On Not Burning It Down

On Not Burning It Down

[NYC Journal – Politics Page]

What does it all add up to?

How to actually make things better?

We were angry. We had our reasons. We felt abandoned. Action was justified.

Someone stole fire from the gods. We used it to burn down the city walls.

A proud, rollicking chaos ensued, until a strong armored violence subdued it, and brought complete order and absolute silence.

We lived in a miserable peace and got angry again.

Wouldn’t it have been nice if we’d had a mechanism for political organization responsive to our needs and capable of evolving towards the better?

The great king is doing a great job. He’s incredible. Human rules don’t apply to him. He says anything and we worship its Truth; perhaps in the face of an undeniable refutation of one of his daydreamed facts, we have to shrug and say, “it’s what they all do” and we worship his cunning. His businesses profit from his political power and we call it “what anybody would do.” He suggests to a foreign leader that US government aid is contingent upon that leader investigating his political rival, and we clap and say, “he does what it takes to win!”, or we shrug and say, “he wasn’t thinking.” When the king’s investigated, a subordinate is convicted for obstruction of justice, making false statements, and witness tampering; the subordinate clams up and is then pardoned by the king; we shrug or nod, depending on the crowd. When people express alarm and compare his tactics to organized crime we say, “they all do it; he just does it better!”

The king listens to the lobbyists who fund his election; the king is a great listener!

The king is doing a tremendous job. There’s no racism left in the country; well, a little backlash racism against white people continues to haunt us, but he’s doing what he can to combat that lingering outrage. Immigration was destroying the country; but he’s put an end to all that — now people know if they come here seeking refuge, they’re going to get held up outside the border or locked in a cage until we can send them back — now people know what kind of a strong, no-nonsense country we are. Under his wise leadership, we’ve defeated the plague and kept the economy roaring forward. If you don’t think so, then you’re a fool. If you prove to us that it isn’t so, then we have to blame everyone who was not the king — after all, what better answer is there to a pandemic than saying it isn’t happening while going on with business as usual — where can you find one example of a nation that’s done a better job of dealing with this worldwide annoyance?, just one example?, I ask you?

The king is a great hero who is burning down the old way. No longer do we need different branches of government and different perspectives arguing, guarding against corruption, and laboriously hammering out compromises. That’s the old fashioned way of doing democracy! We want to do it in the new and exciting way as exemplified by Putin and Pinochet! An efficient democracy! The kind that you still call plain old “democracy”, but that is really much more clever and glorious; a kind of “powerful democracy” where a heroic figure rewards loyalists and punishes those who oppose his unbridled power. Truly a new idea in human history; never done before; people look at it and they can’t believe it, it’s so amazing.

Burn it down, king! Burn down the system! Raise your loyal supporters up! Let us taste the grandeur of palatial life! Let us imagine ourselves there in your presence, playing golf and enjoying the good life!

Let us burn down everything except your power, which of course must also be and remain forever the power of your fans.

The king is a fink. The king is a liar and a cheat. The king is a race-baiter and an enemy to the freedoms and anti-corruption measures necessary for the preservation of democracy.

But who’s really to blame? Isn’t it the system itself? Isn’t this king just another in a long line of kings pretending to care about the people, while actually only worshiping power? Don’t they all lie? Don’t they all cheat? Isn’t the system itself founded on systematic racial and economic oppression? Burn it down! Burn it down! No immigration regulation whatsoever! No police at all! Demolish everything! Burn it down!

We were living in the time of the creatures. Hand-sized cockroaches swarmed the walls of our beautiful park-side homes. Long-legged, yellow-eyed, yellow-fanged layered-mange jackals loped the ball fields and mall lots. Children threw bread to the pigeons, which grew incensed and flocked angrily squawking, pecking apart the children, ignoring the fallen loaf of Wonder bread.

Someone spoke up; many people applauded; some booed; those who booed went to another corner of the arena; one of them spoke up; many people applauded; some booed and then left that area of the coliseum; it was like that; it got louder and louder. The one side abandoned all values except winning. What would the other side do? How would the people react? Would it turn out they only actually cared about feeling like they were right and winning?

Maybe we calm down; maybe we gently reclaim our democracy; maybe we find a way forward together. Something like this: Vote Trump and his Republican enablers out; demand campaign finance reform and other anti-corruption measures; keep working on the right balance between the necessity of law enforcement and the necessity of equality under the law (and thus under law enforcement); keep working on finding more environmentally, socially and economically sustainable ways to organize our collective and private resources (ie: New Green Deals that this time allow people of all races and backgrounds to participate fully); keep working on the right balance between personal freedoms and collective responsibilities; keep working on a vibrant and fun economy within the context of a fair distribution of resources and opportunities; keep working to improve the system and the lives of all of us who live in and through it.

Democracy is not perfect. It can be made better or worse. We can only make democracy better if we preserve democracy. Democracy is worth preserving and part of preserving it is making it work for everyone; ie: making it better. Therefore we suggest everyone vote for Biden. Not Trump. Not a third-party candidate. Not for “sitting this one out.”

So many have dreamed of and fought and died for a government responsible to all the people. Look around in human history. There are possibilities here worth working and voting for, and the choice is obvious: an inveterate enemy to everything except his own momentary power and prestige, and the swamp of courtiers that has grown up around that mistake; versus a fundamentally decent person who will bring in a crew of people committed to honesty and good-government — the prerequisite for any political progress.

In an excessively polarized two-party system, the way forward is to vote for the less corrupt party and work within that party to make it and the government as a whole more and more honest and open. If you can keep that up long enough, the other party will either reform itself (ie: the wiser voices within that general political persuasion will gain more power within that party) or be replaced.

It is not true that some people are good and others are bad. We all have many impulses running through us, interacting with one another and with the impulses communicated to us from other people. We all also have the wise Light shining in and through, able to interact with and rule the rest of our conscious space to the degree we relax the ego-tripping and open up to loving kindness.

The relationship between what is Truly Wise within and our thoughts and actions is never perfect/1:1/literal. Our ability to hearken to and follow Kind Joy is a thing of degrees, and how wise we are also fluctuates moment by moment. But general trends are visible.

Donald Trump should be voted out not because he is “bad” and Joseph Biden “good”. Trump should be voted out of office because the impulses ruling the totality of his actions are headed in the wrong direction, and Biden and his crew — who desire a return to democratic norms — want to and can do better.

The wise thing for we the electorate to do is vote Biden in and help him and his government follow better impulses by demanding those impulses: honesty, clarity, competence, kind resolve, shared joy, the understanding that we are all in this together. These fundamental spiritual values guard and bolster democracy. They are the way forward.

Some people believe they have to vote for Trump in the hopes of securing another Supreme Court justice who agrees with them. Please consider: What use is the Supreme Court when the system has been so eroded that only the president and his momentary expediencies rule this country? [Please also note that the Supreme Court is clearly too powerful when the constitution can be made to move this way or that under this or that mindset, and the court’s rulings cannot be overturned by congress or anyone, and it’s members reign for life. But how to fix that situation???]

Given what we know about the stakes and the players, it is also worth putting some effort into safeguarding the integrity of this election.

Political statements: Oh, I want to make things better! Oh, please let me at least not make things worse! Oh, oh, oh!

Author: Lonesome John & Sorry Jim
Editors: Bartleby Willard & Amble Whistletown
Copyright: Andy Watson

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