Monday, November 23, 2009

Political divide

As a Nation, we have allowed ourselves to be divided along political lines to the point that debate has been replaced by hateful rhetoric. Once we identify ourselves with a particular ideology we often select the information sources that reinforce the idea that the “other” side is just plain wrong. We stop looking deeply at issues believing that the information we gather through so called news services lets us stay current on the events of the day.

This fact is well understood by our political leaders who work hard to perpetuate this division allowing them to stop short of providing the facts behind their actions. Political protests on both sides’ highlights the fact that this division brings out a vitriolic hatred for anyone with opposing views and we spend our days mired in hatred rather than the facts of an issue.

I have purposely not spoken about political issues here because it would take away from the message of the blog. Those who know me also know that I am deeply involved in the political process. This is why this blog has been somewhat neglected recently. Being positive and political at the same time is a difficult balance. It is not a balance I have mastered.

The mission of my political work is to bring people together to dialog about the issues that are important to each of us whether we realize it or not. Only by putting partisan hatred aside and beginning to speak and listen to each other will we be able to understand what is happening while we argue. There are destructive forces at work in the halls of the World’s governments which have nothing to do with Democrats and Republicans.

Do your best to look at every issue carefully and resist the temptation to draw a conclusion based on a letter following a person’s name. This message is not always well received when I speak but I know that as individuals, we are a lot more alike than different. Most of us want the best for all, leaving us the choice to remain mired in hatred or opening our minds to find common ground. The answers do not come from government, it comes from us. Propaganda that fits our ideals is still propaganda.

10 comments:

Carole Anne Carr said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carole Anne Carr said...

On local radio last week, comment about the greed of our politicians, the speaker expecting lots of support, I sent a text that if we were working in Parliament most of us would probably have done the same....his next comment was about the weather.....

YogaforCynics said...

In trying to deal with my own anger in recent years, I tend to struggle most with what might be called "political anger." Whereas letting go of anger toward loved ones who made mistakes or someone who beat me up thirty years ago, or myself for not living up to my idle dreams makes perfect sense, I tend to think that anger over big issues, often involving the lives or deaths of millions is different, because "those things really matter." But, then, I think, "how is my rage helping? Am I really making the world a better place by ranting and raving, yelling insults, or having violent fantasies about the political figures I hate getting theirs?" Of course not. The way to make any positive change has got to involve letting go of all that rage, seeing as clearly as possible, and acting in as thoughtful a manner as possible, which generally involves a certain openness and compassion towards those who think differently. Ah, but so much easier said than done...

Sean Robsville said...

Of all the forms of attachment, attachment to ideology is by far the most dangerous. It is vastly more damaging than greed or lust.

A few fanatical ideologues like Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot have probably killed more people than all the robber barons in history.

WR said...

There is something that runs deep in we humans that wants to believe in some certain truth. Lately the desire for that 'truth' has led to hateful public discourse. Perhaps it is a throw back to some other tribal time? Can we have strong verbiage without drowning in our various political ideologies? Compromise while uncomfortable is undoubtedly a necessary component of a civilization and political system that is going to survive. And compromise is probably why the law deals with remedy not justice. Our society may need to decide if being right is more important than enduring...

dcrelief said...

Very well said! I agree and support your perspective. Thank you.

pragmatic buffalo said...

Has Buddhism experienced any Seperation of Church and state bannings like Christianity and Judiasm? It seems some religons like new age are acceptable to the courts and the ACLE and not christianity.

Lorem Ipsum said...

It must be an interesting balance, attempting to work in the political arena while pursuing your practice. You highlight the adversarial (dualistic) nature of political debate as the blinkers before our eyes. When will we all wake up?

Count Sneaky said...

Excellent commentary. Technology does ot brng us closer together, but further apart making our ideological divides more obvious and enabling groups to vent their hostilities without coming face to face with another. It enables propogand to be far more widespread and dangerous because the technology itself is beguiling. We are becoming more divided every day by this ability to divide that we are now possessed by.

The Buddhist Conservative said...

It has been a busy time for me but I want to respond to everyone who has commented.

@Carole,
Many people go into politics with good intentions only to be corrupted by the process. When voters stop paying attention to the issues, we become victims of the policies enacted in the name of political expedience.

@YogaforCynics
The reason I became involved in the political process again after many years of being away is exactly what you are talking about. Most of the political dialog is anger based which keeps us arguing amongst each other rather than looking at the issues. This is by design, used to mask the real agendas behind the rhetoric of political divide. Rage is not the answer. To make a difference, we have to become involved and look at each issue carefully before deciding how to cast our votes.

It is much easier said than done.

@Sean,
Once we identify with a specific political ideology, we can become victims of carefully crafted arguments that make us believe that we must blindly follow the champions of the ideal. Attachment leads to narrow vision to the real issues.

@WR

I hope we can get past the hate and work together for the common good. I have been working with groups of every political persuasion in an effort to find common ground on the issues that affect us all. We are so much more alike than different.

@Dixie,

Your support means a lot to me. Through our struggles, we can find the sense of community we seem to have lost.

@Pragmatic Buffalo,

I believe that the separation of church and state is nothing more than a smokescreen used to stifle opposing views. Buddhism for the moment has not drawn the ire of the separation movement because it is not seen as a threat to the Progressive agenda. America was founded on the principle of religious freedom and it is a tragedy that we are taking sides as to what is an acceptable and what is not and acceptable religion. The real argument is not about religion, it is about a grab for power sadly.

@Lorem Ipsum
I hope we can all wake up soon. I struggle each day with the balance between political activism and my practice. It would be far easier to just let the world turn but I see too many things happening that are destroying individual spirit which will prevent future generations from enjoying the blessings I have had throughout my life. Some days are better than others :)

@Count Sneaky,
Well said. Technology has brought us many wonderful things but the fact we do not need to interact on a personal level creates a real danger as hate is used as a substitute for debate. I don't know when we lost the ability to disagree on some things yet work together for the common good. I hope we can find a way to get it back.