Joey Garcia

“He’s an idiot,” my friend was saying about Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. “He lies, blames and attacks. He doesn’t answer the questions he’s asked—he just starts talking about something else.” My friend pounded the dining table. Silverware rattled, so did my hands. I dropped them to my lap.

I wasn’t sure I should say anything, then I did: “Attack, blame, lie, deflect—that’s also your style of arguing.”

“You don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said.

We argued about the way he argues. He attacked me for staying calm. He blamed me for his anger. When I asked how I could be responsible for his emotions, he deflected.

“See?” I said, “You just attacked, blamed, deflected.”

“You’re right,” he said sarcastically. He tossed his napkin on the table. Suddenly, he slammed back against his chair, like he’d been sucker punched. “I do argue like Trump,” he said softly. “I never noticed. No one has ever said anything.”

Like Hillary Clinton, I have the chutzpah to be confrontational and to stick with my perspective because I’ve already decided I’m right. In other words, that night over dinner, my friend and I came face to face with our shadows.

The shadow knows

The shadow is created when we unconsciously repress traits that don’t fit the self we consciously present to the world. It’s who we fear we would become if we released fear and control. The 2016 presidential campaign is shining a spotlight on our society’s collective shadow—especially around gender, sex, mental health and our public vs. private selves.

Roles still in play

Canadian feminist Charlotte Whitton once said, “Whatever women do they must do twice as well as men to be thought of as half as good.” Despite Secretary Clinton’s extraordinary achievements, her resume isn’t good enough. Pundits and potential voters want her to be nice, smile more and hide her smarts. For women, career achievements are best tucked behind personal relationships (Wife. Mother. Senator.), so others are assured we define success according to our family roles. Clinton was also accused of lacking the stamina to have it all—career, dreams, family—a fear plaguing many American women.

Donald Trump complains about former President Bill Clinton’s extramarital affairs, but doesn’t admit to his own cheating or lasciviousness. Sometimes it seems Hillary is running against her husband’s shadow circa 1998—but embodied by Trump, a man whose lying, betrayal and cheating mirrors that of her husband’s before he went to therapy to save his marriage. This is not karma, it’s the American shadow threatening to overtake the American soul.

From a spiritual perspective, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are shadowboxing on the national stage, sparring against their own and each other’s unconscious egos. It’s easy to see that Clinton is emotionally and mentally healthier than Trump. He’s clearly unspooling. Here’s how we can help: Become people who tell the truth, confront lies and introduce our shadows to the light.

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