“Humility comes hard to the humble.” I’ve said this many times, bringing attention to a lesson I’ve learned that when one is steeped in a culturally tradition of being “humble” it is very hard for any real humility to sneak through. And when it does begin to penetrate that hard shell of self-righteousness, it is almost always quite painful. I’ve given up on that and the rest of Christian virtue, coming to believe that the best I can hope for is that something I call “humility-ization” is underway in my life and will periodically have my arrogance brought fully to my attention. And this itself does not make me humble! It just makes me aware that there is something other than I am aware of that is present in my life, some indescribable and ultimately Ineffable mystery that is unfolding in my life…and the whole of life…and occasionally it subjects me to a rebuff.
Donald Trump, the current front-runner for the Republican Party nomination for the President in 2016, is the perfect embodiment of narcissism and egotism that I have ever seen in a public figure in my country. His arrogance is so profound that even those in his own party have brazenly confronted him on the matter and he has merely responded with more arrogance and bluster. But two nights ago in a debate with ten others vying for the nomination, perhaps he demonstrated the criticism is getting through even to him. Perhaps. At the end of the debate, the moderator posed a light-hearted question, “Name a hypothetical code name that you would want from the Secret Service should you become the President.” Trump’s response, with a slight pause and a faint smile of self-consciousness, responded with, “Humility.” Wow!
What’s inside always comes out. This is true individually and collectively. Trump is putting on a show for our collective psyche, demonstrating in flesh and blood a parody of a conservative theme of the political far right—American exceptionalism. I too love my country and think also that it is “exceptional.” But I think all countries and cultures should be encouraged to have “community” pride without taking it to the extremes we often see here and in other extremist groups around the world. This is also egregiously apparently with churches and religious groups who should have pride in their spiritual tradition but take care to not let the poison of human arrogance tempt them to believe they are the only ones who have “got it.”