Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Spiritual Politics

Can Obama save us or are we doomed to disaster?

Neither of these questions will get us anywhere, yet most of the news commentaries attempt to answer one of these or a related question, such as "What is Obama going to do to save us?" and "Can he, will he, do enough?"

All these questions come from a fearful perspective: There is a huge problem out there that is too big to face ourselves, so we need to find the right person to do the job, or protect ourselves from the looming disaster.

We seem to forget that Obama was elected President because a majority of the voting population voted for him. He did not "save" the election, nor did he "crumble" under the pressure of the enormous work of the campaign. He could not have won without over 50% of the voting population voting for him.

The solution was part of the beginning

Barack and Michelle laid out the solution to this issue at the same time he declared his candidacy.

They were willing to enter the race for the Presidency on a set of ideas, and if we, the public, liked these ideas and supported them, the Obama's would devote themselves to leading the way, being spokespersons for these ideas. And if enough of us shared and supported these ideas, then the election would be won and we would have an opportunity to bring these ideas to life. The clarity of this message was the core integrity of the campaign. Now it is time to live the ideas.

He also said that the election was not for or about him, but about us, the direction of our nation and our role in the global community. He is not doing this so that we can all retire on a government pension, but so that we can together turn the nation and our individual lives toward a governing system that will address the needs of the times we are in and a prosperous future for all.

Barack cannot save the country

Barack can't save the country, but he can demonstrate qualities of leadership that inspire good solutions and allow those solutions to be implemented.

This is what he did throughout his campaign. And it was enough to win the election.

The fact that Barack was elected based on the demonstration of leadership qualities, not on how well he demeaned his opponent, further reveals that more than half of the voting population sees and appreciates these qualities.

If we can see these qualities, we can live them. And this is how the country will solve our problems and get on a track to sustainable prosperity. We voted because we liked the ideas that were being communicated, now we "vote" by letting the essence of those ideas guide our individual lives and choices.

The qualities of good leadership are not limited to Barack, they are available to all. He is modeling them for us. He will help institute a system that allows these qualities to be expressed. He is already doing that by choosing thoughtful, intelligent, non-ideological individuals onto his team.

What are these qualities?

Any of us can turn our attention to identifying the core issue of a situation rather than looking for whom to blame. Any of us can listen for a good idea from a variety of intelligent and loving sources, rather than reacting hastily to an apparent urgency. Any of us can recognize the right solution for each issue, one-by-one, instead of trying to get what we want, protect ourselves, or to promote an idea that is politically motivated.

But we, individual private citizens, do not face decisions that will affect the whole country
While that is true, it is also true that every decision, every choice has a ripple effect beyond what is seen. All Barack and Michelle need to do is to continue to make thoughtful choices based on the issues. And all we need to do is the same. As large and small issues, at all levels of life, get addressed with love, intelligence, clarity and a sincere motivation to discover good solutions, our nation will be prosperous again.

What are these ideas that we can all live by?

- Focus on issues, not personalities
- Listen open-mindedly to an array of sources for thoughtful, intelligent ideas that will work
- Discern the idea that is a good solution the issue - not what we want, not what's politically or socially correct

What makes this Spiritual Politics?
Spiritual means "of spirit," in other words, non-material and non-physical. It refers to the realm of existence that we can be aware of, yet is not discerned through the five senses. This realm is most easily recognized through our capacity to be aware of the qualities of consciousness that govern individual activities. It is sometimes referred to as an individuals "presence." Presence is the quality of being that is expressed through words and actions. So, "spiritual politics" refers to the qualities of being that support an open, responsive governing body. This is not something that can be enforced, legislated, contracted or negotiated. It is something we can see and respond to. It is something we can pay attention to as part of a governed body. It is something we can individually seek to purify within our own consciousness.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Is Traditional Politics Dead?

We Americans are a selfish bunch often becoming "patriotic" only when it helps our pocketbook.

Our vote has become a self interest vote which is part of democracy's strength and also part of its weakness. The poor vote one way and the rich another; the poor vote hoping to get a free piece and the rich vote to keep all of their pieces and not have to share any. Or something like that.

The undecided straddling the middle cast the swing votes; they hope to give a little and get a little and not take too big of an overall hit.

The neither rich nor poor get caught square in the middle or "middle class" as it is often called. The Twilight Zone might be a more appropriate name.

For example. When a politician promises to create jobs they neglect to tell their uninformed electorate that government does not and cannot create jobs. Taxing Peter to "create" a job for Paul is not job creation but a form of legalized theft.

It's called bad government and it's not what government does well and it is simply untrue to say that it does.

Entrepreneurs create jobs.

Government can only create and maintain the economic conditions that help entrepreneurs create jobs.

What we don't hear are politicians encouraging entrepreneurs; politicians just increase the cost of doing business. Subsequently entrepreneurs usually see government as setting up obstacles rather than creating positive economic conditions. Is this surprising?

So when politicians tell you bad trade agreements are responsible for your company going bankrupt and your losing your job, they are fooling the foolish.

An uninformed electorate is supposedly a bad electorate but opportunist politicos love it when voters are not able to think and reason for themselves.

Or just don't know.

In this air of non-traditional patriotism stockholders and industry want a bail out when things fail. Bankrupt homeowners want a bail out when they speculate and lose. The educational system wants more money yet continues to be out of step with the educational needs of a modern, technological society.

Are you better off now than four years ago? The question implies that if you aren't better off now you can vote for Politician X and that will change. Like it or not, the truth of the matter is that government has become increasingly irrelevant in the modern world.

The two meaningful parties in the U.S. have the electorate fooled into thinking we are fighting for our very own selfish interests. What they neglect to say is the pact they have with each other is commonly called "gridlock" and is somehow supposed to represent our best interests, checks and balances and all that good stuff. Really?

The liberal lie is "You can have a bigger slice of the pie if you vote for me." The conservative lie is "let's not change anything because that way we benefit the most and above all else we don't want to give that up that relative status."

Neither side is very willing to help the general populace as they are already committed to helping their own focused support base. That is how they raise money, get elected and the turn the proverbial worm.

Of course as societies become self-centered and greedy they become weak, corrupt and hasten their own downfall. We may not want to believe this depressing news but there has never been an example otherwise.

But the politicians simply don't care as seen by their actions. Theirs is a short term vision just as the CEO's is for the next quarter. The only time the politicos ever go into the factories and machine shops and diners is at election time.

What we have created is a gridlocked, cultural sporting event compromise instead of looking at what is best for America. This is what we wanted; should we be surprised we have gotten it?

What America needs is not the false hope of a government induced comfort zone but a government that challenges its electorate and creates opportunities for all to do better. Doing better is what America does best or at least in the traditional sense of patriotism.

But we get what we deserve and we deserve some of the politicians we get. Those politicians like to keep us confused.

Shame on all those politicians. But bigger shame on us. We can clearly see that social evolution has exceeded government's and politics' ability to respond. By nature government and politicians are reactive and not strategic.

And in a rapidly changing world increasingly irrelevant.