By Steve Bhaerman
“Hey, remember the good old days when people robbed banks?”
— Swami Beyondananda
Well, it’s finally happened. The evolutionary upwising has broken through the soundless barrier. Ignored and dismissed by the corporate media for weeks, the Occupy Wall Street movement has captured imagination and gained momentum, spawning cousin “Occupy” movements throughout the country. As Scoop Nisker said many years ago, “If you don’t like the news, go out and make your own.”
For the first time in recent history, “we the people” are making news instead of just “taking it.”
And while many organizations – including the Democratic Party – would love to get in front of this parade, this movement belongs to those who have put their behinds on the line on the front lines, and to the 99% of us who have had it with the Golden Rule being overruled by the rule of gold.
“Occupy Wall Street” is a brilliant brand. It’s a poetic reversal of the sad fact that Wall Street has colonized, occupied and pillaged Main Street, as our market economy has devolved into the casino economy where there are a few big winners, and many, many, many losers.
As I have pointed out earlier this year, the transpartisan political work done by my colleague Joseph McCormick indicates that across the political spectrum the vast, vast majority of Americans believe the power of money – particularly when aligned with the coercive power of the state – has become too powerful.
Of course, agreeing on what the problem is doesn’t necessarily mean agreeing on the solution. It would be far too easy for the movement to deteriorate into a laundry list of “demands” that would isolate it as a left wing phenomenon – which is what the powers that be are counting on. The good news is, the public is becoming more immune to divide-and-conquer “impropaganda” and more willing to look at the bigger picture.
And what is the bigger picture?
It’s that every one of those specific issues and grievances that have catalyzed and energized this movement boil down to just one fundamental issue of governance:
Who’s in charge of who’s in charge?
How do decisions really get made, and who rules – really?
A majority of Americans are coming to understand that our democratic republic has become a “mockracy” where the corporate media avoids true issues of governance, and instead focuses on incendiary, divisive issues. And when the conversation does turn to the bigger picture of how policy gets made, each side has a ready-made villain to blame. As with the proverbial blind men describing the elephant, the progressives tend to focus on the “corporate” aspect of the two-headed beast, while the conservatives see the villain as the “state.”
It is only when we see the real problem as the power of money and coercive power of the state working in collusion, that we can see our way to a transcending – and trance-ending – solution: An overriding moral authority of “we the people” that reflects first and foremost the virtues and values that the 90% of us who aren’t sociopaths share in common.
Does America Need A Department of Heartland Security?
Years ago, I had an acquaintance who was a marriage counselor with a unique way of working with couples when they were stuck in intractable positions. Over the years, he had collected and laminated dozens of cartoons that reflected issues where couples have conflict. At the inevitable stuck point, the therapist would call “time” and pull out the cartoon that humorously reflected the very issue the couple was dealing with. In just about every case, the couple would laugh together at the cartoon … and a breakthrough would ensue.
So why am I mentioning this?
In addition to finding something to laugh about, the therapist was doing something that would profoundly change the “state” the couple was in. Instead of staring each other down like Leroy and Loretta Lockhorn, the couple was now looking outward together in the same direction. Equally important, they were looking at another way (albeit humorous) of seeing their situation.
In our current political discourse, we have primarily learned how to be in opposition. Both the Tea Party and the Occupy movement are responses to an unjust and fundamentally dysfunctional political and economic system. Each side sees one side of the picture – and sees the other side as the enemy. But what would it look like for the two sides to “look outward in the same direction?”
In 2003, my friend and “co-heart” Richard Flyer launched the Conscious Community Network in Reno, Nevada to do just that. He began by bringing evangelical Christian organic growers together with urban progressive organic consumers to support local economy, and researched many spiritual and ethical systems to find common “virtues and values.” (You can hear an interview with Richard here.)
Next, Richard began to convene informal gatherings of religious leaders from diverse paths and perspectives, and lo and behold – they began to recognize not just shared values, but shared goals. Despite different – and some might say oppositional – spiritual perspectives, they held key virtues, values and visions in common. These “heart core” values are at the heart of who we are as a people, and as a Humanity.
Perhaps that’s why the notion of “Heartland Security” has been poking at me since “Homeland Security” was launched to empower a 21st century Big Brother under the Orwellian precept that “we require a police state to preserve our freedom.”
However, as Swami has said, “The only way to overgrow Big Brother is by Bigger Brotherhood … and Sisterhood. Only by seeing we are all brothers and sisters in the same Neighborhood, can the neighbors prevail over the hoods.”
So yes, let us celebrate the Occupy movement. Let’s be grateful that the Empire’s bare buttocks are being exposed on mainstream media. Let’s rejoice that a disheartened and too often passive progressive electorate has awoken from its slumber, and that a Nobama movement (moving forward with or without Obama) is taking shape.
Let’s also understand that in these evolutionary times, we may find it difficult if not impossible to go backwards to fix an unfixable system. Those on both sides who want to “take America back” will find the only way to do that is by taking us forward to where we haven’t yet been.
If we want different answers, we’re going to have to ask different questions, so I suggest this as an FUQ (Frequently Unasked Question): What would we like instead?
Instead of a predatory casino economy where a very very few profit enormously (and those at the bottom dream of winning the lottery), what is an economy that would energize and reward good goods and greater goodness?
Instead of a political game open only to multi-millionaires, what would true public participation look like?
Instead of “faith-based vote counting” that relies on hackable computers, how can we institute a completely transparent electoral system?
Instead of an economic and political order that holds the body politic hostage to the Military Industrial Complex, how can we put the need for protection into a balanced context?
These are not just conversations for “progressives” to have, but for every conscious American who is not just fed up with what we have … but willing to take responsibility for designing something else. My dream is that the Occupy Movement is only the first step in awakening that will precipitate these kinds of conversations across the country, across generations, and across ideological lines. From all reports, these conversations are already occurring among the young Occupy folks, because they are already past the ideological positions and seeking something that is radically (from the core) different.
As we stand on the threshold of 2012 and many people wonder what the end of the Mayan Calendar portends, let me offer a suggestion that comes straight from my book with Bruce Lipton, Spontaneous Evolution. Perhaps the “end of the world” is really the end of the old story of “me vs. you” and the beginning of a new story that “we’re all in this together.” This is what evolutionary science suggests, and it echoes the fundamental nugget of gold at the foundation of every religious, spiritual and ethical system – some version of the Golden Rule. It may very well be that both modern science and ancient wisdom are pointing us in the same direction, that at this point where the “me-or-you” system is no longer sustainable, our survival as a species depends on our adopting a new operating system.
May Heartland Security prevail, and then we will have true homeland security.
What do you think? Comments are welcome. Care to see Heartland Security become a reality? To find out more about Heartland Security, go here.