Monday, November 3, 2008

Barack at the Helm?

Does he really want to drive this thing? Can he? Can anyone? This Government needs more than somebody new at the helm, it needs a new engine, new transmission, new fuel source, and new brakes.
Seems that so many are willing to climb aboard if Obama is driving. I mean, I like him. He's likeable. But let's be realistic.
There is no point in being ecstatic or depressed on Tuesday night, no matter what the returns. Barack Obama is brilliant but fallible, prone to greatness but capable of folly. As much as I want to believe in his integrity, he has also been bought, and the list of top donors to his campaign is remarkably similar to the list of those who contributed to McCain. As Naomi Klein remarked at the Rio Theatre a couple of weeks ago, Obama is a centrist. He will go where the center is. So if we wish to steer this ship ourselves, or to have any sway over where this country goes, we must "move the center." This requires caring about local issues as well as global ones, caring about those who agree with us and those who think we're heathens, and finding an audible forum in which to express ourselves. Preaching to the choir is useless; we need to engage in compassionate and conscientious conversation with those who disagree. No pre-conditions.
What does that look like? Well-- here's a small scale but very useful case-- Barb is an example of someone in Santa Cruz engaged enough to be publicizing her picks for the upcoming election (Santa Cruz local ballot.) Thank you, Barb Roettger!
Here's a list of who has endorsed what:

The site where I posted Barb's picks was developed by my dad (Happy Belated Bday!) He is an architect of hope and the inventor of a number of sites that he believes will give hope a seat at the table, and I love him very much for many, many reasons. One reason is that he is a dedicated activist, who believes that through the internet we will ultimately re-possess our own system of governance which has been taken over, it seems, by crony capitalism - thugs, warlords, and multi-national mafiosos. I pray that this new administration will be the change it professes to be, but I also know that change usually happens on a small scale, first. It doesn't trickle down, it rises up.
Speaking of unsung heroes- I was fortunate enough to be at a dinner with Eve Ensler last week. She's famous for The Vagina Monologues- but her dedication to ending violence against women has now taken her to the Congo. As you know, there is ongoing war in the DRC and much of the reason the war still rages is that transnational corporations are mining Coltane (in all of our cell phone batteries - and primarily found in the DRC.) Women and girls, and in many cases boys, are being brutally raped by the militia while this war rages on, year after year, largely ignored by the countries with the resources to do something. This is on the scale of ugliness of the holocaust, and while we are aghast that people stood by and let the holocaust happen, we scarcely realize what is happening today. Check out her site to learn more:
None of this is new. Violence and domination has been a pattern in our consciousness for a long time. It seems to be getting more intense, but I suspect this is only because our awareness is growing- we have the wherewithall to be disturbed by what was once taken as normal. What I believe is that we have to be simultaneously working towards our own awakening, and that of all beings (abhyasa) and trusting in the goodness that sprouts up right in front of us (vairagyam). We need to be organizing tirelessly (abhyasa) and dancing as if everything were already perfect (vairagyam). We are such a strange melange of peoples- some are lost inside their avatars, playing out their desires and hopes in an entirely different realm, and some are so viciously convinced of the veracity of this realm that they have become fanatical - and will crumble if things do not go their way. The place to stand is on the knife's edge, believing in our hopes and dreams, and yet knowing the emptiness at the center of everything. Beyond beliefs is the realm of pure possibility, where everything is possible, and change is inevitable, and we are already free.