Friday, May 4, 2012

Gods, Politics, and Idolatry

Here's a good read - Jim Wallis (author of God's Politics) takes a jab at the distortions that come from our political process in The Idolatry of Politics and the Promise of the Common Good.

It's an illuminating perspective. He echoes thoughts I've shared regarding the Container of Conflict that is poisoning our public processes and institutions:

"When conflict arises in our society, each political side invariably does two things: Make us afraid of the problem, and then blame it on the other side. What they don't do is work together to solve the problems -- they are always running to win, rather than finding (or creating) solutions for the common good."
I think, among all of the great points Wallis offers, that this one is the key. We are living in a society that has discovered, and been manipulated into, a culture of (a container of) conflict. Conflict serves those who seek power, because it's the perfect device through which to deceive.

Deception is all over our political process. Why? Because deception is the practice of gathering support one has not earned.

I encourage us all to step back from the rhetoric of conflict. Conflict serves the monied interests. Conflict serves the whole system that has been superimposed on our national community, our democracy, and our experience of the world. We can see it most clearly in our political dialog, because that's where the system focuses the "exchange" (or exercise) of power. It's the point of the spear of the conflict-driven system.

And it's all an illusion. We can just say no. We can embrace one another. We can talk about and deeply listen and try to understand the experiences of our neighbors, instead of demonizing their perspectives and world view.

Republicans are not the enemy. Democrats are not the enemy. Conflict is creating that illusion. To quote A.J. Muste,

"There is no way to peace. Peace is the way."
The good news is we can do that with people. The bad news is that we can't do that with corporations.

Wallis says,

"...we will never be able to put values back into politics until we take the money out of it."
Sure enough. However, I am heartened by the fantastic and effective rise in citizen involvement that has been catalyzed by social media. We have created an amazing vehicle - the Internet - that can carry our collective voices directly to one another and to the people who run our corporations and our public institutions. 


And we won't turn back the clock, because it is the young people of our country that will inherit our political power. Young people work the Internet like another set of arms, legs, eyes, and ears.

I am hopeful that the people will be able to wrest control from the shadows, and bring it back into the light.

As long as we keep the Internet free and uncensored, we have a chance. Democracy has a chance.

Peace has a chance.