It’s Time to Face the Elephant (and Donkey) in the Living Room … Together
“Only when red tribe Republicans and blue tribe Democrats stand together as one Purple People, will the peeps prevail over the perps. ” — Swami Beyondananda
We interrupt the insanity to bring you an important President’s Day message.
We the people of America are on the cusp of a Constitutional crisis. And if that crisis DOESN’T emerge, then we are REALLY in trouble. In the wake of the most toxic election in recent history, where we had two terrible candidates to choose from and one of them won by default, America is no longer divided merely into two tribes — we are now living in two realities.
At least in the run-up to the Civil War, with the dividing issue as slavery, everyone knew what slavery was, and both sides recognized slavery as a reality. They just disagreed about whether it was to continue.
In one 2017 “reality”, President Trump is the fearless leader who will save us from terrorism, undocumented alien criminals, nuclear war with Russia, and from the corrupt “new world order” — not to mention pedophilia in high places. It’s Trump’s word against the “fake news” media, and everything he says is true.
Meanwhile in the other world, we have an insane liar as a President who creates his own reality and has millions of ditto-heads who will believe every unbelievable word he utters. In this reality, people see something even worse than the neoliberal empire — a kleptocracy where we not only have to deal with that big Putin, but we have our own Lil’ Putin to divide the spoils, while spoiling the natural world.
Each of these narratives is both true and not true, and only by seeing them through a meta-view can we survive this crisis that threatens our social order, our freedom and sacred institutions, and the web of life itself.
The bad news and the good news are one and the same: Our current political system cannot fix itself. We the people are the only ones — speaking in one voice and showing up in YUGE numbers — that can do the necessary intervention to hold our government and once-trusted press accountable.
So here are some new assertions that I believe point us in the direction of a common truth, and a common reality — that can be a starting place to restore sanity, and re-establish the heart and soul of who we are, beneath the fear and manipulation:
- We have a deeply UNITED body politic. The overwhelming majority of Americans are disgusted and fed up with the system as it is. This includes the majority of Trump voters, Hillary voters, Bernie voters and those who supported minority parties.
- Donald Trump lies with impunity … AND … the mainstream media has lied for years by withholding inconvenient truths.
- There IS such a thing as the “deep state” — a secret government that has been in operation since the end of World War II — and the “elephant and donkey in the living room” is that both political parties are ruled (or overruled) by the deep state.
- The current power struggle — Steve Bannon vs. the CIA — is a struggle between two ruling elites, neither of which have the best interests of the American people or the commonwealth at heart. In other words, what if they gave a war and there were no good guys?
- To further complexify the shituation, the most sophisticated mind-manipulation techniques have been employed to insure that people stay inside their “silo” and only get news (real or fake) that reinforce what they already believe. (Here is an eye-opening article on “weaponized propaganda” that shows you how it’s done).
- Trust in the government and trust in the media is at an all-time low. There is no such thing anymore as consensus reality. And … as long as we are divided not just into two tribes but two realities, we cannot unify around fair and just rules of governance. To put it bluntly, we the people have been divided, and consequently conquered.
- As the gap between these two “realities” deepens, the two sides are becoming more entrenched, forgetting they have been leveraged into seeing only the other side’s shadow, not their own. A perfect recent example involves the “progressives” who physically prevented right-winger Milo Yiannopoulos from speaking on the Berkeley campus.
- A central factor in the lack of a shared reality is the “absence of the sacred” at the center of our society. Where there is no “heart” at our core, heartlessness prevails, and disheartenment spreads. Because the rule of gold has overgrown the Golden Rule, we have seen “ethic cleansing” — the ethical people are washed out of our system where the “free speech” of money out-shouts all other interests.
OK, so assuming that’s “what’s so” … so what?
At the risk of hearing, “You’re proposing a sane world — you must be crazy!” here is what I suggest:
- What if independent citizens united? What if — in the tradition of the Consumer Union and Common Cause — we the people from all sides and angles created our own “citizens union” to advocate for our common interests and a healthy, wealthy commonwealth?
- What if we called forth, curated and supported a truly independent media, that drew from mainstream news, alt left and alt right so that we the people could emerge with a “likelier story” and a truth-based reality?
- What if we the American people — united, left and right — launched a “truth movement” so together we could learn about the origins, developments, deeds and misdeeds of the deep state, and consequently dismantle it? (This might not work if a mere million people called for this, like the number demanding the release of Donald Trump’s taxes, but if 25 million or 50 million showed up, that would be a different story. It would mean that a critical mass of the heretofore uncritical masses were aware of the “deep state”, and that would be a key first step in transforming it.)
- What if we created an independent political authority — and unifying platform — designed to “overgrow” the entire impeachable system, and then only voted for candidates who agreed to support this new “deep center” political movement that transcends political parties?
- What if we had a place where citizens could gather virtually where we could become aware of and expose the toxic forms of citizen manipulation, rendering them ineffective?
- What if a YUGE number of us united around uniform rules for verifiable voting, unhackable machines or paper ballots, and standard procedures for recount — so that the results of all elections are impeccable, and unquestionably honest?
- What if we initiated national conversations across political divides (like the Living Room Conversations are already doing) to cultivate civil discourse, mutual understanding, appreciation of how conservative and progressive values complement each other, and even begin to collaborate on transpartisan legislation, including voting and campaign finance reform?
- What if we gathered religious, secular ethical and spiritual leaders and organizations to convene a “truth and reconciliation” movement to reveal and heal the political shadow that has been haunting us and has stolen our integrity, our heart and our soul? And … what if we likewise gathered around the things that we want for ourselves, our families, community, country and world, and set a common intention for our country?
This may sound “utopian” but as the great visionary philosopher Bucky Fuller pointed out in his book with the same name, our choice is “utopia or oblivion.” In other words, unless we create heaven together … we’re stuck in hell.
And that Constitutional crisis is on its way.
I’ll put it this way. The only way Donald Trump’s war on reality can continue is if enough people pretend he is sane AND steps are taken to repress the contradictory, fact-based reality. Already he has come up against judges saying, “Not so fast, cowboy,” and while he has issued directives left and right (mostly right), many of these will not hold, particularly as Congressfolks return home to hear from their constituents.
The danger is that the assessment of Donald Trump’s integrity, discernment and sanity will become just another left-right issue, like “climate change” — you say it’s this, well I say it’s that, so there.
That is why it is all the more important for an independent political voice and authority emerge from “deep center” — that is, not just smoothing over polarized differences but using those differences as a dynamic to reach a higher and deeper truth, that address the real and not merely the cosmetic issues in front of us.
When that loud and clear voice of 10 or 20 or 50 million Americans say, “ENOUGH of this toxic bullshit — let’s get REAL, together” the media will have to report it, and our government will have to respond to it. Instead of government by default, and institutionalized and entrenched corruption, we will have the capacity for ordinary citizens to work together instead of fighting one another.
So here is the key question. We already know we don’t trust the government, and don’t trust the media. The question is, do we trust ourselves? Do we trust in the capacity for ordinary citizens to glean extraordinary wisdom through respectful conversation and open-minded (and open-hearted) listening? Do we trust that there IS a healthy, sane, coherent heart and soul beneath the toxic expressions of “politics as usual”?
I am reminded of another President’s Day weekend eight years ago, where a couple of hundred “transpartisan activists” celebrated the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln’s birth at the Transpartisan Citizens Summit in Denver. You’ve probably never heard of this event, likely because the idea of an emergent independent citizens movement that cultivates the best of what progressivism and conservatism has to offer was an idea whose time had not yet come. In February 2009, the body politic — at least on the progressive side — was still high on hopium. And too many people, comfy in their ideological silo, were strung out on that other drug, Deniatol.
Obviously, we the people have needed the sobering experience of the 2016 electoral season to ask, “Is there another way?”
In case you are curious, you can watch a video on transpartisan engagement featuring my colleague, Joseph McCormick.
The seeds are there for a new deep center movement. Now it is up to us to plant them, so that by the time 2020 rolls around — sooner, actually — there is an awakened, integral movement of citizens that leads from deep center: a true American evolution. Only by evolving beyond the bipolar insanity of this-or-that politics will our 240-year experiment survive.
Comments are welcome! If you see sanity and possibility in this approach, please respond to this and I will keep you apprised of developments.