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The "Enthusiasm Gap" Reflects a Spiritual Reality

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Andrew Schmookler     Permalink
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Today's "conservatives" are plugged into a spiritual power. It is the power of darkness, or evil, but it is a spiritual power nonetheless. And thus it can fill the right-wingers with a passionate intensity.

The liberals overall --and especially liberalism's champions in the arena of power-- are NOT plugged into a spiritual power. They therefore don't perceive at the level of spirit, and thus do not recognize evil for what it is. And beyond that failure of recognition, they also do not feel empowered enough by a countervailing spiritual power of the good that they can face evil without being governed by fear.

What now opposes the spiritually powerful force of evil that has arisen on the American right is NOT the spiritually powerful force of the good. The voice that opposes evil is not that of a prophet, the fight is not waged with the determination of a St. George, those confronting evil in the arena do not rise like the martyr over the fear of injury.

The opponent of evil is, rather, a political force that fails to connect with the spirit and thus becomes small, and feeling small, becomes governed by fear and easily bullied.

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The spiritually alive the prophets, the martyrs--do not fear the ability of power to hurt them, regardless of the strength of that opposing power. But look at the Democrats and how they act in the face of what they see as the menacing power of the right.

See how often the Democrats' whole approach is governed by fear. Consider the timidity with which they have dealt with this tax cut issue, and how they've dealt with the Republicans all along. It is not how St. Peter dealt with the Romans, nor how Samuel dealt with Saul, nor how St. George dealt with the dragon.
Unlike the prophets and the martyrs, those who wield power for the cause of liberalism allow themselves to be bullied.

Strength comes from connection with the spirit. It was a spiritual force that lifted Obama to the presidency, and the spiritual aspirations of millions around the world gained expression and showed their radiant face as Obama swept to the presidency.

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But then those to whom American liberalism has given the role of champions in the arena of power --Obama and the Congress--showed how disconnected from the spirit they were. (The mystery remains, how was a man able to manifest so much spirit as a candidate so unable or unwilling to show spirit once elected president?)

The inadequate connection of contemporary American liberalism to the power of the spirit has been costly throughout the political drama of the past decade.

It allowed great damage to be inflicted on the country by a lawless presidency, and it has allowed an unprincipled opposition to grow in power to hamper progress on all fronts in meeting our serious national challenges.

And now that cost is manifested, as the mid-term elections approach, in the "Enthusiasm Gap."

When Obama and the Democrats attempt to lead us progressives from a place lacking spirit, how could there not be an "Enthusiasm Gap?" The literal meaning of "enthusiasm" is "possession by a god." Coming from a spiritless place, how could these Democrats "inspire" their base, the word "in-spire" being intimately bound with "spirit."

The people and cultures whose understanding is embedded in the development of our language understood that in matters like enthusiasm and inspiration, a spiritual force is involved. To close that "enthusiasm gap," the Democrats will have to act on that same ancient understanding.

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But whether they do or not, we Americans face a clear choice in this election. Between the side empowered by the dark forces of destruction and the side that, though weakened by its lack of spirit, nonetheless does work to meet our nation's challenges, the better choice is clear.

And given what has been visible about the degrading
tendencies of today's Republican Party, and given how much the future soundness
of this country depends on how well America meets its present challenges, our
making that better choice could hardly be more important.

Sometimes our enthusiasm must derive from the passion of our repudiation of evil.

 

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Andy Schmookler, an award-winning author, political commentator, radio talk-show host, and teacher, was the Democratic nominee for Congress from Virginia's 6th District. His new book -- written to have an impact on the central political battle of our time -- is (more...)
 

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