Three things -- personal, political and economic -- that you can do to insure we the people reclaim America from "they the very, very few people": Cultivate Courage and Truth; Expand the Nonvoter Vote; Put Your Money Where Your Mouse is... and support news services like OpEd News.
In her most recent book, Getting a Grip: Creating Clarity and Courage in a World Gone Mad, Frances Moore Lappé offers an enlightening statistic. A century ago, the native population of India outnumbered the British civil servants ruling them by a ratio of 300,000 to one. It wasn’t until Gandhi awakened the people of India from the trance of powerlessness that they were able to organize and become an independent state.
We Americans are in a trance of powerlessness as well, but it is even more insidious. Here we have the right to vote, the right to speak out, the right to petition -- and we even have a founding document that tells us that we have the right to overrule our rulers when they go astray -- yet we the people seem to have silently resigned ourselves to being ruled by “they the very, very few people.” Our job? Shut up and go shopping.
Each election cycle, those of us who still care enough to get involved fervently work for whichever lesser evil most closely approximates our “tribal” affiliation. “Red” tribe polarizes against “blue,” “blue” against “red” and Americans on both sides are continually reminded why they are supposed to dislike and mistrust one another. Consequently, we have been so divided by our differences that we have failed to defend the core values that unite 95% of us.
All of this is starting to change, and perhaps the most surprising manifestation of this change is the Ron Paul for President campaign. Who would have imagined six months ago that right there in every Republican Presidential debate there would be a candidate speaking so much truth that he would embarrass the others by winning the straw polls conducted at the end of each debate?
Somehow, Ron Paul has managed to coalesce the support of libertarian Republicans, antiwar progressives, Christian fundamentalists -- in short, anyone who sees through the illusion of neoconservative and neoliberal policies in the service of empire. While his candidacy is still a long shot, his supporters are acting as if he has a real chance, and consequently he does. Over the past few months, he has raised as much money as anyone on the Republican side, and he has raised more money from military personnel than any candidate on either side. Regardless of how he fares in the primaries, Ron Paul’s campaign represents a growing “up-wising” that will continue to grow.
So, how can we act now to turn this up-wising into an actual evolution? Here are three simple steps that will move us in the right direction:
1. Cultivate Courage and Truth.
2. Expand the Nonvoter Vote.
3. Put Your Money Where Your Mouse Is.
1. Cultivate Courage and Truth
A key part of political evolution is realizing that our individual psyches aggregated collectively have a lot more to do with what happens in “reality” than we might imagine. Two years ago, the growing awareness on the part of the body politic created a “field” that made Cindy Sheehan’s campaign possible, a campaign that helped bring about a mass awakening about the war. And look what happened this week. Out of left field (or perhaps right field) comes an intelligence report that undercuts the entire Bush-Cheney “let’s make war on Iran” juggernaut.
We can simply take this as happy coincidence, or understand that the more we pull our collective consciousness out of denial, the more we will create a container to hold and “metabolize” disturbing truths. The hardest thing we have to face is the betrayal at the highest levels of America’s founding principles and fundamental security. How difficult is it to face betrayals by trusted authorities? Just ask the individuals who were molested by pedophile priests. Just ask their families. A few weeks ago, I heard a man talking about his own molestation by a priest when he was eight years old. The most tragic thing of all, he said, was the silence. He knew he could never tell his parents, because they couldn’t handle such a betrayal, and they would simply go into denial.
Pretty much the way Americans have gone into denial about the likely complicity of our government in the 911 attacks. Once you cross that “Rubicon”, however, you are able to recognize the collapse of the Twin Towers as no different than any other planned demolition of those hotels in Las Vegas. You are then able to encompass the testimony of 911 hero William Rodriguez who claims there were explosions in the basement a few seconds before the first plane hit the Towers, or the testimony of 232 architects not in the employ of our government or foreign officials who are familiar with “false flag” operations
and see 911 as one of these. (Be sure to read about Operation Gladio in the “false flag” links, or read more here about it in my article on David Ray Griffin.)
As of 18 months ago, half of all Americans think there is something funky about the official 911 story. Those of us who do suspect the official account must build a bridge for those who are afraid to face the implications of such a massive betrayal. Facing this together will help restore the heart and soul of America, so here is my oversimplified boil down: In regards to the powers that be in power, their greatest weapon is fear and their greatest fear is the truth. Please consider how empowering this information is.
Like the monsters in the movie Monsters, Inc., these powers feed off of our fear. And while they may seem super-powerful, truth is their “kryptonite.” So, the more more of us reduce our fear and build a container to hold the truth, the more likely it is that the wall of lies will finally crumble in 2008. As I suggested earlier, the key to political transformation is the transformation of our own individual psyches. We have to simultaneously be able to see disturbing truths -- and yet minimize their disturbance to our own heart, mind and field.
This past weekend, I participated in a workshop with Howard Martin of the HeartMath Institute. He offered a simple process to calm the heart so we think more clearly. Next time you find yourself feeling despondent, discouraged, or disheartened about the news you are seeing, take a break and try this. Calmly focus your attention on your heart, and begin to breathe into and out of the heart. Then bring thoughts of love, gratitude and appreciation into your heart. This has a tendency to synchronize heart and brain, and shift us from our reactive hind-brain and put us into our creative forebrain.
Remember that an important quality of the awakened heart is courage. The way we bring forth the courageous leaders is through our own. Build it and they will come!
2. Expand the Nonvoter Vote.
In Swami for Precedent, I make the serious yet humorous point that “nobody” won the 2000 election. Fewer than 50% of the registered voters voted, indicating that the majority of voters preferred nobody to anybody running. Why do so few people vote? Well, as Jim Hightower remarked, “If people were meant to vote, we’d be given candidates.” Now it’s time for us to take another important step in building the field: Register unregistered voters, and that includes ourselves!
Just as the prerequisite for winning the lottery is buying a ticket, the prerequisite for winning an election is registering to vote, and then voting. As respected journalists such as Mark Crispin Miller offer substantial evidence that our voting system is seriously flawed if not rigged, this is all the more reason for an overwhelming number of Americans to show up and take back the government. The more of us who show up, the more difficult it will be to rig the election. Consider last November, that in key states the move for regime change was so strong that Democratic voters were able to prevail in spite of dirty tricks.
Again, build it and they will come. Do you want to see Ron Paul make a showing, and show the world that fewer and fewer Americans are buying the neocon con? Register Republican, and vote in your state’s primaries. (You can always switch back to Democrat or Independent.) Do you believe a Democratic Party victory in 2008 is as easy as ABC (Anybody But Clinton)? Voice your choice. Yes, our political system is exasperatingly binary, but still the primaries are the primary way we can influence these binary choices.
The American Evolution means a critical mass of citizens evolving to understand and embrace our power, both inside and outside the political matrix. So ... keep your heart from falling into the pit of fear, and step forward to make sure your voice is heard. I’m making it my mission to enroll three nonvoters this month to register -- with the intention to vote. Would you be willing to do the same? (Hey, registering yourself counts as “one” right there!)
3. Put Your Money Where Your Mouse Is ... and Feed Two Birds With One Scone!
If you’re reading this, you probably already realize that mainstream media is a sham and a scam. And yet, we continue to support this media unconsciously. What if the 50 million or so Americans who already see through the illusion shifted just $100 a year from the B.S. media to independent media? Sure, that’s just $5 billion, but it’s a start.
While I’ve been able to support my favorite news services in the past with a check here or a credit card there, this year I’ve come up with an idea that I hope you will support. I call it “Put Your Money Where Your Mouse Is” and “Feed Two Birds With One Scone.” If you intend to buy any of Swami’s products as gifts this year, I have decided to use a generous portion of what I make to support one of my favorite online alternative news services, OpEd News.
Not only does OpEd News include some important news stories from the mainstream press, but they offer a forum for articulate writers and bloggers. They’ve grown in influence and reach every year, and I would like to help them prosper so they can become even more formidable in 2008. So ... when you go online to order Swami products between now and the end of the year, and you go to the shopping cart check out, underneath the credit card information you will see a box called Promotional Code. All you have to do is to type “OpEd News” into that box, and I will designate 20% of that order (less shipping charges, which are included in the retail price) to OpEd News.
If this seems like a high percentage of gross to offer, it is. Here’s why I’m doing it. Of course, I expect it will expand my sales in general, and that’s good. But I’m also serious about a new economic model that recirculates money within our own community. I want to make sure we financially sustain the institutions that sustain us. This particular model has three benefits. It helps support the work I am doing. It spreads enlightened laughter to folks on your list. And, it also goes to support our own emerging political infrastructure. Please go here to the Give the Gift of Laughter, and if any of these books, CDs or DVDs call out to you, order them now and know that 20% will be going to support OpEd News.
Give the Gift of Laughter. Use this link for a thorough description of available Swami CD’s, DVD, and books.
Or use this link to go directly to the Swami Products order page.
Steve Bhaerman is a writer, humorist and uncommontator who's been posing as cosmic comic Swami Beyondananda for the past 20 years. He is the author of seven books including Spontaneous Evolution: Our Positive Future and a Way to Get There From Here, co-written with Bruce Lipton, and Reuniting America, A Toolkit for Changing the Political Game, with co-author Joseph McCormick.