Practice Over Politics
Lately I’ve been consumed by a sensation that can best be described as supreme disappointment and dread for the future of mankind. This feeling has been so powerful in fact that it’s kept my from writing much of anything for the last several months. I’ve sat down on a few occasions to try to synthesize my feelings, but always with an air of positively, hoping to inspire unity in such divisive time. I didn’t want to come off as too preachy or too judgey, I’m a yoga teacher after all. Shouldn’t all my stories begin and end with sunshine?
I’m back at it this time, and I’ve decided that instead of offering a moral, I’m just going to unload for a minute. Because I am FURIOUS!
Donald Trump has publicly mocked disability, slandered Mexicans, seems to think that all Black people live in the inner city, called MS. UNIVERSE a fat slob, attempted to shame a Muslim mother clearly in grief, threatened to jail his political opponent should be be elected, and has insinuated that I’m not all that great. Oh and he’s also little bit “rapey.”
Are we surprised?
Well, we shouldn’t be. We should be embarrassed.
Donald Trump is the manifestation of the darkness that lives in the deepest recesses of all our hearts and minds. Whether subtle or overt, each of us has a sludge that we push aside because we don’t want people to know that we’re actually horrible. Those times you avoid the gaze of the homeless or get slightly squeamish around someone with a disability. Clutching your purse a little tighter when you walk past some young black men in hoodies or loss your patience with the gas station clerk who hasn’t completely mastered the English language. Yeah, try speaking Hindi, bitch…see how well you do.
So yeah, I’ve got anger issues too! I'm really pissed at a lot of people. Climate change deniers, people who casually use the N-word, pastry chefs who won't make wedding cakes for gays, the State legislator of North Carolina, All Lives Matter protestors, Bernie or Busters....
I yell. At my TV, my newspaper, my computer, my iPhone, any inanimate object that delivers current “news.” And I’ve been doing it a lot. Because like I said, I am FURIOUS!
In a world where there are so many interesting conversations to be had about the role of government, the future of social security, the fate of our natural resources…we’ve been overrun by Reality TV addicted, insane people! And you, I know you think you’re so much better. Well, then how is it that in what have been the worst presidential debates in modern history with the least popular candidates, networks have seen the highest ratings. Humans haven’t decided, “Oh, you know what I would love to see? Two reasonable people having a moderated discussion about economics and foreign policy.” Nope, not for us. We want a WWE smackdown, character smearing, no holds bar, PC free, blood bath.
Ok, glad I got that off my chest.
I practice. I practice being good. I practice being kind. I practice being open minded. I pray regularly for the future of all mankind, that we may be happy, that we may be peaceful, that we may be free from suffering. I practice and teach yoga. My yoga practice has anchored me through the most mundane of human crises and some pretty big ones too, including a catastrophic house fire and an infertility diagnosis. But I find myself, in this time in our history, unmoored no matter the minutes of meditation. I am overwhelmed by the anxiety of us. What have we become? How did we get here? I was raised in Christianity, and now walk a non-religious but deeply spiritual path. These traditions and many other traditions assert the fundamental reality that we are children of God, we were born in the image of God, each of us is God. So what is going on here? Why can’t we do better?
Perhaps, our human-ness is trumping our godliness.
The human instinct is survival. Kill or be killed and all that. Since we can pretty easily pick up a burrito and no longer have to roam the plains to kill buffalo for food, it seems we’ve staked our survival on being right. Like all of the time. And being completely inflexible about the shape the world takes moving forward. The instinct to be right all of the time is human, NOT GOD.
I’d say humans are doing ok with certain things. I mean, as far as I know people aren’t getting routinely knifed in busy lines at Starbucks. And it’s rare for me to personally encounter someone who violently disagrees with me or speaks so horribly about the other in the manor that some speak about their “opposite” on the internet. But the Twitter trolling thing is real. Even though few would speak so recklessly and cruelly to a human face to face, that instinct to be horrible, mean spirited, and RIGHT is real and deep.
I suffer for the disease of human-ness too. I have a lot of opinions, and at one point in my life was very certain about the philosophical and political direction our country must take. Yet, there are millions of people in this country, and not everyone shares that vision. With time, trail, and error I realized A) There’s a lot I don’t know and B) Being right is boring.
Certainty lacks depth, color, and nuance. I feel supremely blessed to live in probably the most liberal, and financially well off pocket of the globe, Marin County, CA. My family lives outside of Houston, TX. Some would argue that California and Texas represent opposite extremes on the political spectrum. That it would be impossible for people from either place to agree on ANYTHING. And if the media was in charge of us, that would be true. But it’s just not.
For one thing, we both love baseball. For another, we’re all on the same team, even if we disagree on the game plan. And you know what I think is really interesting…
Democrats will not solve the environmental challenges we face.
Republicans are not going to solve the burden of Social Security.
There is no way out, around, or through without each other.
In between that thing that you’re so right about and that thing that they’re 100% certain about, that’s where something truly revolutionary can be found: a path forward. Human ingenuity, proactive disagreements, problem solving, that’s God’s work. Embracing diversity of people and of solutions is inherently braided into our DNA because we are children of God.
We are the solution.
I’d really love to stop hearing this mind numbing back and forth about political divisiveness. Can we stop blaming Mexicans and Muslims? Or claiming the economy is being held hostage by the "1%" those thieves? Can we agree that if someone believes healthcare should stay private that doesn’t automatically make them “the devil?” Or those who insist on the environmental hazard of fracking aren’t “lunatic fairies?”
This is not how we should speak to each other, about each other, or for each other.
What if we could disagree and be kind?
A little less, "You're the evil spawn of Satan." and a little more "Hmm..Interesting point. I've never thought about it that way."
Doesn’t that sound fun? Like a nice back and forth over a cup of tea where no one gets compared to Adolf Hitler?
Now there's a revolution.
So maybe you’re “Team Meh…Hillary, I guess.” Or you’re into Trump’s brash language and bravo. Or you think he’s the worst human being ever to put on an oversized suit. I’m with you. I get that you’re disheartened. I get that you’re angry. I’m angry too. But I can’t sit around and let that angry monster win the day. I don’t want to be just human, I want to be divine.
CAN WE PLEASE pull our heads out of our asses and get to work?
There is so much good work to be done.
In the meantime, I promise never to hate you. I’ll do my best to not speak ill of you. I’ll try to be kind.
And, I’ll keep praying.
I’ll pray for myself, and I’ll pray for you. Heck, I’ll even pray for Donald Trump, not despite the fact that I loathe him, but because I loathe him I’ll pray for him twice.
And I’ll VOTE. I hope you will too. For the love of God, please vote.
Image by https://drawception.com/game/3hgxmnwAbf/donkey-elephant-are-secretly-in-love/