Introduction to Reading Theory
While I have a political identity, my work does not. The concepts and constructs I study, including vulnerability, courage, trust, and shame, are not bendable and elastic. If you’ve found a way to reconcile my work with your support for the Trump administration, you have bankrupted the research for your own agenda. And, if you’re wondering if I believe that the left has the corner on the wholehearted market, the answer is no. The work is apolitical. I will say, however, that I’ve never seen anyone in my lifetime—Republican, Democrat, or Independent—who has leveraged fear, shame, and dehumanization to divide our country like Donald Trump has.
Of all the behaviors that stand in direct conflict with my work, one of the most egregious is bullying. While holding the highest office in our country, Trump has continued to use his power to belittle and torment people. Women, Black people, indigenous people, people with disabilities, trans people, immigrants, Muslims, poor people, sick people—the list goes on. I will not stop speaking out while this is happening. We can’t believe that the playground is safe just because the bully is picking on someone else. We all know that the playground isn’t safe for any of us until it’s safe for all of us.
I absolutely do not understand how someone could read and understand my work and think that I would have any tolerance for the Trump administration’s blatant disregard for science and their full-throated support of white supremacy, dehumanization, and fear-mongering. Not only are the policies supported by this administration and the behaviors of individuals in this administration in direct conflict with the data I’ve collected on courage, vulnerability, integrity, and love, but the shame, division, and violence inflicted and incited by Trump are in direct conflict with my belief that we are all God’s children. Leveraging fear and hatred are unholy acts.