“Come to the edge, he said. They said: We are afraid. Come to the edge, he said. They came. He pushed them and they flew.” Guillaume Apollinaire (French poet and critic who helped to direct poetry into unexplored channels, 1880-1918)
I’ve been reluctant to bring politics into the Virtual Tea House for a couple of reasons:
- engagement of our spirituality is beyond political uptakes
- there’s nothing like politics to draw the circle closer rather than making it ‘ever wider’
However, in meditation last week, there was a strong urge to post my political leanings in their context, here on the VTH.
First, I am a registered independent. Growing up in a rabidly Republican, right-wing home (my mother was a member of the John Birch Society), I remember being about 8 when the thought first crossed my mind around the dinner table where slurs,innuendoes and conspiracy theories were flying, that there had to be a better way. As I went through adolescence in the 70′s, even though attending parochial schools, my thoughts and questions ranged far and wide, and although it didn’t feel safe to confront some of the prejudice and mistrust of ‘the other’ that comprised the sea in which I swam, I confronted the issues internally.
As a young adult, facing the wrath of my father who stayed true to his chosen party’s lines, I became an independent, not for lack of wanting to make a decision, but from a space of wanting to be open to the best that all parties offer.
I have not changed my party affiliation.
I believe that the McCain/Palin ticket is one that if elected, will not bring us out of the darkness that we’re facing down, standing on the edge of the abyss. I do not believe they individually or together have the wisdom to deal with the large issues at stake.
I do not know if Obama and Biden can have an impact on the ‘tightening of the screws’, but there is some small hope that they can. Obama has not voiced a plan, nor has he been asked, how he will deal with the looming issues at stake, from my perspective. I’d like to ask him:
- how will you and your government deal with the GLOBAL issues of poverty?
- how will you and your government deal with the GLOBAL issues of the western world’s entitled reign of resources to the poverty-making of much of the third world?
- how will you and your government deal with the fear that is at the heart of the war on terror: the real issues being ones of economic and religious improprieties so severe that if any other country would have committed them, the US would have immediately waged war on them?
- how will you and your government deal with the very real crisis of healthcare that is not a make-shift band-aid for a system that is so very, very broken?
- how will you and your government deal with a world that is losing its stability on so many levels: water (too much or not enough); ice (not enough); gasoline (too much for a long time and now in crisis of supply); and most importantly, a colossal loss of confidence in the US government, both internally and externally, that would have toppled a dictator long ago?
But even though these issues would be political suicide to deal with openly, my hope and prayer is that Senator Obama has the heart, the insight, sage advice and the ultimate political will to deal with them head-on once elected.
The attacks on Obama of the last few days/weeks are appalling and are stomach-punches to those of us who believe that we really are at the edge of an abyss unlike anything we’ve encountered or even can fathom.
The engagement of spirituality sometimes means staying still while others flail, as a still-point. Sometimes it entails standing up and speaking your truth, and flailing around a little oneself.
The really hard part is that I think that jumping off the cliff or being pushed are the only ways through the crisis we are in. Maybe we’re already falling–it feels that way. And the ending of the structures, including political, religious and economic may be the only solution: we have to start over. So voting for hope may entail knowing that it all has to fall apart to be made new again. That we really are in a Kali phase of existence and that only death and destruction of all that we have clung to, attached to, will bring new life. I don’t know. But I do know that the call for banding together as community is making itself ever louder and clearer. We may already be flying, or ready to hit hard, but banding together, to stay awake during the chill and the darkness is what the call is about.
Stay together, friends. Don’t scatter and sleep. Our friendship is made out of staying awake– Rumi
That gentle giant, Garrison Keillor, has made his wisdom public in an October 9, 2008 editorial at the International Herald Tribune (global edition of the New York Times). His clear eyed statement gave me the courage to state mine. I hope that in so doing, readers of this blog will not turn away if you disagree. Please comment, argue, cringe. But please don’t turn away.
From the Talmud:
“Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief.
Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now.
You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.”
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