The Religiosity and Spirituality of Politics

Oh yes I did…bring up the two most controversial topics in one blog post.

The way we perform politics is much like the expression of religious dogma. We rigidly control and divide based on what we claim to be the ‘truth.’ Wouldn’t it be cool if we let go of our beliefs, all of us, and performed politics with a sense of awe, wonder, openness, and mystery in search of universal wisdom?

The Humor of Political Difference

I am really happy about the number of women who were elected to Congress this fall. I posted a status update to this effect a few weeks ago. One of my friends, someone that I knew very well when I was a child, wrote a snide remark in response to my post. Normally, I might have found this to be offensive. But I know that he was, and probably still is, one of the funniest people I have ever known. I chose to feel amused and I responded with a similarly snide, yet convivial, comment.

Perhaps the true problem in our political system is that we are too serious and angry. It is not our difference that is problematic– it is our identification with, and interpretation of, these differences that causes conflict.

So let’s lighten up. Let’s focus on the seriousness of the issues we are exploring, but let go of the personal attachments that cause us to react with emotional violence. Let’s create a more miraculous world through our political system, and have fun doing it.

The Tao of Political Leadership

“The female overcomes the male with
stillness,
Lying low in stillness.
Therefore if a great country gives way
to a smaller country,
It will conquer the smaller country.
And if a small country submits to a
great country,
It can conquer the great country.”
— Tao te Ching
How would a Taoist view influence politics and activism? Why are we so afraid to submit? Why do we allow fear to govern our private and public lives? Why do we grasp and cling to our ideas? What would happen if we let go?

Bifurcated Bipartisanship

I love being part of bipartisan organizations, such as the League of Women Voters. It fills my heart with joy to experience Americans crossing political lines to achieve common goals. Such was the intended spirit of the Pennsylvania Ballot Access Coalition. Many years ago, I attended a fundraising dinner for this organization at the Shady Maple. At the time, I was a member of the state executive committee of Socialist Party-USA. I felt it was important to support candidates in my party, and others who were marginalized by the petitioning process in our commonwealth, to promote political participation. I put aside my personal political beliefs so that we could all focus on our common belief that all citizens, regardless of political party, should have access to the ballot in Pennsylvania.

Unfortunately, others in attendance did not pay attention when the introductory speaker reminded us of the need to put aside our political beliefs for the evening. I sat at the table with a few members of the Constitution Party and one woman went on and on about her feelings on various political issues – some of which I found to be offensive as a Jew and a Native American (not to mention as an American). I was given literature by another political party; I can’t remember which one because I recycled it upon returning home. While these experiences did provide some amusing conversation on the ride home, I was deeply saddened that it was so difficult for people to resist the urge to promote their party at a nonpartisan event.

I am grateful that I have never had such an experience as a board member or volunteer with my local League of Women Voters. I have had some other interesting experiences, but that will be another story for another day.