Mother Teresa and Donald Trump. One is to be canonized as a Saint in the Catholic Church this September. The other is running for President of the United States. One I had the amazing privilege of meeting twice. The other I have a “hair envy” problem with. (just kidding). One is loved and honored in India as one of her own. The other is feared and mocked.
This last week on two separate days here in India there were editorials on Mother Teresa and Donald Trump. As I read these in the Times of India, I couldn’t help but think how different two human beings can be. The first editorial was by Jug Suraiya, a columnist I have read for years. He often has very creative viewpoints on subjects from politics to Bollywood and everything in between. Not a Christian as far as I know, he writes with a sense of deep respect and love for Mother Teresa. His column is titled Mother T-There’s No Pride Like Humility.
Suraiya is commenting on Mother Teresa’s list of 15 steps to walk in humility. He lists some of them, like “Speak as little as possible about yourself”, “Accept small irritations with good humour”, “Do not protect yourself behind your own dignity”, “Choose always the more difficult task”, “Accept contempt, being forgotten and disregarded”, “Accept censures even if unmerited” and “Give in to the will of others”. Suraiya is making the larger point in the article that some of Mother Teresa’s steps can actually have a danger of increasing the possibility of taking pride in your humility. He is not accusing Mother Teresa of that, but rightfully bringing out the possible danger.
As I read his column, and his insightful remarks on pride and humility, I thought again of the life and background of Donald Trump. Just a day or two later there was another editorial in the Times of India, this time on the Republican Presidential candidate. It was by Chidanand Rajghatta, and had the witty title of Making American Grate Again. The subtitle is You thought George Bush invited infamy on America?You ain’t seen nothing yet. Like in many parts of the world, people are surprised that Trump has gotten this far in the political process holding the views he does on the rest of the world.
Raghatta writes ” Across the world, leaders and leader-writers are scrambling to unscramble what is happening in the United States, and why so many Americans are willing to hand over their fate to a man credited at best with the outlook, mannerisms, vocabulary and vision of a testosterone-topped teenager.” He goes on to write “Donald Trump is voicing the angst and anger of Middle America-particularly the Rust Belt-that has lost its mojo. Threatening trade wars, real wars, embargoes, boycotts and bans, he is feeding into the frustrations of a constituency that feels shelved and slighted in its own country, which has embraced open engagement, free trade, and internationalism. Trust belt it is not. Deep misgivings course through these and other beaten states about foreign engagement-political, economic, or social-that bespeaks liberal accommodation.”
You may disagree with some or all of Raghatta’s viewpoints on Trump or on America . But he is not the only one in India or around the world that is wondering what is going on in the United States right now. Of course we can not expect Donald Trump to have the humility of Mother Teresa. Can we expect any of our politicians to be like her? Yet don’t you long to see people called into the political realm that have at least some humility and servanthood in their lives? Okay, maybe they won’t have all 15 of Mother Teresa’s steps of humility. But how about just 3 of them??