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June 19, 2014

Bearing Witness

It's not very often that I see something on a corporate-owned American TV news channel and go, "Wow guys, that was great." But tonight I did. CNN deserves a huge bravo - and a huge thank you - for their special SIXTIES episode about the war in Vietnam.

When the show first started, I could tell within 60 seconds that I wanted to turn it off -- this was going to be really hard to watch. Giving in to my emotional resistance, I thought, "I don't need to watch...I know what happened...I remember it from when it was going on." But I knew I couldn't turn off the TV and feel clean. It was like watching "Schindler's List"; it's not like you wanted to see it, so much as it was your moral responsibility to see it. You can't just let others go through the suffering and not even show enough respect to bear witness. According to Gandhi, bearing witness to the agony of others is itself a soul force.

So I watched the show tonight. And yes, it was painful. But I thought, thank God that someone in the media decided to put war -- real war, the truth about war, the suffering of war, and the stupidity of some wars - on prime time TV right now. We need to see it. We're so vulnerable to the propaganda of our multi-billion dollar war machine these days that it's very easy to either acquiesce, or simply look away.

Earlier today, I asked a woman, "So what do you think about this Iraq situation?" To which she replied, "Oh, I try not to watch the bad news."

"Do you think that will make the bad news go away?" I asked her.
"No," she said, "but it will help me sleep at night."

My thought, unspoken of course, was that perhaps she needed a sleepless night or two. We're living at a time when if you're not grieving, you must not be looking. But also it's a time when if you're not recognizing our power to change things, you're not realizing the power that lies within us. As they said in the 60's, if you're not part of the solution then you're part of the problem. And if you never look at the problem, then it never occurs to you to be part of the solution.

A young man recently said to me about my boomer generation that we were "just a bunch of hippies." He said, "Drugs, sex, and rock and roll. That's all you guys were about."

To which I responded with a chuckle, "Uh, that was just part of the day...!" But then I looked at him pretty intently, saying. "The rest of the day we spent stopping a war. And what are you doing, young man...?"

I'm not a pacifist. I understand that there are times when war would seem the necessary action to the most deeply reflective, considered person. But what was so horrifying about tonight's program about Vietnam is that it showed President Johnson and Defense Secretary McNamara for what they were - just these guys talking on the phone, almost clueless about what was actually happening, certainly with a sense that something was horribly wrong but without the moral conviction to simply stop it. At one point, it was said that because McNamara had run Ford Motor Company, people figured he was the guy who could figure it all out. Really....?

And the worst part of all, of course, is that here we are again. I don't have any answers about Iraq, but I do know we need to be asking deeper questions....not just about what to do, but about who to be....as a country and even a species. None of this needed to happen in the Middle East. None of it. One bad decision, one selfish action, one imperialistic notion after another, led to all this. And no American, not one of us, should avoid the painful realization that yes, America does have blood on its hands. By the way -- not to change the subject or anything -- but can anyone tell me why the US Embassy in Iraq cost a billion dollars?

So we keep changing the places and changing the names, from Saigon to Baghdad to wherever is next. But we never seem to take responsibility for the part of the problem that might be us.

We continue to play war like a cheap high school drama; it'll all be okay if we just catch the bad guys. If anything, we're doing it now more than ever these days. The fact that they caught the "mastermind" of the Benghazi attack seems like such a cheap piece of theatre to me. The "mastermind"? As in, which one of them lit the match that then got thrown onto the gasoline? Are we kidding? Do we not recognize that if he hadn't, then someone else would have - if that not that night, then on some other night? And if not that embassy, then at some other? They weren't in Disneyland; they were in Libya! There will always be a Saigon, there will always be a Baghdad, and there will always be a Benghazi, until we desire the peace that lies beyond them so much that we are willing to do what is necessary to create a world at peace.

How do we do that? That's a much harder question. But at least it's the right one. And only when we're willing to withstand the discomfort of asking questions to which there are no easy answers, will we at last actually find some answers. The brave and mighty Americans we have lost at war did so much physical suffering for us; let us at the very least withstand the moral suffering of facing what needs to be faced, as painful as it is to face it, because only then will wisdom come.

Posted by mwblog at 9:43 PM | Comments (0)

Bearing Witness

It's not very often that I see something on a corporate-owned American TV news channel and go, "Wow guys, that was great." But tonight I did. CNN deserves a huge bravo - and a huge thank you - for their special SIXTIES episode about the war in Vietnam.

When the show first started, I could tell within 60 seconds that I wanted to turn it off -- this was going to be really hard to watch. Giving in to my emotional resistance, I thought, "I don't need to watch...I know what happened...I remember it from when it was going on." But I knew I couldn't turn off the TV and feel clean. It was like watching "Schindler's List"; it's not like you wanted to see it, so much as it was your moral responsibility to see it. You can't just let others go through the suffering and not even show enough respect to bear witness. According to Gandhi, bearing witness to the agony of others is itself a soul force.

So I watched the show tonight. And yes, it was painful. But I thought, thank God that someone in the media decided to put war -- real war, the truth about war, the suffering of war, and the stupidity of some wars - on prime time TV right now. We need to see it. We're so vulnerable to the propaganda of our multi-billion dollar war machine these days that it's very easy to either acquiesce, or simply look away.

Earlier today, I asked a woman, "So what do you think about this Iraq situation?" To which she replied, "Oh, I try not to watch the bad news."

"Do you think that will make the bad news go away?" I asked her.
"No," she said, "but it will help me sleep at night."

My thought, unspoken of course, was that perhaps she needed a sleepless night or two. We're living at a time when if you're not grieving, you must not be looking. But also it's a time when if you're not recognizing our power to change things, you're not realizing the power that lies within us. As they said in the 60's, if you're not part of the solution then you're part of the problem. And if you never look at the problem, then it never occurs to you to be part of the solution.

A young man recently said to me about my boomer generation that we were "just a bunch of hippies." He said, "Drugs, sex, and rock and roll. That's all you guys were about."

To which I responded with a chuckle, "Uh, that was just part of the day...!" But then I looked at him pretty intently, saying. "The rest of the day we spent stopping a war. And what are you doing, young man...?"

I'm not a pacifist. I understand that there are times when war would seem the necessary action to the most deeply reflective, considered person. But what was so horrifying about tonight's program about Vietnam is that it showed President Johnson and Defense Secretary McNamara for what they were - just these guys talking on the phone, almost clueless about what was actually happening, certainly with a sense that something was horribly wrong but without the moral conviction to simply stop it. At one point, it was said that because McNamara had run Ford Motor Company, people figured he was the guy who could figure it all out. Really....?

And the worst part of all, of course, is that here we are again. I don't have any answers about Iraq, but I do know we need to be asking deeper questions....not just about what to do, but about who to be....as a country and even a species. None of this needed to happen in the Middle East. None of it. One bad decision, one selfish action, one imperialistic notion after another, led to all this. And no American, not one of us, should avoid the painful realization that yes, America does have blood on its hands. By the way -- not to change the subject or anything -- but can anyone tell me why the US Embassy in Iraq cost a billion dollars?

So we keep changing the places and changing the names, from Saigon to Baghdad to wherever is next. But we never seem to take responsibility for the part of the problem that might be us.

We continue to play war like a cheap high school drama; it'll all be okay if we just catch the bad guys. If anything, we're doing it now more than ever these days. The fact that they caught the "mastermind" of the Benghazi attack seems like such a cheap piece of theatre to me. The "mastermind"? As in, which one of them lit the match that then got thrown onto the gasoline? Are we kidding? Do we not recognize that if he hadn't, then someone else would have - if that not that night, then on some other night? And if not that embassy, then at some other? They weren't in Disneyland; they were in Libya! There will always be a Saigon, there will always be a Baghdad, and there will always be a Benghazi, until we desire the peace that lies beyond them so much that we are willing to do what is necessary to create a world at peace.

How do we do that? That's a much harder question. But at least it's the right one. And only when we're willing to withstand the discomfort of asking questions to which there are no easy answers, will we at last actually find some answers. The brave and mighty Americans we have lost at war did so much physical suffering for us; let us at the very least withstand the moral suffering of facing what needs to be faced, as painful as it is to face it, because only then will wisdom come.

Posted by mwblog at 9:43 PM | Comments (0)

Bearing Witness

It's not very often that I see something on a corporate-owned American TV news channel and go, "Wow guys, that was great." But tonight I did. CNN deserves a huge bravo - and a huge thank you - for their special SIXTIES episode about the war in Vietnam.
When the show first started, I could tell within 60 seconds that I wanted to turn it off -- this was going to be really hard to watch. Giving in to my emotional resistance, I thought, "I don't need to watch...I know what happened...I remember it from when it was going on." But I knew I couldn't turn off the TV and feel clean. It was like watching "Schindler's List"; it's not like you wanted to see it, so much as it was your moral responsibility to see it. You can't just let others go through the suffering and not even show enough respect to bear witness. According to Gandhi, bearing witness to the agony of others is itself a soul force.

So I watched the show tonight. And yes, it was painful. But I thought, thank God that someone in the media decided to put war -- real war, the truth about war, the suffering of war, and the stupidity of some wars - on prime time TV right now. We need to see it. We're so vulnerable to the propaganda of our multi-billion dollar war machine these days that it's very easy to either acquiesce, or simply look away.

Earlier today, I asked a woman, "So what do you think about this Iraq situation?" To which she replied, "Oh, I try not to watch the bad news."

"Do you think that will make the bad news go away?" I asked her.
"No," she said, "but it will help me sleep at night."

My thought, unspoken of course, was that perhaps she needed a sleepless night or two. We're living at a time when if you're not grieving, you must not be looking. But also it's a time when if you're not recognizing our power to change things, you're not realizing the power that lies within us. As they said in the 60's, if you're not part of the solution then you're part of the problem. And if you never look at the problem, then it never occurs to you to be part of the solution.

A young man recently said to me about my boomer generation that we were "just a bunch of hippies." He said, "Drugs, sex, and rock and roll. That's all you guys were about."

To which I responded with a chuckle, "Uh, that was just part of the day...!" But then I looked at him pretty intently, saying. "The rest of the day we spent stopping a war. And what are you doing, young man...?"

I'm not a pacifist. I understand that there are times when war would seem the necessary action to the most deeply reflective, considered person. But what was so horrifying about tonight's program about Vietnam is that it showed President Johnson and Defense Secretary McNamara for what they were - just these guys talking on the phone, almost clueless about what was actually happening, certainly with a sense that something was horribly wrong but without the moral conviction to simply stop it. At one point, it was said that because McNamara had run Ford Motor Company, people figured he was the guy who could figure it all out. Really....?

And the worst part of all, of course, is that here we are again. I don't have any answers about Iraq, but I do know we need to be asking deeper questions....not just about what to do, but about who to be....as a country and even a species. None of this needed to happen in the Middle East. None of it. One bad decision, one selfish action, one imperialistic notion after another, led to all this. And no American, not one of us, should avoid the painful realization that yes, America does have blood on its hands. By the way -- not to change the subject or anything -- but can anyone tell me why the US Embassy in Iraq cost a billion dollars?

So we keep changing the places and changing the names, from Saigon to Baghdad to wherever is next. But we never seem to take responsibility for the part of the problem that might be us.

We continue to play war like a cheap high school drama; it'll all be okay if we just catch the bad guys. If anything, we're doing it now more than ever these days. The fact that they caught the "mastermind" of the Benghazi attack seems like such a cheap piece of theatre to me. The "mastermind"? As in, which one of them lit the match that then got thrown onto the gasoline? Are we kidding? Do we not recognize that if he hadn't, then someone else would have - if that not that night, then on some other night? And if not that embassy, then at some other? They weren't in Disneyland; they were in Libya! There will always be a Saigon, there will always be a Baghdad, and there will always be a Benghazi, until we desire the peace that lies beyond them so much that we are willing to do what is necessary to create a world at peace.

How do we do that? That's a much harder question. But at least it's the right one. And only when we're willing to withstand the discomfort of asking questions to which there are no easy answers, will we at last actually find some answers. The brave and mighty Americans we have lost at war did so much physical suffering for us; let us at the very least withstand the moral suffering of facing what needs to be faced, as painful as it is to face it, because only then will wisdom come.

Posted by mwblog at 9:43 PM | Comments (0)

June 18, 2014

War, Iraq, Enlightenment

Sometimes, it's when all hope is seemingly lost that the greatest breakthroughs occur in life. Whatever forces us to recognize the limit to what we can do by ourselves, opens the mind to consider the possibility that there might be another way. When everything is all messed up, we've played all your cards, and we don't have a clue what to do now - that often becomes a magic moment. Commonly called "bottoming out," it's the point when we realize that our way isn't working - and then miraculously, things start working.

Nations can bottom out, just like individuals. And the situation in Iraq is just such a moment. You know the government is running out of cards to play when they're thinking maybe Iran can help. Or when the media's idea of great coverage is to call and ask the people who got us into Iraq for any great ideas they might have now that it's all exploded in our faces. To say we're grasping for straws is an understatement. Looking at the power of ISIL leads to horrifying possibilities that make the most varied sets of people, from the most disparate places and viewpoints, all ultimately come to the same conclusion: "We really, really have a problem here."

So what now?

From a spiritual perspective, the first thing we all do is to admit that the situation is not solvable by the mortal mind alone. That admission is both death to the ego and birth of the wiser self. It puts us into a different place of consciousness, a more humble attitude that doesn't make us dumber - it makes us smarter. It moves us beyond that small number of brain cells that we're currently using, taking the evolutionary leap that is the challenge of humanity at this moment - to realize that the human species will not survive unless we evolve beyond our material, mechanistic, Newtonian notion of how the universe operates. Our task is to embrace the primacy of consciousness as both the reality and the power that it is. There is more to the mind than the intellect, and the intellect alone can't solve every problem. This is not bad news, by the way; it's good.

Next, we move, en masse, into the level of consciousness that is the deeper Reality underlying all things, a self-organizing and self-correcting matrix of energy (some call it God, some do not) that is the natural intelligence of the universe. It is the mysterious guidance by which embryos become babies, acorns become oak trees and buds become blossoms. Our self-will only interferes with this intelligence; our lack of love obstructs it; prayer and meditation release it to work on our behalf.

As we can see from simply looking at a flower, nature knows how to organize itself. And this same force would organize human affairs if we would allow it to. This allowance occurs whenever we place our minds in correct alignment with the laws of the universe. Until we do this, we will continue to manifest a world that destroys rather than heals itself. Iraq is a perfect example.

Participating in the creation of collective field of prayer and meditation is something that each of us can do to help end the cycle of violence in the Middle East. Taking the mind to its natural state of alignment with the Truth at the center of things, these activities of the mind act like a magnet to attract the healing potential inherent in the universe. In the words of Martin Luther King, internal changes in the direction of non-violence are "materially passive but spiritually active." There are, in that field of collective meditative/prayerful consciousness, infinite possibilities that the conscious mind can simply not formulate.

What is the conceit that this time in history is calling us to surrender? It is the notion that the conscious, mortal, intellectual mind can be trusted to rule and organize all things. Given the state of affairs on the planet today, it is preposterous to think it can. As they would say in Alcoholics Anonymous, "Our best thinking got us here."

A study published in the Yale Journal of Conflict Resolution in l985 reported on a group of advanced meditators from the Transcendental Meditation Movement who meditated in Jerusalem in l983 during the height of the Lebanese Civil War. During the summer of 1983, on each day in which there were large numbers of meditators, violence dropped and stayed low for an additional day or so and then went back to its previous levels. The final data revealed that whenever the group of meditators assembled, there was an average of a 76% reduction in war deaths.

Why is this so?

Because on a level of subtle energy, often referred to as the Unified Field Theory, all minds are joined as one. In the words of Candace Badgett, founder of the Women's Institute at Maharishi University, "War is the result of the build up of stress and negativity in collective consciousness... And it's consequences are the suffering and resentment that in turn perpetuate retaliation in the form of terrorism, conflict .....and more war." Breaking this cycle of violence is now within the reach, and the power, of each of us. The more we all do our part to prepare the field, the more creative solutions will be available to world leaders seeking to effectuate external change.

Often in life, collectively and well as individually, we find ourselves confronted by more than problematic events; we find ourselves confronted by a resistant energetic force field that external change of itself does not fundamentally altar. And so it is with the scourge of war. War is not just an external event; it is a field of fear-based consciousness that needs to be addressed on internal as well as external levels. And that will take all of our efforts.

Here are five principles for spiritual activism:

l) Atone in your heart for your own warlike nature - any thoughts or behavior of judgment or attack -- and seek to change your life where necessary.

2) Spend at least five minutes a day in prayer or meditation, knowing you are part of a global field of consciousness at work on the inner planes to bring about world peace.

3) Seek to organize your own community of like-minded individuals to join you in prayer or meditation groups for world peace.

4) If it applies, atone with others for the behavior of your country if it has in the past, or is now, participating in unjust military activity.

5) Practice mercy and compassion towards yourself and others, particularly resisting any temptation to monitor someone else's journey rather than your own.

Just as science is seen not as a separate category of life, but rather the material alphabet that explains all external phenomena, so is consciousness the science of the inner life. The field of consciousness today is what the scientific revolution was for to late 19th and early 20th century, representing a similar advent of a new frontier. The question today is not how to convince others that these things are true. Enough of us now know they are. The issue now is how to harness the energy and power of this new understanding, so we can get on with the urgent task of saving our world from the clutches of war and delivering it to fields of unending peace. Visiting these fields within ourselves, we automatically become the source providers of their emergence in the outer world.

It is time. It is possible. It is simply ours to do.

Posted by mwblog at 9:21 AM | Comments (0)

June 13, 2014

The Gnarly Psychology of Unnecessary War

We have a big problem in Iraq: We Really. Really. Really. Screwed up.

The basic scenario we all know, of course. Saddam Hussein, admittedly a bad guy, was also a secularist who kept Al Qaeda and other Islamist fundamentalists out of his country, as well as Iran's dictatorship at bay. With our invasion of Iraq (see Charles Ferguson's extraordinary documentary, No End in Sight) -- to the tune of two trillion dollars, almost 5,000 American lives lost and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives lost - we paved the way for what is happening now. Terrorists too radical even for Al Qaeda have taken over the second largest city in Iraq and seem headed for Baghdad, while Iran is now more of a problem than when Saddam was acting as a buffer. 

This entire scenario could have been predicted - in fact it was predicted-- by those arguing against the invasion of Iraq at the time. Such voices were easily marginalized, however, by mainstream media simply toeing the government line about weapons of mass destruction. Government PR lackeys posing as journalists underreported the anti-war effort, painting a picture of those who opposed the war as unsophisticated peaceniks, fuzzy-brained ragamuffin types who simply didn't understand the complicated analysis and profound, wise warnings being touted by the esteemed warmongers in business suits then running our affairs.

The warmongers spoke in well-modulated tones, drowning out the voices of those who were upset by the prospect of innocent people dying for no good reason. There were anti-war protests all over the country but little good they did when basically ignored by the media hacks who capitulated, no-real-questions-asked, to the Administration's Iraqi war plans. I remember Dennis Kucinich saying there would be hand-to-hand combat in Baghdad, and the elite just rolled their eyes. Like really, how ridiculous; did he not know we would be out of there within six weeks?

So here we are. As an Iraqi woman bitterly expressed to me on my radio show a few years ago, "When Saddam and his sons were alive, we knew we had three devils. But we were waiting for them to die, and planning what we would do then. Now, with what has happened, there are devils on every corner." I think about that woman now; the militants who have captured Mosul have declared Shariah law in that city, saying they will do so in every city they capture and shooting on sight anyone refusing to acquiesce.

President Obama and his foreign policy team will decide what to do now. Do we aid the Iraqis against the militants at this point? And if we do, in what way? What if Iraq falls to the fundamentalist insurgents? I don't envy anyone having to decide what to do with the mess we have on our hands now. 

Nor do I claim to have any answers on a military level. But I know this: military issues are not the only level of the problem, and they're not the only level of the solution. Nothing the government does now - no action or non-action on its part - will change the fundamental trajectory of national tragedy - and I don't just mean Iraq's - if we, the American people, do not wake up to what has happened here. We have gone from a country that fought World War 2 with a sober understanding of the perils if not the necessities of war, to a country repeatedly prey to the militaristic prowess of a military-industrial-governmental complex we seem to have a hard time recognizing for what it is: often anything but patriotic and often anything but sane.

Like an emotionally addicted lover who will simply not admit that our partner is a narcissist with no capacity for empathy or concern for anyone's needs but their own, the American people have allowed ourselves to be played like a fiddle at the cost of blood and almost unimaginable suffering for hundreds of thousands of people. 

This is not just a political problem; it is a psychological one. And until we solve that problem - until we take our house keys back from a sociopathic establishment -- we will continue the tragic dysfunction that has taken us from Vietnam to Iraq, now already evident in heady though blessedly distant drum rolls of the genuinely insane dingaling, "Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran." 

The American people have been suckers for decades now, for serious-sounding men and women in business suits spouting nationalistic crap about the necessity of applying brute force in places where it is patently absurd to do so. That crowd of well-dressed liars sent young, brave but surely terrified Americans into an unnecessary and ill-conceived war in Iraq that they planned ten years prior to Bush even being in the White House, while they sipped champagne and kissed each other on the cheek at Washington cocktail parties. They lied about yellowcake uranium, they played Colin Powell like an unsuspecting puppy, and -- oh, did I mention this? -- they and their friends made millions and even billions of dollars by prosecuting that war. According to The Financial Times, Halliburton has earned $39.5 billion on the Iraq War so far.

If karma, or the Law of Cause and Effect, applies to nations as it applies to individuals - and it does - then God help us. And it is time to admit to ourselves the painful truth: that we allowed all this to happen. Too cowed, too busy, too unconcerned - whatever we were - we allowed it to happen in big ways and small, and every individual has to decide for him or herself what he or she might have done differently in the run up to this awful moment. One thing is for sure, however: we as a generation have allowed ourselves to be played. It's hard to admit this, but things will not fundamentally change until we do.

This problem will not be solved by merely changing the political guard in Washington; it will be solved by changing our hearts, waking up as citizens, and taking responsibility for the awful fact that none of this could have happened had we not been far too eager, time and time again, to look the other way while the voices of militarism, warmongering and economic imperialism - simply by manipulating media symbols and our emotions - had their way with us, turning a great nation into fools. 

It happened in Vietnam. Now it has happened in Iraq. How many times will we allow people to die in wars that its planners later call, as Robert McNamara did the Vietnam war, "a terrible mistake"? There is, quite simply, too much blood on American hands. With a 650 billion dollar annual Defense budget and a military-industrial complex extracting from the pool of our national resources not only our money, but the blood of our young soldiers and our moral standing with God and the rest of humanity, this is just one more reason why it's time for the American people to take back our country, reclaim our democracy, and make right our conscience before it is too late. 

The process of healing - whether in an individual's life or in a nation's life -- begins with a simple, humble atonement for our errors. We need to take ownership of the problem before we can take ownership of the solution, and the biggest problem is within ourselves. With a Presidential election coming up, it's extremely important that we stop being such easy marks for tough-on-national-security arguments that only use and abuse us. Sometimes, wisdom only comes when we've faced the horrible fact that we've behaved like fools. 

In our foolishness, we acquiesced to nothing short of patterns of willful, unnecessary killing. For killing is what war is. And that is why it should never, ever happen for any other reason than the most radical necessity. Those who say this are not immature children; in fact, increasingly they're the only grownups in the room. A stupid, unnecessary war is not something to brag about; it's something for which to humbly ask God's forgiveness.

In the words of Abraham Lincoln in declaring a National Day of Fasting and Prayer on March 30, 1863, "...It behooves us, then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness. It is the duty of nations as well as of men, to confess their sins and transgressions, in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon..."

With events like those occurring in Iraq right now, we should realize that our window of time is starting to close. Lincoln's injunction that we should throw ourselves on the mercy of God might sound crazy to the warmongers, but it's time at last for them to sound crazy to us.


Posted by mwblog at 6:41 PM | Comments (0)

June 12, 2014

Are You Serious?

I didn't place in the top two in last week's House of Representatives District 33 primary election, and while of course I was disappointed I was certainly not devastated or even truly sad.

But I've heard things in the aftermath of the election that indeed have made me sad - not because people didn't vote for me, but because of why in many cases people said they didn't vote for me. These issues relate not just to an election, but to an attitude that pervades our culture in relation to anyone with a so-called "spiritual" perspective.

First, I apparently wasn't perceived by some people as a "serious" candidate. Given the fact that I was the only candidate in the race with an entire platform based on child poverty, mass incarceration, income disparity, diminishing civil liberties, domestic surveillance, student loan debt, corporatization and rule by oligarchy, passing a Green New Deal, and a Constitutional Amendment to rid corporations of the rights of personhood, I'm a little stymied as to what makes a person "serious" enough to pass muster with the so-called "serious" people who make such judgments. Indeed, mine was the only top tier candidacy that actually did make a serious critique of the political status quo.

What, I wonder, makes one a "serious" candidate in the eyes of supposedly serious people, other than being someone who doesn't challenge their notions of what it means to be serious? When people capitulate to a system that they know is broken -- that they know in their hearts will not be fixed by mere legislative technique -- yet do not actually vote to change that system, then they're being intellectually and emotionally dishonest. And that is not a serious person.

Spirituality is not a religion; it is a conviction of the heart. And making a case for social conscience is not a joke. No one should apologize for the fact that they believe we're on the Earth to love each other, and if anything, those who do not factor that notion into their politics are the ones who should be apologizing. If love matters most, then it's intolerable that America has the second-highest child poverty rate among all advanced nations in the world, or the highest mass incarceration rate in the world, or a system that is rigged more and more every day in the interests of our richest citizens; if money matters most, then why concern ourselves?

"New Age" is a label that can be used to trivialize even the most serious thinker. Martin Luther King, Jr., said that "we have before us the glorious opportunity to inject a new dimension of love into the veins of civilization." Should only clergy be allowed to say this, without risk of mockery? What makes one a New Age Guru, by the way, other than having been caricatured that way decades ago by the likes of People magazine? Most importantly, I'm left wondering how in the world one fights a caricature.

I will not take off my stilettos in order to cater to subconscious sexism, any more than I will stop proclaiming the power of faith in order to cater to a secularized progressive bias. Love doesn't need scientific verification. What I will do to the best of my ability is respond to such prejudices, by naming them and calling them out. I know my campaign was outside the box, but inside the box is profoundly toxic today. And no one living or working within that box has the right to say that they are serious thinkers, or that someone trying to destroy the box is not. A pseudo-progressive and pseudo-intellectual establishment that urges us to fight our new corporate overlords while functioning at the behest of those overlords is serious only in that it is seriously ridiculous. And nothing could be a more serious task today than to call our political system to account for its corruption, our society to the challenge of taking a serious look at our national character defects, and our country to its remembrance of our own democratic ideals at a time when they are withering away before our eyes.

Posted by mwblog at 5:01 PM | Comments (0)