Spirituality and Politics

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“It has always seemed strange to me… the things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling, are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest, are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first they love the produce of the second.” ~ John Steinbeck

Your health is as safe as that of the worst-insured, worst-cared-for person in your society. In the United States, decades of cuts to our nation’s social safety net have left us struggling to respond to COVID-19 with an appallingly inadequate public health sector, almost nonexistent job security, and a government more concerned with maintaining profits than saving people’s lives. — Rebecca Solnit

Granting others life as a key command of organising one’s own existence, and of building society, was never a concern of market thinking. To the contrary, it is deemed a hindrance. Reality here is construed as a dog-eats-dog world (according to the “natural state”, described by Thomas Hobbes in his book Leviathan). Reciprocity with the living world in this thinking is denounced as a naïve dream. — Kosmos Journal

They then discover the three lies we were taught: we are separate from our Creator, our Earth and each other. As these are replaced with three truths — that we are one with our Creator, one with our planet and one with each other — our awakening quickens. — Robert Roskind

Why do we have pandemics? Are they caused by “acts of God” or acts of humans? Is there by chance some connection between human self serving, greed and contagious diseases?

I don’t think we can expect to have anything for ourselves if we refuse it to others. Tribal thinking in America refuses benefits to other races without seeing the connection with the poverty it creates for itself. Voters put people in positions of power who have the same shallow and narrow minded prejudices they have. Keeping a disfavored class of people down brings them down too, but it’s worth it to them, evidently.

Things have gotten more drastic recently because so many people are dying, even the privileged classes are in danger. The virus doesn’t discriminate, they say, although people who live in food deserts and poverty are more vulnerable. Native Americans, Blacks, elders and those too poor to access health care are in danger. In America you have to choose whether to self sequester or risk your life by going to work. Your government won’t help you.

America has a uniquely cruel way of thinking about this emergency. For some reason, helping the American worker survive is a radical idea, beyond the pale. The notion that the government could protect people from starvation and homelessness is outrageous to those who make the decisions. Health is not a basic right, it has to be earned by hard labor.

I’m afraid Americans are in for a hard time until they can come to a place of fundamental kindness, care and generosity. When that mindset becomes so common it leaks even into politics and governance is when the suffering will diminish, not a minute before. A country led by greed and self interest will devolve into a thousand warring factions.

We need a giant mirror. We can’t see that we are our worst enemy, that we are causing our own pain. As long as we misidentify the culprit, we are lost in a fantasy. Blaming an imaginary enemy is suicidal in a case like this. Trump is the last person to deal effectively with it because he just looks for scapegoats.

Now is the time for all good people to come to the aid of their country, to coin a phrase.

Written by

I occasionally write fiction and also about creativity, loving, language learning and travel. I’m a longtime painter and reader.

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