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With So Much Diversity, Can There Be Unity and Peace?

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Many advocates of the New Age movement are apolitical, but without remorse.  Some refuse to learn about current events, because they do not want to incorporate any "negativity" into their lives. In the book Mindful Politics: A Buddhist Guide to Making the World a Better Place, edited by Melvin McLeod, we find these words at the beginning of section one:

"We are all equal, says the Dalai Lama, in seeking happiness and peace. Yet, as individuals and as nations, we value our own happiness over all others'.  This is called "ego" in Buddhism and it is the root of our suffering, both personal and collective. He proposes a new approach to global politics based on taking responsibility for the happiness of all people."

If anti-political, New Age people stay calm, detached, objective, and centered in serenity, they should be able to deal with current events and engage in political thinking. In the introduction of the book described above, Melvin McLeod said, "It's not treaties that will really bring peace in the Middle East. It's not legislation that will really change the lives of those who live in poverty and misery. It is only forgiveness, generosity, awareness, kindness, and selflessness that will really make a difference." Earlier in the book Introduction, on page 11, McLeod writes: "We have to recognize that we can't really change the world. We can't really change who others are and what they think. We can only work with our own heart and mind. But the transformative power of that is extraordinary." 

Since I haven't read the rest of the book, I am expecting and hoping that the other writers in the book will emphasize that we should still, nevertheless, keep working to create better legislation and better treaties.

The last group I want to identify consists of the Progressives and Leftists of various Socialist, Communist, and Green Parties. I have a kinship with this group also. The reforms it urges for ecological sustainability, social justice, egalitarianism, and a non-interventionist foreign policy are urgently needed. Probably most Leftists do not practice meditation and prayer, or believe in a higher Self or reincarnation. But as secular humanists, agnostics, and atheists, they can be just as ethical as other groups associated with spiritual practices.        

With so much diversity and so many different worldviews within the United States, it is no wonder why the military-industrial-congressional complex, or the wealthiest one percent, can easily manipulate and maintain control of the disparate masses.  Based on current trends, some would argue that the world is becoming a prison for the 99 percent. They point to the passage of laws that increasingly restrict our free speech, and by the increase in surveillance and Homeland "Security." Meanwhile, the planet is being plundered and devastated by corporate capitalism.    

Looking for Solutions That Work for a Diversity of Views

So what is the solution?  Average Americans must realize the importance of democracy, especially consensus and participatory democracy, whenever possible.  Somewhere--if not at home, then at school--we should learn conflict resolution skills. Our government must be both a Democracy and a Republic, that is, a Democratic Republic. It must be a democracy that provides guaranteed human rights that the so-called "mob" cannot deprive individuals of, and it must be a Republic in which our leaders, who represent larger groups of people, will actually represent all the people, and not just a select few. 

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The American people must realize that there are "blowback" repercussions if we police the world and exploit the labor and resources of other countries for the benefit of our transnational corporations. If, by using a black budget, the CIA is sabotaging democratically elected governments of developing countries that refuse to be client states of the United States, we the citizens, who allow such a government to exist, can expect to reap what our government has sown. Would we want a foreign government to have large military bases on our land? Of course not! So why do we think the people of other nations welcome our bases on theirs?   

There is one branch of government that is most responsible for our plight. Potentially, however, it is the most powerful branch of government and can actually rectify our many problems. I refer to the national legislative branch, the U.S. Congress. Currently, only ten percent of Americans approve of Congress, which is quite pathetic. But you could also argue that a government is only as good as the people in it, or as good as the citizens who empower it.

We the people have to take responsibility for allowing the one percent to control us by controlling our Congress. Importantly, we need to recognize that, although members of Congress enjoy the pay, prestige, and perks of the job, they need big financial contributions to get re-elected. The wealthy One Percent is able to donate the most money, which it does as long as members of Congress do their bidding. For this reason, the American people must realize the importance of taking all money out of politics. If we do that, we can enable the Congress to play the role it needs to play to meet the needs of the many groups that form our own society and the international community. The best political remedy for our local communities, our nation, and the world is to force the U.S. Congress to maximize democracy and promote world peace. 

The following recommended amendments and laws, expressed as demands, can be made to members of Congress, even if it takes several generations for some of them to be implemented. These demands could be the basis for a new political party, which could be called the New Congress Party. If no other political party sees the need to make these specific demands of the U.S. Congress, then a new political party is needed. To make radical improvements, radical changes must be made--the sooner the better. Here are some of the most important:

1.  Take leadership to dismantle all nuclear weapons and nuclear energy power plants, simultaneously and voluntarily, the world over as soon as possible.

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2.  Bring home all U.S. troops and close down the government's 700 military bases around the world. Even with such a drawdown, our nation would retain more than enough capacity to defend its own borders. The money previously spent on the military would be used to create jobs and rebuild our nation's infrastructure: "[A]nd they shall turn their swords into ploughshares." (Isaiah 2:4). Military ships, submarines, and planes can be used for low-budget travel and tourism. 

3.  Remove the influence of private financial contributions and of lobbyists on members of Congress. The Library of Congress will create a website that will become an online forum and clearinghouse for all public policy advocacies. All positions and arguments will be publicized. Everyone will know who is lobbying for what and why. Publicly, provide the same finances to the political campaigns of the seven largest national political parties, and give all seven parties equal public exposure.  

4.  Elect the U.S. House of Representatives through a system of Proportional Representation, and abolish the U.S. Senate. Why should California and Wyoming have the same number of senators, when California's population is about 70 times greater? The seven largest national political parties will be empowered in a single-chambered national legislature under a system of proportional representation. Under such a system, the National Green Party may, for example, get 15 percent of the vote in a 435-membered House of Representatives. By contrast, in Indiana, a conservative state currently entitled to ten members in the House of Representatives, it may be that, of the top seven national political parties, the Indiana Republican Party will get to select five of the ten House members.

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Roger Copple is 65 years old. He retired in 2010 from teaching general elementary, mostly third grade, and special education at the middle and high school levels in the public schools of Indianapolis. He now lives in Bradenton, FL. He is (more...)

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