I’m feeling disheartened after Tuesday’s election. Yeah, there was a lot of madness being given voice out there. And some of that madness became lawmakers. Some of it is the evil of greed. Some is blatantly and openly racist. Almost all of it is hypocritical. And some of the madness is of the truly delusional variety. A couple of my favorites are (click to see them) Alan West claiming that he has a security clearance of a level that even the president can’t get and Rand Paul arguing for tax cuts for the rich because we are all one – “there are no poor”. (they both won)
There was an excellent (and fun) piece on the Rachel Maddow show Thursday night about the whoppers that float around the right wing community and are never scrutinized. As she said there is no internal debunking. There is evidence that these things are not true but it falls on deaf ears. The paradigm of the community of people in that believe-in-whopper world includes the fact that if something is proven false by anybody outside their community, outside of Far Rightville, rather than accepting that evidence, instead it re-enforces their own information, now that the evil bad lefties say it isn’t so.
It’s like they have all the bases covered. It’s kind of a perfect storm; the mentality that anything outside of your clique is invalid. It’s really a high level paranoia. Which is not surprising when one is hypnotized and vulnerable to suggestion.
I once saw a movie, Mirage, where Gregory Peck, one of my faves, was trying to rally a wishy washy friend of his to take a stand. He said, “Wake up Josephson. If you’re not willing to commit, you’re just taking up space.”
That’s what I have to say to the voters who voted Republican, especially those who fell for the appeal of the wingnuts. Now, on the surface you may say, “but they are committed. They felt strongly about something and they did something about it; they voted.” But being committed, by my reckoning has to run a little deeper and be more encompassing.
I once wrote something about the state of the world’s environment saying something about one just taking up space if they don’t commit. A European friend of mine, commenting on that, said she felt that was extreme and could induce a feeling of guilt if you’re not being active in the environmental movement. Which could then lead to a sense of failure and basically giving up altogether, or feeling despondent. Like there is nothing you can do that is going to matter against the great hypnosis of blind consumption and waste and its consequent dross, so why bother.
What’s important here is that commitment can mean many things. We, in simply being alive, are having some sort of impact. And I do believe that being aware of the consequences of our impact is important. But commitment doesn’t have to mean action like spiking trees, or lying down in front of a bulldozer, or even writing representatives or voting. Commitment can be sharing our feelings with friends and people we meet about how things are. Or it can be meditating. Or exuding love energy and appreciation while walking in Nature or taking a deep breath of fresh air. There is energy in our attitudes and orientation. Just being focused on what we believe has the power to effect change.
So, being committed means being awake and aware and allowing your mind and heart to be voices and forces in how you live. As far as just taking up space, I think if you are content being hypnotized by some familiar paradigm and you respond without pause to wording targeted to get your hackles up or to make you complacent, or you’re blindly making choices to avoid the complexity of life, yeah, you are just taking up space.
And, if you have guilt around that statement, well, maybe that’s what guilt is for. To eat away at us a little and tell us that some part of ourselves is not satisfied with where we’re at. (Just try and be clear that the guilt is your own and not what the church, a guru, or anyone else has told you about how you should behave or act.)
For me, this is the lesson of Tuesday’s election. This is not new; in fact “it’s been burning since the world’s been turning”, but the election along with the president’s milquetoast concession that we now need to find common ground and compromise with the new rightwing Congress are an exclamation point. I am an activist by nature. Though I don’t always manifest that spirit in action, I will continue to vote and in some small ways contribute physically. But whether one votes or contributes in another way, I really think there has never been a time on this planet where it was more imperative (meaning imperative as necessary to health and survival; not as a rule or law from above) to commit yourself to living. And to living aware and open; aware of our multi-faceted and dynamic nature and our need to participate.
Yes, I am feeling disheartened. But I also feel charged, like there has never been a time so ripe for something really new. Call me a fool but that’s how I feel.
Be excellent to each other.
See the page poem “Hypnosis, Drip Noses” under the page Non-Newsy Writings in the menu above.
Finally, check out this. An excellent interview with Jim Morrison by Lizzie James. She asks him provocative questions and he has much to say about personal responsibility to one’s awareness of their surroundings and their own reality. (The interview itself starts a little over half way down.)