1858 Speech at Chicago)

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

— Edmund Burke (in a letter addressed to Thomas Mercer)

“The dogmas of the quiet past, are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise – with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disentrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.”

— Abraham Lincoln (December 1, 1862 Message to Congress)

Seems, at times, as though the only thing we have to enjoy, is joy itself.

Happy Holidays!

so, “they” know what a wild turkey looks like, but have no idea what to call it?

True, no joy in Trump’s expressions, or in those of his supporters. Also, none in Hillary’s, or in her supporters. Some of the most joyless people I’ve met were leftists. I have met and known people of all political persuasions who were joyous. It saddens me to see this politicized.

We do not live in a place that celebrates natural joy, only the joy of consumption and acquisition and there are no political boundaries for that, just the relentless programming of Madison Avenue.

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I am progressive, and was called a snowflake,. Well I guess I am proud to be one then. I guess they forgot they live on this planet which is called Earth, but to them it is called the biggest four wheeler or four wheel drive, and oh yes, the biggest gun. Since when is it cool to make war against nature - then again this obviously was passed on to them by their “kin.” I have seen types like this albeit in different areas of the country. They do not respect nature- it’s all for their own “enjoyment.”

I have met people from other countries who have commented about how joyless the society in the US is. I wonder if this stems from the Puritan work ethic?Some p eople ( even those with money) in the US rarely go on vacation anymore, and if they do they bring their work along as if they are impressing someone. Trump apparently said that he does not take vacations. What a fool. Remember, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Old , old expression.

Happy Holidays to you, and life is too short. Goes by even quicker when you are older!

I have watched President Obama singing and dancing - celebrating with some of the great musicians. There was a face of joy!

Who invented that "snowflake " thing- and I assume that refers to progressive. Each generation has different labels for whatever. Also, I remember back in the sixties anyone who was not for the war in VietNam was a “commie” . Silly stuff.

Maybe that’s part of his mantra, a media image how to convey looking tough when you’re over 70?

Joy as we know comes from within, and for being grateful for what we have, and sharing as well. I do not think that most get real “joy” from sitting on a couch and counting their money.

That’s wonderful. I remember years ago asking some kids with whom I was working what they were doing during holiday break? They said “play video games.” I was shocked. I remember being excited about going outside and playing even if it was just to be silly. We need more silliness. Kids are tested, being told to read at age three, and having very little play time while their parents work and just see them at dinner time if then. Sad.

If you are emotionally cut off from your own home, then there is a pathology there.

What does “Socialists want free stuff” have to do with nature? I don’t get it.