Messages From Carrie
Carrie's Blog Obama, McCain and the politics of love or fear
September 18th, 2008
For the past weeks I’ve been watching the Democratic and Republican conventions, amazed, heartened and deeply deeply disturbed by what I saw unfold. I know there are good people who listen to my music who hold a wide variety of political and spiritual backgrounds. I am personally dedicated to a respectful and open dialog rather than closing communication down. My music has always been about looking for connections, describing human experiences and exploring the important questions that resonate with us all. When I listen, I often find that we are concerned with the similar issues. On either side of a political and philosophical debate good people are asking questions like: “How do I walk this world in truth and integrity? “How do we let go of fear and become courageously loving?” “Where is our strength when times are hard?” “What do I love beyond words or measure?” “What can one person do in the face of the worlds sorrows and struggles to create positive change?” “When I pay attention, what do I see?” I generally choose to focus on our common questions and fears because I believe that you can’t just legislate change. I tend to focus on finding the real spirit and meaning of our walk in this world because true and lasting change usually happens when there is a change of heart. It is difficult if not impossible to create a world with less war and violence when our spirits are so afraid and willing to be led by leaders that focus on fear and violence as the way to safety.
That said, I have been deeply disturbed by the unfolding of the past political season. I choose more often to focus on the positive policies I want to support ( social and economic justice, peace making, care of the environment, equal opportunity and justice for women and minorities). But for this particular blog I want to take a moment to comment on the disturbing developments. I am aghast at the fact that Sarah Palin has been held up an image of women moving into a place of more respect and power in our political system, and downright appalled that she is being held up as an image of a person of faith in politics. There are several eloquent essays circulating on the internet laying out the problems with these assumptions. I’ve listed a few of these below.
I think often we believe that if those who disagree with us could just get enough information they would change their minds. Sometimes this is true, misinformation and a misleading presentation of half truths can influence perceptions and encourage decisions to be made on false assumptions. But there is also the factor of two very different bottom-lines being the basis for decision making. I saw very clearly during the conventions there were two essentially different bottom-lines on how a person and society should operate in the world. These two different sets of basic beliefs create very different sets of solutions to problems. One bottom-line is based on doing no harm, inclusion and justice. The other appears to be based in fear, exclusion, obedience to authority and selective justice. Fear is a powerful motivation. Fear of not having enough, fear of the “other”, fear of the unknown can be easily manipulated. Love is also a powerful force, and in my estimation, love is always the more powerful of the two. Love will ask us to confront our worse fears and worse tendencies and meet them with a sincere effort to live out of our best selves instead. I believe Barak Obama may not be a perfect man, but I do believe his bottom-line is coming from a place of doing no harm, inclusion and justice. When policies are built upon those ideals there is a much greater chance of those policies being sound and forward thinking. John McCain operates with a bottom-line of fear and exclusion. I have very little confidence in the policies that arise from fear, as they have small chance of being sound, strong and based in real justice.
Sarah Palin says she is a person of faith and this is what she bases her policies upon. But living a life of radical love and inclusion would not include policies that disenfranchise the poor or powerless, promote more violence, war or pre-emptive attack, exclude anyone from the table, marginalize women or allow our sacred natural environment to be ravaged in the name of progress, fear or greed. Sarah Palin says she is a strong woman and mother. And yet. she opposes nearly every bit of legislation that has moved women from marginal and vulnerable positions in our society, and actually allowed her to rise to the position she now occupies. She vows to create a Supreme Court that will uphold and create new laws that keep women marginalized and more vulnerable. In this sense she is an insult to all the women who worked so hard and sacrified so much to allow her the opportunities she enjoys today. She has already lied and lied again to the media and to the American people. This does not bode well for the kind of integrity she would bring to the second highest political office of our land.
So what do we do with all of this? I am encouraging each and everyone to exercise their right to vote! I am encouraging people to brave those difficult conversations with love and respect. I encourage us all to pay attention to what bottom-line a policy is arising out of, and speak out loud when we see a policy being built upon faulty or fear based logic. I am encouraging us all to stay positive and work toward positive change, but call what is untrue, untrue. Volunteer with local voter registration efforts, drive those without transportation to the polls, keep communication open. Undoubtedly this blog will inspire many “shut up and sing” responses, and if you need to do that, I’ll listen. But, the stakes are too high and the silence is in this situation becomes implied consent. So I will continue to speak with as much love and clarity as I can this political season, and welcome honest and sincere dialog.
Deepak Chopra http://www.huffingtonpost.com/deepak-chopra/obama-and-the-palin-effec_b_123943.html