Friday, October 17, 2008

A "Mandate" for Political Climate Change

A "Mandate" for Political Climate Change
One Man, Two Dates

The Man:

Barack Obama

The Dates:
November 4, 2008, Election Day
January 20, 2009, Inauguration Day

"The Republicans' success is based on their ability to activate not just the base, but the basest of the base."
-- Swami Beyondananda

Last month, I caused a bit of a stir when I reprinted a Deepak Chopra piece suggesting the Sarah Palin phenomenon represented the shadow side of the evolutionary hope engendered by the Obama candidacy. I purposely sent it to everyone on my BeyondaNews list because I believe the choice we face in the coming weeks and months is so profound that even the "apolitical" need to be awakened. Several of my conservative readers took exception to Deepak's words and perspective. I also got a few emails suggesting that Obama is part of the same dysfunctional system, himself a tool of empire, so what difference will it make to vote for him?

Since the crises we face are even more in our face than they were last month, and since the McCain-Palin campaign is resorting to fear-mongering and race-baiting in their last desperate attempt to win at any cost (as Swami says, "Who needs a program, when you can use programming?"), I am once again taking the liberty of sending this issue of Notes From the Trail out to my entire list. In an attempt to "go deeper than Deepak," I will seek to respectfully address some of what was perceived as insulting to conservatives. At the same time, I will highlight the evolutionary nature of the upcoming election, and how to address the ominous signs of a regime entrenching its dictatorial powers.

Apologies in advance for a lengthy piece. As the old saying goes, I would have written something shorter, but I didn't have the time.

G.O.P, R.I.P.?

While on my tour last month, someone raised a challenging question. Since it seemed as if I was supporting Obama, she asked, what do I say to Republicans in my audience?

The first thing that came to mind was, "I am so sorry for your loss." I wasn't necessarily talking about the Republicans losing the election this year. They can still win it by activating the base - fear, prejudice, arrogant ignorance, the basest instincts of the body politic. And of course, they can win it if they use their energy - what the Chinese call ch'i - to keep voters from going to the polls, or keep votes from being counted fairly. Ch'i ting, it is called.

The sad loss I refer to goes far deeper than one election. The loss is, the party of Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Eisenhower and Barry Goldwater has become the party of Bush, Cheney, McCain and Sarah Palin. The Republicans who ended slavery, started conservation, warned against the military industrial complex, and reminded us that free people don't need a police state to protect them, are all no doubt flipping in their crypts right now.

So let's not mistake what my friend Caroline Casey calls the "toxic mimic" of conservatism for the real thing. At a time when there is plenty of heat and not enough light, it's important to acknowledge why thinking and caring Americans have voted Republican in the past:

  1. They support fiscal fitness and financial responsibility.
  2. They recognize the negative impact over-regulation and bureaucracy has had on small business owners.
  3. They appreciate business as a "bottom line" where people must show up and produce results daily, whereas so many social critics enjoy what a friend of mine used to call "the leisure of the theory class."
  4. They reject the habit of throwing money at social problems rather than calling for individual responsibility. (After all, as Swami says, "the leading cause of welfare mothers is farewell fathers.")
  5. They understand the need for a strong defense to protect our country.
  6. They are dismayed at unraveling social structures and disappearing moral values.
  7. They see the folly of perpetuating handicaps by "coddling" the underprivileged out of guilt rather than calling forth their highest abilities.
  8. They are concerned that criticism of America has become distorted into hatred of America, and that those who have given life and limb to defend this country have been disrespected.

As Teddy Roosevelt, who emphasized conserving our natural resources, and Barry Goldwater, who emphasized conserving our Constitutional protections clearly demonstrated, conservatism has a higher octave. It was significant, however, that when a descendant of Teddy Roosevelt spoke to the 2000 Republican convention about environmentalism, he was laughed at, booed and otherwise disrespected. Even more significantly, the Bush Administration has perpetrated the greatest theft of individual liberties and Constitutional protection in American history. And in contrast to the clich├ęd "tax and spend Democrats," we have had eight years of "borrow and spend Republicans," who have come far closer to bankrupting America than any Democratic administration ever has.

This "devolution" where Republicans became Banana Republicans seemingly determined to turn our prosperous and free country into just another banana republic, likely began with the disgraced Nixon Administration. But the "plumbers" Nixon employed had nothing on those who would plumb the depths of fear and distortion to make sure that the interests of the few would triumph over the good of the many. The politics of "activating the base" came into full "flower" when Ronald Reagan launched his presidential campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi, the town where three civil rights workers had been murdered just sixteen years earlier. Thanks to what was termed the "southern strategy" where the "Great Communicator" seemed to give a wink and nod to the white folks who allowed those murders to take place, our entire political discourse has gone south.

Then came Lee Atwater, George Bush, Sr.'s campaign manager in 1988, with the Willie Horton ads which insinuated that Democratic candidate Dukakis, while governor of Massachusetts, was responsible for the furlough of a convicted felon who escaped and committed rape and assault. Atwater, incidentally, publicly apologized before his death from a brain tumor. But that didn't stop Karl Rove, and the young Rovian wannabes seeking to employ their machiavellian skills to toxify the body politic.

You can see these people on Fox News (as you numerologists may know, and you Revelations revelers may not, in numerology F-O-X = 6-6-6), who simply keep on lying. Sad to say, but in perverse paradox the current Republican Party's greatest asset is their lie-ability. Even worse -- if that's possible -- they extend the lies by accusing their opponents of doing the same thing they've been doing. The big story on Newsmax, the conservative news service, is how Obama plans to steal the election.

We have been so inundated with lies -- under the cover of the pervasive, media-reinforced belief that "all politicians lie" -- that we the body politic seem to have lost our bearings and our discernment. We no longer know who is lying and who is telling the truth. It's easier to assume they're all lying and let it go at that. We no longer recognize functionality, a rare trait that has nearly disappeared from the political scene. But it is precisely that functionality that can and will get us from where we are now to where we need to go.

Functionality: The Bridge From the Ideal to the Real Deal

There is a certain "safety" in being an idealist. Up in the ivory tower of some perfected reality, one can imagine a better world and dream what it might be like to live there. On the positive side, there can be no transformation without first imagining it. The downside, however, is to be so enamored of how things could be that we miss the opportunity to build a reality bridge from here to there (or perhaps, more accurately, from there to here).

Whether we tend toward spiritual idealism, economic idealism or political idealism, each of us must face the "messy" day-to-day reality of a world undergoing upheaval (not to mention, "downheaval"). Thanks to obsolete belief systems -- both religious and materialistic -- far too many of us dwell in one world or the other. Either we are "hopium addicts" wishing that some force outside ourselves would cause the world to conform to our dreams, or we are "cynical realists" who refuse to dream at all. Either polarity is a recipe for impotence.

We now have the opportunity to take an evolutionary step forward, not to immediately inhabit a perfect world but merely to begin to build a better one. Think of it this way. Imagine you are having a serious health challenge. You are given two choices. First choice is to continue doing pretty much what you've been doing, facing the prospects of things getting worse before they get better -- and the possibility they might not get better at all. The other would be to change course in the direction of taking a small yet definite step towards health.

Which would you choose?

Hint # 1. A friend who is an ayurvedic physician once told me that the purpose of ayurvedic medicine is to reverse a downward trend in health before the patient hits bottom.

Hint # 2. Swami Beyondananda has said, "I'd rather have positive change in small increments than negative change in large excrements."

Those who insist on the "it needs to get worse before it gets better" approach to world affairs, should ask themselves if they would take that approach regarding their own personal health. If the answer is no, why would you wish this on your fellow Americans and the world?

In my journey writing a book with Bruce Lipton on humanity's evolutionary destiny, I have been immersed in the ideal. I've been awed at the intelligence of nature and our cells. I've been able to envision both a political and economic system where we "embody" this wisdom through the understanding that we are each and all cells in the body of humanity. The upcoming book has a title: Spontaneous Evolution.

It also has a subtitle: "Our Positive Future and How to Get There From Here." Given the real challenges we face as individuals, as communities, as a humanity and as a world, what a waste of time it would be to paint a compelling picture of the ideal destination, without offering the real deal pathways.

The way we live into that healthier world is by making healthy choices, here and now, one choice at a time. Each healthy choice -- however small -- builds health, and increases the possibilities for health in our future. This works politically, as well as individually.

Consider the "small" change we collectively made two years ago. By a relatively slim margin, the Democrats gained control of both Houses of Congress. While many progressives complain of lack of progress despite Democratic Party control, this slight shift to the left had two positive effects. First, it slowed the momentum toward the worst case scenarios. As one small blessing, the bombing of Iran that has been talked about and predicted for two years for some reason hasn't materialized. Could it be that this small change has provided at least a small check on unlimited power?

The second change might be less visible and yet more significant. The collective "field" called the body politic of America shifted its weight toward a Democratic majority in Congress, and by doing so asserted its preference not to live under fascist rule. This collective unconscious decision in no way stopped the plans of those in power to establish totalitarianism as the only way to secure their own dominance. As we will see shortly, this is an undeniable tendency and choice that must be dealt with.

But by making the collective choice to disempower the powerful abusers currently in power, an entirely new set of possibilities has been set in motion -- including the unlikely candidacy of Barack Obama. In my opinion, he was able to best frontrunner Hillary Clinton for one reason, and one reason alone: He is attuned with the evolutionary essence of the times.

Hillary spoke of "me," Obama of "we." In a recent speech, Obama reiterated the evolutionary credo Bruce Lipton and I extrapolated from the highly-successful, highly-functional cellular community beneath our skin: "We're all in it together."

You might say, "So what? Talk is cheap." Maybe so, but talk determines how we think. As linguist and political theorist George Lakoff says in his excellent new book, The Political Mind, language reinforces the "mind fields" that determine collective belief and behavior. Lakoff maintains that when issues are woven together into a coherent "story" (as the Republicans have done over the past decade), each of the individual issues are reinforced and solidify into a political philosophy.

The theme "we're all in it together" ties together all of the disparate progressive planks of environmentalism, health care, social justice, and protection of the nurturer rather than the predator. Now confirmed by science as the operating system for cells, organs, organisms and environments, it echoes the nugget of gold underneath every religious, spiritual and ethical system: Some version of the Golden Rule.

While conservatives are rightly wary of those who would take advantage of a benevolent community (in much the same way our body maintains a strong immune system), the protection system must serve life, rather than the other way around. As an example, consider the egg. The shell protects the precious contents inside, and yet the shell must break if we are to have any chickens. Ultimately, life rules. Structure is secondary, and must yield to life moving forward. It serves life, and serves at the "pleasure" of life.

The most recent regime, the culmination of 5,000 years of "lowest common dominator" domination, preserves structure above all else. Thus, the military becomes an end, not a means. As Lakoff -- again, brilliantly -- points out, "the war on terror" is a more benign name for "war never-ending." It is in institutionalizing war as a way of being that this Administration, and those following in its stealthy footsteps, take us down the inevitable track of totalitarian control.

Perhaps this is why at least two notable conservatives, Chris Buckley (William F. Buckley's son) and Frank Schaeffer, one of the founders of the Religious Right, are supporting Obama. Are they deluded? "Traitors" to their cause? Read what they have to say, and then you decide. What they seem to recognize in Obama is a genuine conservative character trait, functionality.

Even Christopher Hitchens, Vanity Fair's prickly commentator who has supported George Bush's war on radical Islam, has endorsed Obama, as has hippie-turned-Republican Dennis Hopper.

Besides Deepak Chopra, dozens of other spiritual teachers and thought leaders have stepped out from behind the polite wall of impartiality and declared that Obama represents the next functional step in a livable world.

Not one of these endorsements asserts that Barack Obama is some kind of messiah. Quite the opposite. Every one of the endorsements I've read is carefully qualified, because the intelligent understanding is that in this next phase of evolution, we the people must become the primary enlightened power. This "we the people" is not some self-serving mob nudging for a snack at the pork barrel trough, but rather represents the functional understanding that a world where "we're all in it together" is a better world for all.

As a critical mass of us begin to understand, accept and live from the contention that we are each and all cells in the body of humanity, we recognize that just as a healthy body must have a healthy and coherent central voice, so the body of humanity must at times "speak as one." This is one of those times.

Yes, we have a number of worthy candidates running on third, fourth and fifth party tickets who represent truth and integrity. None of them can or will win this time. Come January, either McCain-Palin or Barack Obama will take office. Which of these two is most likely to take us towards a field of healthy possibilities?

You might rightly ask, "Isn't Barack Obama in bed with the likes of Zbigniew Brzezinski, and the same power structure George Bush is part of?" Yes and no. Paradoxically, part of being functional is being part of the empire. The empire exists. It has untold power over the masses. However, I believe that inside this empire -- as is true in every institution, from corporations to schools to the military -- there are healthy forces, and harmful forces.

Were we to dismiss empire completely, then we blow up any bridge from here to anywhere else because we write off any allies we have on the "inside." As anyone familiar with the empire's formidable power will understand, this transformation cannot occur without functional forces everywhere stepping up to face the real problems we have with the full force of all our resources, intelligence and spiritual fortitude.

What I refer to as "functionality" is not about forcing an unworkable system to work, but rather represents the evolutionary awareness we most desperately need. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, "functional" means "... contributing to the development or maintenance of a larger whole." That larger whole in this case is the newly-emerging organism we call "humanity."

If ever there were a time to put ideology aside and focus primarily on moving in a direction that provides new and healthy possibilities, this is it. Perhaps this is why avowed lifelong Republicans have shifted their support to Obama. And perhaps it is why those who believe Obama "isn't progressive enough" might considering doing the same.

Finally, if we are to live into this new organism called humanity, we might use this election as a practice to "throw our weight around." Again, let's be clear. Voting for Obama -- and even for a Democratic majority in Congress -- has very little to do with supporting the Democrats. The Democratic Party has shown itself no more deserving of our support than the Republicans have.

However, context is everything. And if we define the context of this election as "A Mandate for Political Climate Change," then we shift the usual paradigm of the Democratic Party using us, to us using them -- as a vehicle to restore the power of we the people. An overwhelming, decisive landslide victory for Obama will tell America and the world that there is an appetite for something new. It indicates that we have the courage to move forward, and are willing to move past the fear-based tugs that take us backward.

There are some exciting "transpartisan" projects on the near horizon that will facilitate communication across the "red-blue divide," and will coalesce a force of those willing to move past right and left to come front and center to face our real problems as "adults of God." Having a functional, solution-seeking regime in charge will only help.

But there is one more very important thing to deal with, perhaps the most important thing of all. In order to truly impact the "inside-the-matrix" electoral politics, we must face and understand the "outside-the-matrix" forces influencing behind the scenes. These are the scary places that include election fraud (the real stuff, not the things ACORN is being accused of), the big payoff to the financial industry at our expense, and the very real threat of martial law in America. Yes, people tend to throw up a wall and say, "I don't want to go there."

Well folks, it's too late. "There" has already come "here." Fortunately, the "awful truth" comes with a ready-made "awesome opportunity."

Facing Down the Fear by Facing Up to Love

When Franklin D. Roosevelt said "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself," he wasn't just whistling "God Bless America." Well before science discovered that a state of fear makes us less intelligent and more easily manipulated, FDR recognized that in times of crisis we need all our resources.

In contrast, everything about the McCain-Palin campaign -- including the selection of Palin herself -- reeks of "stupidization", fear-mongering and heavy-handed manipulation. That is why a resounding vote of no confidence in the bankrupt and bankrupting Republican hegemony is the first step toward reinstating truth, justice and responsible freedom.

However, as we stand on the threshold of this great potential victory, the hobgoblins of fear are everywhere. And what is even worse, these fears are grounded in reality. We have the twin Naomis -- Naomi Klein warning of us about "disaster capitalism" that simultaneously creates and profits from disaster, and Naomi Wolf alerting us to the dangers of a fascist infrastructure already in place just in case we get too riled up about what the other Naomi is talking about. As if to reinforce Wolf's dire warning, there are now reports that military brigades have been empowered to quell domestic unrest.

In regards to what might happen on election Day, we have people like Mark Crispin Miller, who has been writing about election fraud since before the 2004 election. Miller has gone from perceived "crank" to visionary prophet, as others including Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and Greg Palast have offered startlingly disturbing evidence of electile dysfunction, and fortunately have issued a booklet on what you can do about it.

And that doesn't even scratch the surface of other perpetrations, ranging from the recent billionaire bailout plan to the questionable official story of what happened on 9/11. And while there's small percentage of people who seem to live and thrive in the netherworld of dark doings, most of us run like crazy (or like "sane") from the shadow side of politics. Sometimes it takes the darkly comic form of an actual quote I heard a few years ago. When confronted with a documented perpetration by the Bush regime, one woman protested, "Well, it may be true, but I don't believe it."

At a time when awakening is required, fear and denial are two self-imposed obstacles. Which brings up the question, how do we remain steadfast in our vision, mission and intention when the forces of darkness are mobilizing for one last big push?

A powerful clue comes from anthropologist Angeles Arrien, who has worked with indigenous tribes across the globe. She relates her experience with one group, who typically share their dreams upon awakening each day. When the dream is one of good fortune, those present shout out their version of "amen": "That's a healing story!"

When the dream related is a bad dream, the chorus is, "And that's a story that doesn't have to happen."

What a simple yet powerful acknowledgment of an awful truth in the context of awesome opportunity, using love, courage and intention to overcome fear. Consider how easily we can be manipulated or intimidated by some unspoken fear. Then consider how speaking it becomes the first step towards "overgrowing" it. The way we "face down" these toxic possibilities is by "facing up" together in a space of love and clarity: That's a story that doesn't have to happen

There are those who are frustrated that the move for impeachment, the prosecution of the current administration for war crimes, an investigation of the inconsistencies in the official 9/11 story have barely moved forward. There is a good reason for this. The body politic does not yet have the container of love, compassion, health and sanity to "metabolize" these and other political toxins that have accumulated over centuries. Those of us who can simultaneously hold "the awful truth" and the "awesome opportunity" are the leaders of this new spiritual evolution that will help heal the past and design the future.

We now have that mandate for political climate change, a change that recognizes we are all cells in the body of humanity. As candidate Barack Obama said earlier this week, "If we've learned anything from this financial crisis, it's that we're all connected -- black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, young and old are all together, and we will rise or fall as one nation, as one people. That is why I am running for President."

At a time where we've too sadly learned to mistrust our own judgment, maybe it's time we took the man at his word, and affirmed the "mandate." Actually, one man, two dates. First date is Election Day, November 4th. If all goes well on the first date, we the people get a second date, Inaugural Day on January 20th.

It's about time we had a functional political relationship. Imagine...a President who IS the leader for we the people instead of they the corporations, and who can inspire the sane, healthy, and functional elements all across the political spectrum. Now that's a healing story!

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John Munter said...

brilliant and comprehensive analysis, but I hope you will address someday the 'land war in asia' obombma is intent on fomenting against a million waziristanis looking for an excuse for jihad...not to mention holding hands with the Israeli's promising to nuke Iran at any moment...collaborating with war crimes should give pause, not paws.
--John Munter
Warba, MN

Anonymous said...

I started supporting Obama 18 months ago after reading his books/Dreams from My father and Audacity of Hope.You have articulated so many of my perceptions. We the people must be active in our responsiblities. I have volunteered at the Colorado Obama office and am encouraged by the expressed values of the staff and volunteers. We are in this together and I hope for Peace in my lifetime. (I am 71 years young.)

Eileen Hale said...

Heyhey. A very belated comment.

First, a very minor matter - the variety of typefaces and sizes in this article seems distracting, and I suspect many of us would appreciate articles using just one or two fonts. If you fix this, no one will know what I'm talking about, but that's okay.

Second, and more importantly, I really appreciate your list of valuable Republican values. I think we all have things to say to each other, and I like starting to get to know what they might be.

Third, your attempts to "respectfully address some of what was perceived as insulting to conservatives" - which I hope had some success - bring to my mind a process I feel very enthusiastically about: Sharon Ellison's Powerful Non-Defensive Communication (PNDC).

A number of guestbook signers have mentioned NVC, Marshall Rosenberg's program. I belief this has some value, and I certainly want to see people learn and use anything that works, to make it easier for us to talk to each other. At the same time, I believe that there are significant limitations and flaws in NVC, and that PNDC offers a much clearer, more complete and more effective paradigm and process for non-defensive communication than NVC. To me, the paradigm of PNDC is at the same time more radical and simpler than that of NVC.

I would love to see advocates of NVC look into PNDC, and see what they think; and I'd love to see people unfamiliar with either process check out PNDC. In any case, being able to talk to our "enemies" as if they have something valuable to say, and are people of good intention (like us) (and they do have valuable things to say, I'm sure), is something that means a lot to me. I see you treating issues with clarity and humor, and goodwill as well as honesty, and I highly value that about your writing and speaking.

XXX Eileen