As the June 7 presidential primary approaches for the Golden State, members of America’s oldest fraternity, Freemasons, are speaking out against the tone of the presidential elections. A society woven into the fabric of American history, Freemasonry seeks to develop leaders through its central tenets: brotherly love, relief, and truth. Bold interviewed the most recent Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of California, Russ Charvonia, about the state of the nation from a Freemasonry perspective.
Anger and discord at a Donald Trump rally
This presidential election has been dominated by narcissistic personalities blatantly using American democracy as a personal showcase. Donald Trump has degraded women, minorities, and the profession of public service all in one bow. The truly alarming aspect of this is that millions of Americans are supporting this kind of showmanship, signaling a great sickness being reborn from America’s past ghosts. When asked about his opinion on the pulse of the nation, Charvonia said that the country needs civic society groups including Freemasonry like never before.
Charvonia said the world’s most powerful office needs a statesman. It needs a leader who can speak directly to the heart of a raging planet, and an egocentric politician will only throw gasoline on a raging inferno. Freemasonry is built upon a system of brotherly networks, all working towards a common goal. In a time where emotions are high and the stakes of national security are even higher, the ability to influence others to work together as a unit may be the most important qualification of the next POTUS. Charvonia knows this all to well. While heading an organization with more than 4,000 positions of leadership, his success came from having dialogue–not arguments–when making decisions for the future of this vast organization.
Recent national events show the country’s negative racial undertones are as high as ever, and Trump’s basis of power resides within this matrix. Charvonia believes that Freemasonry tenets may have to return and bring civility to this morally wounded nation. We must engage in dialogue, and not debate. Debates require a winner, in which the pendulum of revenge and envy swings continuously.
Dialogue brings opposing views together, while allowing compromise to manifest itself for the benefit of harmony. The Republican presidential race has resembled a playground shouting match using “yo mama so fat” punch lines. As a result, the American people imitate such behavior, destroying what little values people still possess. California Freemasons have seen a resurgence of young men ages 18-30 joining their ranks. They are openly rejecting today’s loud, bitter status quo for a brotherhood steeped in mystery and knowledge. While media has done much to tarnish its image, the tenets that the institution stands by has produced some of America’s greatest leaders in various arenas.
It is this reason why Charvonia said he feels Freemasonry must lead the charge restoring America’s civility. Currently, Freemasons from California are leading a call for dialogue discussions in racially divided cities such as Ferguson, Mo. They are becoming more publicly accessible to attract those who are fed up with seeing America’s spirit digressing into chaos. When primary day arrives in the Golden State, California Freemasons will vote for the candidate who shares the same values they believe in, rooted in truth. Unequivocally, in my own opinion, that candidate will not be Donald Trump.
Hayden Williams III is a Pre Medical student at the University of San Francisco and the editor of the Voices section at Bold. He is a modern day renaissance man who blends biological and political theories to birth a new approach to philosophy, which he calls the “Biolithical” method. Hayden served in the United States Air Force after attending Morehouse College as a Psychology Major. While serving in the Air Force, he studied and became nationally certified as a radiologic technologist. Hayden hopes to one day help bring quality healthcare to developing countries around the world through the use of telemedicine.