But that was just the beginning. Once a critical mass of the uncritical masses bought into this ultimate protection racket, the unofficial powers behind the official ones recognized they had carte blanche to act on their own behalf and hide behind "national security." In the decade since the Towers came down, we have seen an endless war in Afghanistan, and a tragic and costly one in Iraq. When that war began, those who questioned it (e.g., Phil Donohue) were simply taken off the air. The press became cheerleaders for a war that had little to do with protection of America and Americans and everything to do with perpetuating the warfare state and the oil empire.
Someone remarked several years ago that the difference between Pravda and the American press is that Soviet citizens knew they were being lied to. Never before in the history of this country have the parameters of official conversation been so narrow. In true and frightening Orwellian fashion, truth has become "privatized" as left and right are served up separate and conflicting stories to insure they remain ... separate and conflicting. Regardless of the intent of the 9/11 attacks, regardless of who was behind them, the result has been a structure that has effectively divided, conquered and immobilized the American people.
Until now ...
The good news is the body politic is finally emerging from its torpid slumber. Both the Tea Party movement and the growing ranks of progressives undergoing "hopium" withdrawal, signal an awakening to a more ominous emergency: Our democratic republic is rapidly sliding down the slippery slope toward totalitarianism. This acknowledgment, while initially difficult to face, is ultimately empowering. Because the first step in healing a condition is acknowledging it. Or, in Swami's words, "The truth shall upset you free."
And how do we face this emergency? First by emerging from fear and separation and seeing that despite our divisions, the American people are deeply united on one thing: What we have now isn't working and the predators on Wall Street have overpowered the producers on Main Street. Progressives blame corporations, conservatives rail against the state ... and continuing the conversation at the level of bipolar "politics as usual" will only exacerbate the emergency. However, if we emerge from the polarized political puppet show, we see "the man behind the curtain" is the corporate state the power of enormous financial leverage combined with the coercive power of a government-for-hire with the power to legislate "illegal" laws.
As more and more Americans are awakening to these inconvenient truths, we must arise to yet another emergent seeing: As Einstein famously said, a problem cannot be solved with the same thinking that created it. So if we merely replace the old villain (Muslim extremists) with the new one (the Corporate State), we're missing the holistic message and are buying into the same "assaholic" model that brought us to where we are today.
Instead of seeing the "sociopathogens" that have been afflicting the body politic as individuals or even groups of individuals, it's far more helpful to see them as fields of beliefs and behaviors that are fed by our own fears, unhealed wounds and programmed beliefs. Consider that while Enron was a sociopathic entity, not everyone who worked for that company was a sociopath. However, to keep their job they had to engage in sociopathic behavior. So, the emergent awakening is that we have allowed the amoral sociopathic credo of the rule of gold ("Doodoo unto others before they can doodoo unto you") to overrule the Golden Rule.
As Bruce Lipton and I point out in Spontaneous Evolution, when religion ceased to be the dominant force in our civilization, because "human nature abhors a moral vacuum," the raw power of "the 3 M's" (Materialism, Money and the Machine) came in to fill the breach. While old-fashioned religionists on the right and progressive communitarians on the left both see the problem, because we have been so divided into warring camps, we haven't until now been able to unite and stand for the virtues and values that the 90% of us who aren't sociopaths would choose to live by.
Yes, it's challenging and frustrating to hear the "other side" attack our side through misunderstandings, stereotypes, lies and distortions. But perhaps it's time to rise to yet another emergent seeing: Instead of "fighting their liars," it's time to gather around a larger and more powerful truth. As Jesus said, "Resist not evil" meaning, we find far more true power in standing for something than fighting against.
Swami For Precedent: A 3-Step Program
Seven years ago, I wrote a book and launched a campaign called Swami for Precedent. No, it wasn't a campaign to get my alter ego elected President. Rather it was to choose a new "precedent": Government of the people, by the people and for the people, where the government does our bidding, not the bidding of the highest bidder. Essentially, it was a campaign to elect ourselves to recognize that only by evolving from passive children of God to proactive adults of God could we bring goodness to earth. It grew out of the spiritually mature realization that we are not victims of a wrathful God or a random Universe, but aware and awake co-creators of our world.
At the time, we subtitled the book "A 7-Step Plan to Heal the Body Politic and Cure Electile Dysfunction" because there was no time for 12 steps. Well now, seven years down the line we've boiled it town to three steps:
1. Wake up laughing.
2. Wise up loving.
3. Show up growing.