20 January 2017

President Trump

In the summer of 2013 the Universal House of Justice initiated youth conferences around the world. My wife was just below the age cutoff at the time, and I was bringing several youth from my neighborhood, so we went to Tacoma, Washington and stayed several nights. It was really a special time, discussing high ideals about shaping the future of the world. On one of those nights I had a dream that seemed significant, so I wrote it down.

The dream had a nefarious character that seized power, and at the time I perceived it as a potentially prophetic dream about a real person whose identity might become clear in the future. Two and a half years later I was on a late night flight and while walking down the aisle of the plane I saw an ominously similar vision on the plane as I saw in the dream. On the plane I was walking down a dark aisle with people on both sides sitting staring at phones and computers, and in the dream I was walking down a dark aisle with people on both sides sitting on bunks staring at phones and computers.

Less than a week later I was driving and listening to a story about Donald Trump, and in a flood everything became clear. Keep in mind that this was January 2016 and the primaries were far from over, but I realized that Trump was the prisoner in my dream, and I realized with great certainty that he was going to be the next President. It all made sense, why he was going to win, what he would do, and what would come of it. As the vote grew closer I was confused by all the projections showing him definitively losing but I knew an upset was coming. In fact I have had absolutely no anxiety from that day until now, inauguration day.

I have been hesitant to share this for several reasons. First and foremost I don't want to wade into partisan politics. But also because prophetic dreams and visions are not of great value except to those who experience them, and people shouldn't be in the habit of feeling special or treating people special over them. But here is the dream pretty much as I wrote it in 2013 and you can come to your own conclusions about what is going to happen and why.

We were inside a big complex, sort of a huge building, where Barack Obama was in charge. Part of the building housed a prison, and there was some high-level meeting about the prisoners maybe getting out of hand.

The prison had two long corridors that were lined with bunk beds about 6 high, so you could walk down the aisle with beds going up way over your head. Each room had only one entrance with a dead end at the far side.  There were two guards with shotguns, and there was another guard behind protective glass.

Since they were worried about something going on, one of the security guards checked on each room, first the right, then the left. Walking down the left corridor, the lights were off and everyone in their bunks were watching videos on phones and tablets, distracted by movies and games. At the far end of the room there were two desktop computers. After making it to the end, the guard walked back.

When the guard reached the entrance he turned back to look and one of the prisoners from the left wall was off his bunk and on the computer. It was obvious that this was related to what everyone was worried about, and he was actively hacking the computer to take control of the prison. The prisoner didn’t respond to yelling at him, so the guard raised his shotgun and fired. It was loud, but nothing came out. The guard then pulled the grip to pump the shotgun, and fired again with a loud blast. This time he hit the prisoner in the neck with a dart. The dart was like the Nerf darts that stick to a window, but it stuck to his neck and caused a lot of trauma.

The prisoners were all scared at this point, and the one at the computer was disturbed, but kept on hacking away at the computer. The guard pumped the shotgun again, but it was quite a bit more difficult to pull. He fired again, hitting him with another dart and disturbing him. Then the guard started walking slowly down the aisle while pumping the shotgun again, but it was even harder to pull. The prisoner switched to the other computer and was doing something nefarious there as well. The guard fired a third time and hit him again, greatly disturbing him. But with each shot it was harder to reload. Now the guard was standing next to the prisoner and pumping the shotgun, but it was so difficult that he almost couldn't reload. It was obvious that the guard was going to shoot the prisoner after reloading then hit him across the head with the butt of the gun. The prisoner finished what he was intending to accomplish and took control of the complex. He turned around to watch just as the guard finally reloaded. The prisoner congratulated the guard on his virtuous attempt to stop him and accomplishing the last shotgun load.

A loud noise caused the guard to look back the other way, and in a split second the prisoner had hit the guard across the head with the butt of his own rifle that appeared out of nowhere. The guard was knocked down and all the prisoners changed from fearful to empowered. They jumped out of their racks and started attacking the guard, while the lead prisoner used the rifle to bash in the guard’s head. I noticed that one of the prisoners jumping down was someone who works at my company. My vision in the dream panned over to the wall, like in a movie. To the sound of yelling, every few seconds blood splattered on the wall. 
The feeling I got was that the prisoner was unleashing some kind of chaos. He was not a freedom fighter, he was someone manipulating the public and was selfish. Society was keeping the prisoners locked up to keep order, and by breaking them out, he created disorder. 
In my interpretation, the complex was the United States, led by Barack Obama. The guards were the mainstream politicians keeping the status quo regardless of party. The two corridors were the two ends of the political spectrum filled with common folk being distracted by media and not really paying attention to issues of import to the world. Each end of the spectrum has its own type of anarchy, from anti-government white nationalist militiamen on one end to anti-Wall street communist eco-terrorists on the other. The parties use fringe issues to rile up their base, but they ultimately want to keep the chaos under control to keep society functioning. 

When one of the prisoners was getting out of hand, they inspected the prison and found Trump trying to take over the Republican Party nomination. Republican leadership across the board was opposed to him, not to mention Democrats. The media joined in to almost universally condemn him. Even the Pope urged the faithful not to support him. To a normal candidate these would have been death knells, but Trump wasn't a normal candidate. All the political machinery was set up for a technical boxing match, and Trump came in and hit them over the head with a folding chair. Their shots that should have killed him were mere nuisances, like Nerf darts coming out of a shotgun. As the guard approached the prisoner for a point blank shot followed by a blow to the head (hot mic audio about groping women), all the prisoners sat in their bunks afraid. But at the last second he succeeded in taking control and knocked out the guard (Clinton). Then even before taking office he began to gut the power of the establishment politicians.

The reasons he succeeded were many, and they certainly are reminiscent of computer hacking. Trump knew exactly how to play the media. The prisoners in the corridor were the far right, being whipped up from decades of Rush Limbaugh and Fox News truthiness. There is a very dark side of America. A side that still thinks Barack Obama is a Muslim, or that there is something wrong with being a Muslim. There is a side to America that flirts with racism, cares nothing about other countries, and wants government to be small and weak. They are also good people who have certain perspectives because they live in the countryside in poverty where 911 services don't reach, where factories close, where regulations reduce their income, and they were just on the losing end of a major culture war. If you haven't read this article from Cracked.com, I highly recommend it.

When the prisoner won and knocked out the guard the prisoners on the political right were energized and left their bunks. Their ideology will now be manifested in the highest office. Trump will ruthlessly use his power to control media, privatize and reduce government, reduce the power of Congress, reduce military commitments around the world, and start trade wars. The economy will go up, at first. It is very likely that the US will engage in another war in the coming years and experience more dramatic acts of terrorism.

How? Why? Because American culture doesn't benefit from certain lessons of World War II. Germany was humbled and learned what it's like to follow a fascist leader who talks up nationalism, and their culture now makes it almost impossible for nationalism to seep into politics openly. Almost the opposite, American culture assumes that it is always the good guy and can't do wrong. Particularly on the far right, America is the "greatest nation on earth" with God lending a hand every now and then.

To be fair, the political left has its own serious flaws, but the right entered its own stratosphere in the last 20 years and has been using whatever power it can grab to prevent the full establishment of the Lesser Peace described by Baha'u'llah. If anyone has been following my blog, you know that the world order that has dominated since the end of the Cold War is fraying at the edges and can easily unravel catastrophically. See The End of Nuclear Weapons and a New World Order. Either America will miraculously become enlightened and fully embrace a world commonwealth (very unlikely), or a world cataclysm will dramatically reshape the power structure of the world while at the same time providing an impetus for change toward a united world, similar to what happened after World War II. America just chose the latter. The anxiety currently experienced by a large number of Americans is because they don't have a vision for where this is all going and feel lost, disempowered, and confused. They don't  understand the malady, let alone have a remedy.

But for Baha'is who have studied Shoghi Effendi and are engaged in the community building efforts across the world, they have a vision of a world that is not divided by class, race, nation, or even religion. They can not only identify the causes of injustice, they understand the solutions and are actively working toward a better future. The ship of the current world order is slowly sinking from mortal wounds. Baha'is are not engaged in debating who gets to be captain of a sinking ship, they are building a new ship.

Who else can be the blissful if not the community of the Most Great Name, whose world-embracing, continually consolidating activities constitute the one integrating process in a world whose institutions, secular as well as religious, are for the most part dissolving? They indeed are “the people of the right,” whose “noble habitation” is fixed on the foundations of the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh—the Ark of everlasting salvation in this most grievous Day. Of all the kindreds of the earth they alone can recognize, amidst the welter of a tempestuous age, the Hand of the Divine Redeemer that traces its course and controls its destinies. They alone are aware of the silent growth of that orderly world polity whose fabric they themselves are weaving.
Conscious of their high calling, confident in the society-building power which their Faith possesses, they press forward, undeterred and undismayed, in their efforts to fashion and perfect the necessary instruments wherein the embryonic World Order of Bahá’u’lláh can mature and develop. It is this building process, slow and unobtrusive, to which the life of the world-wide Bahá’í Community is wholly consecrated, that constitutes the one hope of a stricken society. For this process is actuated by the generating influence of God’s changeless Purpose, and is evolving within the framework of the Administrative Order of His Faith.
In a world the structure of whose political and social institutions is impaired, whose vision is befogged, whose conscience is bewildered, whose religious systems have become anemic and lost their virtue, this healing Agency, this leavening Power, this cementing Force, intensely alive and all-pervasive, has been taking shape, is crystallizing into institutions, is mobilizing its forces, and is preparing for the spiritual conquest and the complete redemption of mankind. Though the society which incarnates its ideals be small, and its direct and tangible benefits as yet inconsiderable, yet the potentialities with which it has been endowed, and through which it is destined to regenerate the individual and rebuild a broken world, are incalculable. 
Shoghi Effendi. World Order of Baha'u'llah


  1. Great post Bryan. It really amazed me the type of support Trump received with all the controversy and offensive remarks he made through the campaign. Like he said, he could go out into the street and shoot somebody and his people would still support him. I know the fascism/Hitler comparisons have been made a few times but I wonder just how close the parallels are to pre-wwII Germany we are facing. Two years ago I could never have imagined we would be where we are in our countries leadership. It's astonishing to those who don't share your prophetic dreams.

    1. yes scary and very dangerous and designed to wake masses up from apathy to work for sanity and justice

  2. Bryan as you have heard me saying before---we are either going kicking and screaming into the light of peace or we will go gracefully---and all any of us---especially Bahai is to show and share the graceful entrance into the brave new system to come which we are working hard to do---all I can do is my part---hope others get it---ask for support---and pray that we achieve best results---thanks for your support---call me soon

  3. This article is great. It also remind me of discussion I've had on their forums and comments sections also. The varying ideologies among the electorate and within the two major parties, as they are big tents compared to the third parties need refernence and explaining.

    Lots of Americans were apathetic enough not to have voted at all. America has very low voter turnout. Americans had lots of third party options, but willful ignorance of them is incentivized in the system except among the ideologues who are extremely attracted to the platforms of said third parties. A record number of people did vote third party in 2016, it didn't break the amount who voted third part in 1996, 1992, 1980, or any of the higher other years, but it was the highest among recent elections.

    Political Ideology Catgirls is a webcomic I have been reading recently. The comic has been sporadically written and has been on haitus for a long time, but is being rebooted on Febraury 1. The Bernicrat versus Neoliberalism episode was on the Democratic nomination. As said on the about page, the author is a left wings and writes from a left perspective, but the comic is fun for the whole spectrum. "This is a webcomic about catgirls who personify political ideologies. They all attend high school together. I'm drawing this comic because it helps me learn as much as I can about politics, economics, philosophy and society. I'm also interested in reviving the Left in this uncertain century of late capitalism, imperialism, fascism, and climate change. Also, catgirls are kawaii." Situationism, Synidcalism, Traditional Marxism (Classical Marxism), Leninism, Egoism (Egoist Anarchism), Anarchism, Anarcho-Transhumanism, Democrstic Confederalism, Berniecrat, Neoliberalism, Alunya, Rodina, Trotskyism, Stalinism, Anarcho-Capitalism, Libertarianism, Nihilism, Alt-Right, Fascism, Relgigious Right, and Anarcho-Hoxhaism (Hoxhaism) are the characters and the ideologies they are personifications of which they are named after.

    The haitus was stated after the nomination of Hillary Clinton, well a few episodes after it and the note defining Situationism. The author hasn't commented on any recent developments due to said haitus.

    I hope you tell us if you have any future prophetic dreams about the 2020, 2024, etc elections. My social media has changed after the elections. Before the election, and after the lection, my posts to my Facebook wall are very different. Before, I was liking and sharing posts from the Gary Johnson, Bill Weld, and Libertarian Party accounts. Now, I'm sharing posts from the SGI-USA, SGI, and Nichiren Buddhism Daily Wisdom accounts. Both are very pro-peace, but the previous is the realm of politics and the laters is the realm of religion.

    I'm neither Left (Progresive/Democrat) nor Right (Conservative/Republican), but a third thing Up (Libertarian for both). Third parties have no chance currently, unless there is a wave of people abandoning the duopoly to various third parties or a third party, because Independents are easy to divide and conquer or get to stay home rather than vote third party. I obviously voted straight Libertarian on my ballot, leaving various spots blank where only major party candidates were.

    America becoming enlightened and peaceful (as well as all other countries doing so as well) is a goal of the SGI.

  4. Hearing this kind of drivel is why I am distancing myself from other Bahais. Listening to this socialist crap makes me sick. This is so obviously not the time for the world's governments to merge. They have enough just to clean their own houses. One country does not need to lower its standard to raise up others. It's so frustrating being around people with this mentality. My only choice is to cut my ties with them. I can still be a Bahai without them. I know I can't be the only Bahai who feels this way. But I feel very alone right now. Of all the socia;l groups I belong to, the Bahais have be the most partisan of them all.

    1. Can you be more specific? You might be interested in a post I made after Obama was elected Politics and Change. At that time many Baha'is (who tend to be urban and left leaning politically) were excited about Obama being elected and I was reminding everyone that the system is defective and it doesn't matter who gets elected, it will not resolve the most corrosive issues.

      Regarding Trump specifically, I similarly think that Baha'is should not endorse any candidate, nor attack or demean any president. However, there are policies that Trump is championing that are quite clearly contrary to the teachings of Baha'u'llah. For example, nationalism is specifically called out by Shoghi Effendi alongside racism and communism as "false gods" that must fall. It is very tricky in a polarized environment to oppose nationalism without appearing a partisan enemy of a nationalist politician. I'm sure there was a similarly sensitive balance during the 1960s when race was a dominant political debate.