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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sometimes, it’s when all hope is seemingly lost that the greatest breakthroughs occur in life. Whatever forces us to recognize the limit to what we can do by ourselves, opens the mind to consider the possibility that there might be another way. When everything is all messed up, we’ve played all your cards, and we don’t have a clue what to do now – that often becomes a magic moment. Commonly called “bottoming out,” it’s the point when we realize that our way isn’t working – and then miraculously, things start working.
Nations can bottom out, just like individuals. And the situation in Iraq is just such a moment. You know the government is running out of cards to play when they’re thinking maybe Iran can help. Or when the media’s idea of great coverage is to call and ask the people who got us into Iraq for any great ideas they might have now that it’s all exploded in our faces. To say we’re grasping for straws is an understatement. Looking at the power of ISIS leads to horrifying possibilities that make the most different people, from the most disparate places and viewpoints, all ultimately come to the same conclusion: “We seriously have a problem here.”
So what now?
From a spiritual perspective, the first thing we all do is to admit that the situation is not solvable by the mortal mind alone. That admission is both death to the ego and birth of the wiser self. It puts us into a different place of consciousness, a more humble attitude that doesn’t make us dumber – it makes us smarter. It moves us beyond that small number of brain cells that we’re currently using, taking the evolutionary leap that is the challenge of humanity at this moment – to realize that the human species will not survive unless we evolve beyond our material, mechanistic, Newtonian notion of how the universe operates. Our task is to embrace the primacy of consciousness as both the reality and the power that it is. There is more to the mind than the intellect, and the intellect alone can’t solve every problem. This is not bad news; it's good.
Next, we move, en masse, into the level of consciousness that is the deeper Reality underlying all things, a self-organizing and self-correcting matrix of energy (some call it God, some do not) that is the natural intelligence of the universe. It is the mysterious guidance by which embryos become babies, acorns become oak trees and buds become blossoms. Our self-will only interferes with this intelligence; our lack of love obstructs it; prayer and meditation release it to work on our behalf.
As we can see from simply looking at a flower, nature knows how to organize itself. And this same force would organize human affairs if we would allow it to. This allowance occurs whenever we place our minds in correct alignment with the laws of the universe. Until we do this, we will continue to manifest a world that destroys rather than heals itself. Iraq is a perfect example.
Participating in the creation of collective field of prayer and meditation is something that each of us can do to help end the cycle of violence in the Middle East. Taking the mind to its natural state of alignment with the Truth at the center of things, these activities of the mind act like a magnet to attract the healing potential inherent in the universe. In the words of Martin Luther King, internal changes in the direction of non-violence are “materially passive but spiritually active.” There are, in that field of collective meditative/prayerful consciousness, infinite possibilities that the conscious mind can simply not formulate.
What is the conceit that this time in history is calling us to surrender? It is the notion that the conscious, mortal, intellectual mind can be trusted to rule and organize all things. Given the state of affairs on the planet today, it is preposterous to think this. As they would say in Alcoholics Anonymous, “Our best thinking got us here.”
A study published in the Yale Journal of Conflict Resolution in l985 reported on a group of advanced meditators from the Transcendental Meditation Movement who meditated in Jerusalem in l983 during the height of the Lebanese Civil War. During the summer of 1983, on each day in which there were large numbers of meditators, violence dropped and stayed low for an additional day or so and then went back to its previous levels. The final data revealed that whenever the group of meditators assembled, there was an average of a 76% reduction in war deaths.
Why is this so?
Because on a level of subtle energy, often referred to as the Unified Field Theory, all minds are joined as one. In the words of Candace Badgett, founder of the Women’s Institute at Maharishi University, “War is the result of the build up of stress and negativity in collective consciousness… And it’s consequences are the suffering and resentment that in turn perpetuate retaliation in the form of terrorism, conflict …..and more war.” Breaking this cycle of violence is now within the reach, and the power, of each of us. The more we all do our part to prepare the field, the more creative solutions will be available to world leaders seeking to effectuate external change.
Often in life, collectively and well as individually, we find ourselves confronted by more than problematic events; we find ourselves confronted by a resistant energetic force field that external change of itself does not fundamentally altar. And so it is with the scourge of war. War is not just an external event; it is a field of fear-based consciousness that needs to be addressed on internal as well as external levels. And that will take all of our efforts.
Here are five principles for spiritual activism:
l) Atone in your heart for your own warlike nature – any thoughts or behavior of judgment or attack -- and seek to change your life where necessary.
2) Spend at least five minutes a day in prayer or meditation, knowing you are part of a global field of consciousness at work on the inner planes to bring about world peace.
3) Seek to organize your own community of like-minded individuals to join you in prayer or meditation groups for world peace.
4) If it applies, atone with others for the behavior of your country if it has in the past, or is now, participating in unjust military activity.
5) Practice mercy and compassion towards yourself and others, particularly resisting any temptation to monitor someone else’s journey.
Just as science is seen not as a separate category of life, but rather the material alphabet that explains all external phenomena, so is consciousness the science of the inner life. The field of consciousness today what the scientific revolution was for the late 19th and early 20th century, representing a similar advent of a new frontier. The question today is not how do we convince others that these things are true. Enough of us now know they are. The issue now is how to harness the energy and power of this new understanding, so we can get on with the urgent task of saving our world from the clutches of war and delivering it to fields of unending peace. Visiting these fields within ourselves, we automatically become the source providers of their emergence in the outer world.
It is time. It is possible. It is simply ours to do.
We have a big problem in Iraq: We Really. Really. Really. Screwed up.
The basic scenario we all know, of course. Saddam Hussein, admittedly a bad guy, was also a secularist who kept Al Qaeda and other Islamist fundamentalists out of his country, as well as Iran's dictatorship at bay. With our invasion of Iraq (see Charles Ferguson's extraordinary documentary, No End in Sight) -- to the tune of two trillion dollars, almost 5,000 American lives lost and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives lost - we paved the way for what is happening now. Terrorists too radical even for Al Qaeda have taken over the second largest city in Iraq and seem headed for Baghdad, while Iran is now more of a problem than when Saddam was acting as a buffer.
This entire scenario could have been predicted - in fact it was predicted-- by those arguing against the invasion of Iraq at the time. Such voices were easily marginalized, however, by mainstream media simply toeing the government line about weapons of mass destruction. Government PR lackeys posing as journalists underreported the anti-war effort, painting a picture of those who opposed the war as unsophisticated peaceniks, fuzzy-brained ragamuffin types who simply didn't understand the complicated analysis and profound, wise warnings being touted by the esteemed warmongers in business suits then running our affairs.
The warmongers spoke in well-modulated tones, drowning out the voices of those who were upset by the prospect of innocent people dying for no good reason. There were anti-war protests all over the country but little good they did when basically ignored by the media hacks who capitulated, no-real-questions-asked, to the Administration's Iraqi war plans. I remember Dennis Kucinich saying there would be hand-to-hand combat in Baghdad, and the elite just rolled their eyes. Like really, how ridiculous; did he not know we would be out of there within six weeks?
So here we are. As an Iraqi woman bitterly expressed to me on my radio show a few years ago, "When Saddam and his sons were alive, we knew we had three devils. But we were waiting for them to die, and planning what we would do then. Now, with what has happened, there are devils on every corner." I think about that woman now; the militants who have captured Mosul have declared Shariah law in that city, saying they will do so in every city they capture and shooting on sight anyone refusing to acquiesce.
President Obama and his foreign policy team will decide what to do now. Do we aid the Iraqis against the militants at this point? And if we do, in what way? What if Iraq falls to the fundamentalist insurgents? I don't envy anyone having to decide what to do with the mess we have on our hands now.
Nor do I claim to have any answers on a military level. But I know this: military issues are not the only level of the problem, and they're not the only level of the solution. Nothing the government does now - no action or non-action on its part - will change the fundamental trajectory of national tragedy - and I don't just mean Iraq's - if we, the American people, do not wake up to what has happened here. We have gone from a country that fought World War 2 with a sober understanding of the perils if not the necessities of war, to a country repeatedly prey to the militaristic prowess of a military-industrial-governmental complex we seem to have a hard time recognizing for what it is: often anything but patriotic and often anything but sane.
Like an emotionally addicted lover who will simply not admit that our partner is a narcissist with no capacity for empathy or concern for anyone's needs but their own, the American people have allowed ourselves to be played like a fiddle at the cost of blood and almost unimaginable suffering for hundreds of thousands of people.
This is not just a political problem; it is a psychological one. And until we solve that problem - until we take our house keys back from a sociopathic establishment -- we will continue the tragic dysfunction that has taken us from Vietnam to Iraq, now already evident in heady though blessedly distant drum rolls of the genuinely insane dingaling, "Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran."
The American people have been suckers for decades now, for serious-sounding men and women in business suits spouting nationalistic crap about the necessity of applying brute force in places where it is patently absurd to do so. That crowd of well-dressed liars sent young, brave but surely terrified Americans into an unnecessary and ill-conceived war in Iraq that they planned ten years prior to Bush even being in the White House, while they sipped champagne and kissed each other on the cheek at Washington cocktail parties. They lied about yellowcake uranium, they played Colin Powell like an unsuspecting puppy, and -- oh, did I mention this? -- they and their friends made millions and even billions of dollars by prosecuting that war. According to The Financial Times, Halliburton has earned $39.5 billion on the Iraq War so far.
If karma, or the Law of Cause and Effect, applies to nations as it applies to individuals - and it does - then God help us. And it is time to admit to ourselves the painful truth: that we allowed all this to happen. Too cowed, too busy, too unconcerned - whatever we were - we allowed it to happen in big ways and small, and every individual has to decide for him or herself what he or she might have done differently in the run up to this awful moment. One thing is for sure, however: we as a generation have allowed ourselves to be played. It's hard to admit this, but things will not fundamentally change until we do.
This problem will not be solved by merely changing the political guard in Washington; it will be solved by changing our hearts, waking up as citizens, and taking responsibility for the awful fact that none of this could have happened had we not been far too eager, time and time again, to look the other way while the voices of militarism, warmongering and economic imperialism - simply by manipulating media symbols and our emotions - had their way with us, turning a great nation into fools.
It happened in Vietnam. Now it has happened in Iraq. How many times will we allow people to die in wars that its planners later call, as Robert McNamara did the Vietnam war, "a terrible mistake"? There is, quite simply, too much blood on American hands. With a 650 billion dollar annual Defense budget and a military-industrial complex extracting from the pool of our national resources not only our money, but the blood of our young soldiers and our moral standing with God and the rest of humanity, this is just one more reason why it's time for the American people to take back our country, reclaim our democracy, and make right our conscience before it is too late.
The process of healing - whether in an individual's life or in a nation's life -- begins with a simple, humble atonement for our errors. We need to take ownership of the problem before we can take ownership of the solution, and the biggest problem is within ourselves. With a Presidential election coming up, it's extremely important that we stop being such easy marks for tough-on-national-security arguments that only use and abuse us. Sometimes, wisdom only comes when we've faced the horrible fact that we've behaved like fools.
In our foolishness, we acquiesced to nothing short of patterns of willful, unnecessary killing. For killing is what war is. And that is why it should never, ever happen for any other reason than the most radical necessity. Those who say this are not immature children; in fact, increasingly they're the only grownups in the room. A stupid, unnecessary war is not something to brag about; it's something for which to humbly ask God's forgiveness.
In the words of Abraham Lincoln in declaring a National Day of Fasting and Prayer on March 30, 1863, "...It behooves us, then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness. It is the duty of nations as well as of men, to confess their sins and transgressions, in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon..."
With events like those occurring in Iraq right now, we should realize that our window of time is starting to close. Lincoln's injunction that we should throw ourselves on the mercy of God might sound crazy to the warmongers, but it's time at last for them to sound crazy to us.
I didn't place in the top two in last week's House of Representatives District 33 primary election, and while of course I was disappointed I was certainly not devastated or even truly sad.
But I've heard things in the aftermath of the election that indeed have made me sad - not because people didn't vote for me, but because of why in many cases people said they didn't vote for me. These issues relate not just to an election, but to an attitude that pervades our culture in relation to anyone with a so-called "spiritual" perspective.
First, I apparently wasn't perceived by some people as a "serious" candidate. Given the fact that I was the only candidate in the race with an entire platform based on child poverty, mass incarceration, income disparity, diminishing civil liberties, domestic surveillance, student loan debt, corporatization and rule by oligarchy, passing a Green New Deal, and a Constitutional Amendment to rid corporations of the rights of personhood, I'm a little stymied as to what makes a person "serious" enough to pass muster with the so-called "serious" people who make such judgments. Indeed, mine was the only top tier candidacy that actually did make a serious critique of the political status quo.
What, I wonder, makes one a "serious" candidate in the eyes of supposedly serious people, other than being someone who doesn't challenge their notions of what it means to be serious? When people capitulate to a system that they know is broken -- that they know in their hearts will not be fixed by mere legislative technique -- yet do not actually vote to change that system, then they're being intellectually and emotionally dishonest. And that is not a serious person.
Spirituality is not a religion; it is a conviction of the heart. And making a case for social conscience is not a joke. No one should apologize for the fact that they believe we're on the Earth to love each other, and if anything, those who do not factor that notion into their politics are the ones who should be apologizing. If love matters most, then it's intolerable that America has the second-highest child poverty rate among all advanced nations in the world, or the highest mass incarceration rate in the world, or a system that is rigged more and more every day in the interests of our richest citizens; if money matters most, then why concern ourselves?
"New Age" is a label that can be used to trivialize even the most serious thinker. Martin Luther King, Jr., said that "we have before us the glorious opportunity to inject a new dimension of love into the veins of civilization." Should only clergy be allowed to say this, without risk of mockery? What makes one a New Age Guru, by the way, other than having been caricatured that way decades ago by the likes of People magazine? Most importantly, I'm left wondering how in the world one fights a caricature.
I will not take off my stilettos in order to cater to subconscious sexism, any more than I will stop proclaiming the power of faith in order to cater to a secularized progressive bias. Love doesn't need scientific verification. What I will do to the best of my ability is respond to such prejudices, by naming them and calling them out. I know my campaign was outside the box, but inside the box is profoundly toxic today. And no one living or working within that box has the right to say that they are serious thinkers, or that someone trying to destroy the box is not. A pseudo-progressive and pseudo-intellectual establishment that urges us to fight our new corporate overlords while functioning at the behest of those overlords is serious only in that it is seriously ridiculous. And nothing could be a more serious task today than to call our political system to account for its corruption, our society to the challenge of taking a serious look at our national character defects, and our country to its remembrance of our own democratic ideals at a time when they are withering away before our eyes.
We have a "dirty trick" on our hands, so I hope you'll spread the word if you hear of it:
Someone at the United Domestic Workers, a union based out of San Diego, is calling voters in the district multiple times, we have heard as frequently as 5 times per day over the course of the past 2 weeks.
Voters have told us that their caller ID says "UDWA 619-263-7254" -- but the office that holds that number says their phone number has been highjacked for this purpose.
The caller asks if the voter is supporting Marianne Williamson, without providing any information about her whatsoever, and then abruptly hangs up. Voters who indicate support for Marianne are called repeatedly.
Here is an example of what these calls look like:
1. My household has received daily calls from San Diego from a group called UDWA at 619-263-7254. After several weeks of twice daily (or more)calls, I called this number and left a voice mail instructing these people not to call my home any longer. This was on May 20. On May 21, I got two more calls, one at 8:30pm. On May 22, I received another call, which I finally answered and told the caller to stop calling me. I also reported this number to the Do Not Call complaint website
2."Your robo calling company has called me 4 times this morning and left no message! I finally got to a person and she repeated my phone number wrong to put me on the do not call list! I will do everything in my power to make sure that Williamson loses this race because of her true disregard for individuals and the utilities they buy for their own use and not hers. It is beyond annoying to get up 4 times to answer a call from a computer voice that says, "If this call has inconvenienced you, we are sincerely sorry!" This is the sad state of two faced liberal dominated CA.! "
Please let anyone who tells you of this kind of activity that it is NOT our campaign playing this prank, and that we're very sorry for the inconvenience.
Today we honor members of our military who died in foreign wars. It is in going deep within ourselves -- opening our hearts and minds to the true horror of war, and to the suffering of those who lost their lives to it -- that we show the deepest respect to our fallen military. Bearing witness to the agony of others, according to Mahatma Gandhi, carries soulforce. It not only comforts them; it changes us.
The greatest honor we can show to those who died in war is to commit ourselves to creating a world at peace. Let us pray for all those who died on foreign battlefields, and atone in our hearts for the wars in which our soldiers should never have been there to begin with. Let us commit ourselves to taking care of the veterans in our midst, and address the travesty of what is often their inadequate care. In Los Angeles alone, there are 8,000 homeless veterans largely neglected by the system they fought to preserve. Across the country, our veterans commit suicide at the rate of almost one an hour. Above all, let us not look away from the human suffering that makes war humanity’s greatest scourge, even now.
The following paragraph is engraved on the wall of the Franklin Roosevelt memorial in Washington DC. The President who led America during WW2 said these words:
“I have seen war. I have seen war on land and sea. I have seen blood running from the wounded. I have seen men coughing out their gassed lungs. I have seen the dead in the mud. I have seen cities destroyed. I have seen 200 limping, exhausted men come out of line—the survivors of a regiment of 1,000 that went forward 48 hours before. I have seen children starving. I have seen the agony of mothers and wives. I hate war.”
If I have the privilege of becoming the next Congressperson from CA. District 33, one of my first acts will be to sign on to Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s (CA-D) Department of Peacebuilding Bill, H.R. 808. The department would be "dedicated to peacebuilding, peacemaking, and the study and promotion of conditions conducive to both domestic and international peace and a culture of peace."
Referencing the bill, Congresswoman Lee said, "On our streets and across the globe, the pervasive presence of violence has infected the lives of millions, and it is far past time we address it as a nation.”
I agree with her wholeheartedly. When former Congressman Dennis Kucinich first introduced such a bill in 2001, I founded a grass roots campaign to support it. If elected, I will lend my power in whatever way possible to its becoming law. In order to lead our nation into a secure 21st Century, we must learn to strategize peace as effectively as we strategize war.
Let us bring our internal as well as external powers to bear on the effort. This Memorial Day, let us more than remember what already happened; let us envision what we want to have happen now, and step into that vision with boldness and purpose. Let us create a world where the only pictures we see of war are on the walls of museums and memorials recording a phenomenon that used to be, but is no more.