"America's two political parties spent $4 billion on the last election
and it worked -- the American people were soundly defeated."
-- Swami Beyondananda
What does an awakening voter who sees deadly flaws in both candidates do?
We've been hearing for years the contextual question, "What would Jesus do?" and even "What would Jefferson do?" So I offer my own question for setting the context of the 2016 elections: What would sanity do?
What is Sanity?
Before discussing strategy, let's consider the concept of "sanity". As Bruce Lipton and I write in Spontaneous Evolution:
Being sane and being normal aren't necessarily the same condition. Sanity is not a trait that can be tabulated by a show of hands. As psychologist and humanistic philosopher Erich Fromm reminds us, just because millions of people share the same vices doesn't make these vices virtues. Sanity is derived from the Latin word sanus, which means "healthy." By sharing a common root, the meaning of sanity and healthy are bound by a strong relationship. That which makes us healthier, makes us more sane. And vice versa.
In looking at our current political and economic system from this standpoint, we have a system of "institutionalized insanity" where society's institutions are clearly at odds with our wellbeing. Consider:
We have a hugely expensive health care system that is unhealthy and uncaring, run primarily for the benefit of drug companies, insurance companies and HMOs.
We have a food and energy system that systematically destroys our soil, water and air.
We have a military industrial complex with a huge secret budget, and we are the primary exporter of weaponry to the world.
We have an educational system that seems more intent on crowd control and cover-your-ass political correctness than in cultivating innate genius or a true moral compass.
We have a political system designed to benefit a small percentage of the uncommonly wealthy rather than the commonwealth.
We have a casino economy where there are a few big, big winners and mostly losers.
We have a banking system ... well, as the Swami says, "I'm nostalgic for the good old days ... when PEOPLE robbed BANKS."
Oh, and here in the "land of the free" we have 5% of the world's population, but account for 25% of the world's incarcerated.
So Why Is This Important?
Ultimately no political revolution or evolution -- partisan or transpartisan -- can succeed without striking, echoing and amplifying the chord of common virtues and values that are the EXACT OPPOSITE of what our civilization is promoting through its priorities and policies.
So the first distinctions that "sanity" must recognize are two key principles of political science:
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Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
The tried-and-true way to keep corrupt power in power is "divide and conquer".
On our recent visit to the small town of Fairfield, Iowa, we experienced first-hand the political divide that keeps the body politic virtually paralyzed, with well-meaning Americans unable to act in accord. We met and spent time with three kinds of folks, all of whom we consider friends and "co-hearts":
Tie-dyed-in-the-wool Bernie activists
Hillary supporters who simply didn't understand why Bernie was peeing on her parade
Social conservatives who felt they had "no choice" but to vote for Trump
Each of these factions possessed an element of truth and clarity, and each felt extreme frustration, disheartenment and disempowerment. Each individual we spoke with would have looked at the markers of institutionalized insanity cited above and agreed that each of these conditions is unacceptable.
If that's the case, how is it that we are stuck with the choice -- or lack of choice -- we have now? And ... what is the evolutionary response to the clear and present crisis we face?
A New President, or a New Precedent?
I still remember what it felt like being in Washington, D.C. in November of 2008, a week or so after Obama was elected. It felt like the liberation of Paris, the fall of the Berlin Wall, with people just about dancing in the streets. But a lad, and a lack. It didn't take long for the hopium to wear off, and as the Swami said not long afterward, "the empire has a new face, but the same big fat ass."
Bottom line is the bottom line: The POTUS is the CEO of the American empire.
Even had Bernie been able to prevail in the primaries, he would have been up against the same entrenched system, and the same divided (and consequently, conquered) populace all adrenalized about "identity issues" while the identical issues we all face and largely agree upon (the ones cited above) go largely unaddressed.
As the Swami said in Swami for Precedent: A Seven-Step Plan to Heal the Body Politic and Cure Electile Dysfunction (see here) a dozen years ago, "If we the people choose a new PRECEDENT, a new President will follow." Sadly and truly, this idea is even more relevant today than it was during the Bush era. Back in those days, anti-war progressives shouted, "Impeach Bush!"
During the Obama years, conservatives cried, "Impeach Obama!"
Impeach the Corrupt Pay-to-Play System
It should be obvious that left and right need to come front-and-center to impeach the entire corrupt, pay-to-play system. And while many voters are choosing to "vote their conscience" in 2016 and cast their ballot for Green Party candidate Jill Stein or Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson, neither of these third parties will ever be a first party in the United States. Why? Because despite having original and functional ideas, they are parties of ideology each identified with either the left or the right.
What we require now is a movement of We the People coming from "deep center" -- not the muddled middle of a Michael Bloomberg seeking to preserve the status quo, but from a willingness to "face the music and dance together". This requires a political, psychological and spiritual maturity the American people have not yet demonstrated, and yet must cultivate.
Evolution HAS Played Its Trump Card.
We can no longer afford the dysfunction, and we can no longer hide behind safe ideological positions. Instead of polarizing around either/or, we must gather around both/and.
As Bruce and I point out in Spontaneous Evolution, nature is progressive AND conservative. Survival and thrival require both growth and protection.
Regardless of the outcome in November, awakening Americans from across the political spectrum must gather together in heartful, respectful conversation to cultivate and call forth our greatest intelligence. Instead of dueling dualities spending huge amounts of time, energy, money and resources to fight one another, these polarities of left and right must now become dynamic duo dance partners by considering together the functional aspects of both progressive and conservative:
How do we wish to progress?
What do we want to conserve?
Will we do it? Can we do it? They say necessity is the mother of invention, and considering what a "mother" our current political reality has become, we must necessarily evolve or risk losing the legacy our country's founders (with all their flaws) called forth: Government of the people, by the people, for the people, where the government does our bidding, not the bidding of the highest bidder.
Only by graduating from being manipulated by one side or another, and by gathering together beyond the two parties and outside the boundaries of the mainstream media can we activate the true heart and soul of America, and for the first time in a long time, be a beacon to the world. If this sounds "utopian", I refer you to the choice visionary philosopher R. Buckminster Fuller outlines in his book of the same title: Utopia or Oblivion.
Given THAT dualistic choice, may we choose wisely.
Book referred to in this article:
Spontaneous Evolution: Our Positive Future and a Way to Get There From Here
by Bruce H. Lipton and Steve Bhaerman.
About the Author
Steve Bhaerman is an internationally known author, humorist, and workshop leader. For the past 23 years, he has written and performed as Swami Beyondananda, the "Cosmic Comic." Swami's comedy has been called "irreverently uplifting" and has been described both as "comedy disguised as wisdom" and "wisdom disguised as comedy." A political science major, Steve has written - since 2005 - a political blog with a spiritual perspective, Notes From the Trail, hailed as an encouraging voice "in the bewilderness." His latest book, written with cellular biologist Bruce H. Lipton, PhD is Spontaneous Evolution: Our Positive Future and a Way to Get There From Here. Steve is active in transpartisan politics and the practical application of Spontaneous Evolution. He can be found online at www.wakeuplaughing.com.