The politics this century leaves me cold. It fails to touch my heart. I was mad and saddened about the outcome of the Florida elections three years ago, but I got over it. Like so many, I have been alarmed by our current regime’s weapons of mass distraction and its unconscious, uncompassionate conservatism; however, I am trying to take a more long term view. The truth is I feel I can’t trust these people, can’t seem to find much truth-telling amidst all the spin and media, and that our leaders fail to touch my heart.
Decades ago, RFK said that politics is a noble profession, and no one snickered. I doubt we could say the same today. I long for some serious and sincere statesman to step up and lead us, but fear our country is not ready to either recognize or produce such people. It hurt when Wellstone of Minnesota and Tsongas of Massachusetts both met untimely death; I truly liked them both.
Where will the future leaders of our country come from? Who in their right mind would enter and persevere, surviving in the bitter swamp of our cynical partisan political system long enough to emerge as a real candidate for high office in this country? What if anything are we doing to inculcate wisdom, enlightened leadership and selfless service as a core value in the younger generations today?
Is America a real democracy, an oligarchy or a plutocracy?
On Inauguration Day in January, I know several people– intelligent friends of mine– who were in a state of what they called “active mourning”. Getting together to bemoan the state of things, they wondered about what’s next, what can be done, how to proceed in a positive way during the next four years, and so forth. I myself have been in a state of reflection during the last period, particularly since I find that introspective quality extraordinarily lacking in politics and world affairs– at least as we have to come to know it.
The State of the Union did nothing to assuage my Inner Depressive. I felt our president to be a genuine Christian zealot in his missionary zeal to convert the world to our American way of life and consumer democracy, hidden just beneath the oft repeated mantric buzz-word freedom. I feel that I can love him as a soul but not as the rough-riding person he pretends to be.
Along with the Red Sox, during autumn’s presidential campaign I was initially interested in Dennis Kucinich and what he had to say. However, after seeing him close up, it was obvious that he was both extraordinary and unelectable. Governor Dean caught my attention– I particularly appreciated the way his people utilized the Internet to mobilize people, raise funds, and the like– but I was ultimately willing later to go along with the party and think that Kerry would do a good enough job of it, although remaining skeptical of his chances against the incumbent regime and all the fierce forces of true believers marshaled again him.
Now I sense a certain despair and feelings of hopelessness and helplessness among those who were disappointed with the election’s eventual outcome. But I don’t think this setback is a good excuse to give up or give in to the powers that (seem to) be. Thoreau said: “If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment.”
These days I am calling for a Heart-full Revolution, where we can meet people heart to heart and come together at a local grassroots level to face the challenges we have in our country and our world. I want to start the Heart to Heart Party, and speak heart to heart about what is bothering us, what ails us, and what we together as well as individually might be able to do about it. And not just here in this country, but in the greater world of which we are so much a part. I want to face the despair, hopelessness, and fear that is endemic to our society today. Let us grieve for what we have lost, and move on.
This must be far more than a call for social activism and political action, although that could and eventually should be part of it. Activism is fine, as far as it goes; but I think we need to raise our consciousness and be more aware of what we do and why, and how we do things, and their longtime outcomes and implications, before we haphazardly rush into actions we may deem helpful and even necessary. For many do-gooders throughout history have stirred up more trouble through unconscious actions and mixed motivation.
This is I think the challenge of the authentic activist today; to have the vision to know what to do and how and when to accomplish it, guided by wisdom and inner clarity, and to avoid stirring up more chaos and confusion thru shortsighted quick fix solutions to problems with long historical roots and complex multidimensional origins. Only then, with such wisdom at work, can we accomplish effective spiritual activism– working selflessly for the greatest good and highest purpose, in service of the highest power– however we may understand it.