July 21, 2014

An Open Letter to Hillary Clinton

Hi, Hillary. You know me. I mean, we're not friends, exactly, but we're acquaintances. You were wonderful to me back in l994 when you invited me to the White House. It's a memory I will treasure always, and you gave it to me. I thank you.

Now, about your presidential run -- if indeed you make it. I'm writing you this letter because I think the topic might figure into your decision-making, or maybe not.

I admit that in 2008 I went with Obama, feeling at the time that he was carrying the real spirit of things, yada, yada, yada. Yeah, well. Anyway.

That was then and this is now.

I want a woman president -- really, I do. A lot of us do. And yes, you're so qualified, and yes, we've known you forever, and yes, you'd know what to do from Day 1. We all get that.

But none of that is enough to get my vote, or the vote of a lot of people I know. We only want to vote for you if you run like hell away from that corporate box you've landed in. I'm telling you, Hillary. The American people have become hip to what's happening. We know now that Wall Street runs the country, and we don't like it. And for many of us, we don't want to vote for you if Wall Street runs you too.

There are the seeds of political revolution in the air -- a rebelliousness, a rambunctiousness -- that America has been sorely missing. It's faint, at least on the left, but it is there. As a matter of fact, as tragic as it is for a lifelong Democrat to have to admit this, the one place where we have been seeing it manifest recently is on the political right. The Tea Party, sans a codependent relationship with the Republican Party, is causing a real problem for establishment Republicans. And once progressives break free of their codependent relationship with the corporate Democrats, you're going to have a real problem on your hands too.

That's why I'm writing. I have a feeling you're getting most of your advice from people who think that everything I'm saying here is nonsense. So I'll say it as loudly as I can.

STOP NOW. Stop cozying up to the banks, to the chemical companies, to the military-industrial complex, to the party machine, and to all the various financiers who make up the plutocracy now ruining this country. Yeah, I know a lot of them are nice people and that's cool. But they should not be able to turn the elected representatives of the American people into mere inconveniences they can buy off election after election. And if we have a sense that you'd be just another puppet of the elite, then I don't believe that you will win. We were fooled once, but I don't think we're going to be fooled again.

In the final analysis, we really do love democracy -- and watching it dismantled as it's being dismantled, and corrupted like it's being corrupted, has taken a lot of us from denial to real depression to a collective "Hell, no!" that will have electoral consequences in 2016.

Years ago, George Lakoff compared Republicans to a critical father and Democrats to a nurturing mother. I pointed out a bit later that the critical father had become an abusive one -- but that as anyone with any psychotherapeutic understanding knows, the child will ultimately put a lot of his or her blame on the mother who stood by and allowed the abuse to happen! That's the Democratic Party machine today, Hillary. Please don't be one of them.

I know you know exactly what I'm saying, because I remember you -- a lot of us remember you -- when you were raging against the Establishment machine on top of which you're now so sweetly perched. That machine is not our salvation; it's our problem. Corporate Democrats might have gained some power for the party, but at the cost of its soul.

I'd love to clamor for you, to work for you, to cheer you on. I don't want to sit on the sidelines longing for Elizabeth or Bernie. I want to hear what's true from you. I want you to rail against the chemical companies and their GMO's -- not support them. I want you to decry the military industrial complex -- not assure them you're their girl. I want you to support reinstating Glass-Steagall -- not just wink at Wall Street while sipping its champagne. In short, I want you to name the real problems so we can trust you'd provide some real solutions.

But maybe that's just me wanting you to change, to be someone different than who you are. If that's true, please forgive my presumption and ignore this letter. But if anything I'm saying rings any kind of true at all, then I hope you'll start saying so.

And quickly please, Hillary. People are starting to despair.

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Posted by mwblog at 5:27 PM |


July 13, 2014

THE CENTRAL AMERICAN CHILDREN: A Refugee Crisis, Not an Immigration Crisis

It is totally without conscience to knowingly send young children into places where they are likely to be tortured and/or killed unless they agree to sell drugs and commit murder, and stand a good chance of being tortured and killed even if they do. Yet social policy without conscience is what both Republicans and the President are proposing when they advocate the elimination of laws already on the books that would give the worst case Honduran and El Salvadorian children asylum.

"Speedy removal" is the term used the other day by our Director of Homeland Security in discussing one third of the expenditure for President Obama's 3.7 billion dollar proposed plan to deal with the crisis of those children. What a chillingly cold term for deporting people who have nowhere to go. Knowingly sending children back to places rampant with evil is to conspire with evil.

Immigration laws are important, and only those seeking asylum on legitimate grounds should receive it. But in this case, due processes by which asylum would be established for those genuinely in need are being circumvented. This is nothing but child abuse on a massive scale. Many people talk today as though "protecting our borders" is some sort of sacred responsibility, while protecting children is some tawdry inconvenience for which we bear no moral responsibility.

On July 13th's "Meet the Press," Congressman Joaquin Castro, D-TX, argued that many of the children should be presented with the chance to make the case for asylum. "These folks need to be given the case to go to court and argue their case," Castro said. He said that deporting children who are escaping the violent conditions in their countries like Honduras and El Salvador is not "the humane thing to do."

In the words of President Kennedy, "America cannot afford to be materially rich and spiritually poor." And our spiritual poverty these days is staggering. Turning those children away is an immoral as turning away boatloads of Jews trying to escape Hitler's Germany. We did that, but at least there's a general consensus that we should not have. How is sending these children back to the most violent places in Honduras any different?

God does not love Americans more than he loves anyone else. He didn't give Americans some divine right to health and safety, and leave everyone else to just care for him or herself. Even if we were to believe such a distorted version of God's love, then how, please tell me, are those Honduran children supposed to take care of themselves? It seems to me that they tried their best, simply getting here. If God helps those who help themselves, then perhaps He is asking us now to aid Him in His efforts.

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Posted by mwblog at 7:34 AM |


July 10, 2014

THE REVOLUTION OF CONSCIOUSNESS

There is a revolution occurring in the world today, but it is not fought with armies and it does not aim to kill. It is a revolution of consciousness.

This revolution is to the 21st Century what the Scientific Revolution was to the 20th. The Scientific Revolution revealed objective, discernible laws of external phenomena and applied those laws to the material world. The Consciousness Revolution reveals objective, discernible laws of internal phenomena and applies them to the world as well.

The Scientific Revolution improved the state of humanity in many ways, but it also fostered a worldview neither ultimately helpful nor deeply humane. That worldview is mechanistic and rationalistic, without the slightest bow to the primacy of consciousness. Yet consciousness supplies moral vision and ethical purpose, without which all the science in the world won't keep us from destroying ourselves or the planet on which we live.

Gone with irony and deep sigh any lingering hope that science will cure all the ills of the world. Certainly science has improved and continues to improve the world in significant, even stunning ways. But despite all its amazing gifts, science cannot give us what we most need now. It cannot save us from ourselves. Science can lead to the cure of a physical ailment, but it is not just a physical ailment that needs healing. Humanity's core problem is not material but spiritual. It is our insanity -- our inhumanity towards each other -- from which we need to be delivered, in order to save us from the self-destruction on which we seem so bent.

Science is carried out at the behest of human purposes. It can be used for good and it can be used for evil. Of itself, it is neutral and thus amoral. It should not therefore be our god. It's time to end our strict obeisance to its dictate that the laws of the material world are fixed and unalterable, unchanged by the powers of consciousness. The old Newtonian model of world as machine has in fact given way to the realization that the universe is not a big machine, so much as it is, in the words of British physicist James Jeans, "a big thought." Science itself has begun to recognize the power of the mind, but not so a lot of the world it has mesmerized over the last hundred years.

We need to heal our thinking, in order to heal our world.

The Law of Cause and Effect holds true on every level of reality. Thought is the level of cause and material manifestation is the level of effect. Change only on the level of effect is not fundamental change it at all, yet change on the level of cause changes everything. That is why a revolution in consciousness is our greatest hope for the future of the world.

What is the Revolution of Consciousness, in a nutshell? Like all great movements in human history, it is based on a single insight: in this case, that we are not separate from one another. We are not material beings limited to the physical body, but beings of consciousness limited by nothing. Like waves in the ocean or sunbeams to the sun, there is actually nowhere where one of us stops and another one starts. On the level of bodies, we're all separate of course. But on the level of consciousness, we are one.

What that means, of course, is that what I do to you, I do to myself. That makes the Golden Rule very, very good advice. Do unto others what you would have others do unto you - because they will, or someone else will.

Anything we do to anyone else will ultimately come back at us, whether as individuals or as nations. Once we know that, we cannot un-know it. It changes everything, including our hearts. How can we not change how we see each other, once we realize that we are each other?

In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., "We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one, affects all indirectly." That understanding is not metaphor or symbol; it's a description of an ultimate reality shoved from our awareness by scientific materialism. To reclaim that understanding is not blind but visionary. King was not just a movement leader but also a spiritual one, proclaiming that the human condition would not fundamentally change until our hearts were changed. Until that change occurs within us, every time we cut off the head of a monster three more will take its place.

In the words of President John F. Kennedy, "Those who make peaceful evolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable." The Revolution of Consciousness paves the way for the peaceful evolution of the human race. The alternative to that evolution is catastrophic and impenetrable darkness.

Any species, if its behavior becomes maladaptive for its survival, either mutates or goes extinct. What arrogance it would be to believe that that applies to every species but our own. In fact, humanity's behavior is maladaptive for our own survival: we fight too much with too many weapons of mass destruction existing on the planet, and are actively destroying our own habitat. Our choice is clear: we will either mutate or we will die.

The mind does not want to hear this, but the heart rejoices in it. The dictates of science aren't so sure about it, but the dictates of consciousness are clear. Humanity doesn't need to make another machine; it needs to make another choice. We need to consider the possibility of another way, another option, another path for the human race to follow...one in which we do not bow before the laws of science, but rather bow before the laws of love. The mind will no longer be our master, but our servant. Science will no longer be a false god, but a truer help. And humanity will evolve.

The earth will heal, peace at last will come to earth, and war will be no more.

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Posted by mwblog at 5:56 PM |


July 4, 2014

We Have It In Our Power To Begin The World Over Again

Advocating for American independence, Thomas Paine wrote, "We have it in our power to begin the world over again."

And indeed, on July 4, 1776, that's exactly what our Founders did. By signing the Declaration of Independence, they established a break from England and gave birth to a new nation.

Cataloging King George's many and horrific abuses, the Founders did what they felt they had to do in order to secure their own rights to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." Only a total and complete break from England would give them the opportunity to do that.

Throwing off the yoke of what had become a tyrannous rule, 56 brave men risked death for themselves and terrible retribution upon the colonies should their endeavor fail. They knew the violence they were calling down upon themselves, once King George's army arrived to crush their rebellion. They knew there was no guarantee that their effort would succeed. Yet they were willing to take that risk, in order to establish the right of Americans to govern our own lives...not only then, but forever.

Today, we too often take our rights for granted. And a right that is taken for granted, too easily becomes a right that is taken away.

July 4 should be a day of mindful, not mindless celebration. It's a day to look back at what was courageously created in the past, in order to claim the courage to create a more powerful future. America is still, despite our weaknesses, the container for the most powerful idea on earth: that all things are possible, that the future does not have to be like the past, and we all have the right to live as we wish to live.

John Adams, the second President of the United States, said he hoped our national birthday would be a day when Americans of every generation revisited America's first principles -reminding ourselves and our children why freedom matters.

As a recent Congressional candidate, I was reminded every day during my campaign how fortunate we are to live in a country where I could say whatever I wanted to say about our government, point out whatever I felt needed to be pointed out, and no one had the right to stop me. Read any newspaper story today and you're reminded of all the places in the world where such honest reflection is not allowed, not possible, or even punishable by death.

So today, on July 4, let's celebrate with more than a bar-b-que. Let's celebrate with deep and humble gratitude for the extraordinary gift that was given us on this day 238 years ago. Obviously, the Founders didn't create a perfect system. But they began the process, in an amazing way. It's now ours - as the stewards of democracy in our own generation - to continue to carry the process forward. To make it better, as best we can.

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Posted by mwblog at 11:11 AM |


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.

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Posted by mwblog at 9:43 PM |