Tuesday, September 09, 2008

An answer for MoxieLife

MoxieLife asks an important question: "Politics is ultimately dividing. Us versus Them. We are MORE right then they are. Division isn't waling the path of my spirituality.

How did Jesus, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, the Dalai Lama do it? How did they stay in touch with their spiritual path for the higher good and participate in the political landscape?

How do you do it?"

Politics- if pursued in a moral and ethical manner- IS a spiritual act. The ultimate intent of a political race is- or should be- to elect the person who will do the most good for the most people. It is where believe meets the pavement, where spirituality is put to practical use. To stand aloof, pretending one is above such worldly things, is to be less spiritual, not more- you are not doing your best for your fellow man.

But notice I said "if pursued in a moral and ethical manner". This why, although I am not a Republican or a McCain supporter, I have been castigating my fellow UU bloggers for the tone of their posts. It has been said that if one commits an atrocity, one is also committing all future atrocities. We have seen this proven true in the Balkans and the Middle East- but it is even more true in the world of politics.

I believe in karma- not necessarily in a supernatural sense, but as an observed consequence. In the long run, one cannot get good results from evil acts. This is the point that those who support torture don't get... using situational ethics, one can always construct a circumstance in which it seems "right" to commit acts one knows to be wrong- IF that situation is seen as an isolated event, separated from the rest of history. But there is no such thing as an isolated event. You can convince yourself that THIS election is so important that "all's fair"... but all you're really doing is poisoning the electoral process, ensuring that there will never be a clean, fair election.

All it takes to end the cycle- be it armed violence or violence done to the truth- is for one side to hold themselves to a higher standard, even if they think it will cause them to lose. In very short order, they will become recognized as the good guys; they will be able to speak with a moral authority that people will respond to, and the other side cannot answer with. The ultimate victory will be theirs. This, I believe, is why Jesus advised to turn the other cheek... sooner or later, human empathy and the innate sense of fairness will turn society against the aggressor. By accepting the first two slaps, you can change humankind for the better. If nobody does this, the ultimate defeat will be everyone's.

I had thought I could depend on rational, religious bloggers to be good examples of how politics could be discussed in an ethical, and yes, spiritual manner; and did find a couple, with (as might be predicted) ChaliceChick leading the call. But for the majority- with apologies to Simon and Garfunkle, "my words like silent raindrops fell, And echoed In the wells of silence."

I know how I reconcile my spirituality and my politics; I have witnessed how CC and Ms. Theologian reconcile theirs. I can't see how very many other bloggers do.


goodwolve said...

You have to admit it is hard not to be vindictive or cast a mean word. I appreciate your comments... it reminds me that when I speak what I believe is the truth there needs to be no malice in those words. A tough lesson during tough times.

Robin Edgar said...

"I had thought I could depend on rational, religious bloggers to be good examples of how politics could be discussed in an ethical, and yes, spiritual manner;"

Well, at least when it comes to U*U "religious bloggers", a good number of them are not terribly rational. In fact their status as "religious bloggers" is open to considerable debate, even if their name is prefixed by the honorific Rev. . .

Joel Monka said...

Yes, it is hard- very hard. It helps me to remember that even when wrong, their end goals are the same as ours, only their methods differ; and when proven wrong, they eventually come around. Reagan changed course a few times, as did Clinton, and even Bush- eventually. Even if you believe the candidate to be a gloryhound who doesn't really care about anything but him/herself, remember that they have to do good to keep their coveted office. And, of course, a President if not a king- Congress is a great leavening factor.

Joel Monka said...

All human beings are flawed, Robin- I don't have to be a Christian to know that.

hosking said...

I have found the political blogs are getting distorted no matter the blogger's religious affiliation. I do try to keep politics out of my blog.

I know who I'm backing and why. I don't feel the need to tell others I'm right and they are not.

CeeJay said...

Good post, Joel. I think that when we start talking about people instead of issues, it is easy to say hurtful and untrue things. What really bothers me about the campaigning this year is how much is about individual people and how little is about problems and possible solutions. This nation is in one heck of a mess and people are talking about everything but ways to fix it. It's like people on a sinking boat arguing about who forgot to bring a bucket instead of looking for the life vests.

Chalicechick said...

Smile. What you've written here is very kind, though I have to note that once I had defended Hillary on the grounds that I did, I pretty much had to defend Palin or it would have been betraying what I said I stood for.


Robin Edgar said...

"It's like people on a sinking boat arguing about who forgot to bring a bucket instead of looking for the life vests."

Or, in the case of U*U bloggers, perhaps it's more like people on a sinking ship of fools arguing about who forgot to install life boats instead of looking for the barracuda repellent. . . ;-)