The Choice to Evolve: Part II, Politics
The most potent tool in maintaining the status quo is our belief that change is impossible.
One of our favorite pastimes in my marriage is getting into livid, endless arguments over—literally—nothing. Just the other day we argued for four straight hours about imperialism’s part in the growth of technology (which neither one of us even knows a damn thing about). And so last night, as per our typical fashion of casually dropping a provoking thought that explodes into full-out war just as were snuggling into bed, I brought up Bernie Sanders. My husband and I share the same basic political views, so I didn’t mention Bernie to say that I liked him or why. I was pondering why I thought people didn’t like him, why he’s not the obvious choice—not only for me and millions of others—but for everybody.
So we did stay up until 1:30 in the morning talking about this, but we were actually agreeing. (Shocker, I enjoyed this version of our sport much, much more.) And what we concluded was that it wasn’t that people (or at least democrats) didn’t like what Bernie had to say, they just don’t believe he can do it. Whether it be his age, lack of alliances, blustery rhetoric, or idealism, the people who are against Bernie have realism at their base. They just don’t think he can pull it off. And yes, there are those who just like Hillary’s policies and politics better, but most of what seems to be coming from people is: “Yeah, everything Bernie says sounds great, but come on, how is he going to get anything done in the White House? We can’t afford to lose this to the Republicans.”
My intention here is not to write an endorsement of Bernie Sanders. My intention is to integrate the inner spiritual journey with the outer facets of life, and in this specific case, politics. Most people shy away from politics, with good reason. To take the time to page through complicated bills that may or may not have anything to do with us personally is insane. To investigate each candidate thoroughly, and then get ourselves to the voting box, when the candidate will likely not have any effect on our lives anyway is depressing. We avoid making those choices because deep down, we know they don’t really matter.
And yes, of course it does matter. But what we know silently in our hearts when all these politics are swarming us, is that all of these candidates came from the same can. We can’t help but wonder how many of them are people who decided that they wanted to be a politicians, and how many are people who felt a calling to make the world a better place. That difference is everything.
About six months ago I read a book that summed up all of this really nicely, but has been greatly discredited because of its author. Most people think of Russell Brand as a cracked-up comedian, they picture him as the narcissistic, wild-haired, hallucinating prick he often plays in movies. But truly, Russell is a deeply spiritual man, one who has done his work diligently and found not only his true self, but his worldly alignment. He has also done years worth of research, and in his book Revolution he explains that there is no hope for our current capitalist democracy. It simply does not represent the needs of the people, because its function is to represent the needs of corporations. Indeed, it’s no longer a taboo to admit that campaigns are funded by the corporate interests who want priority when the candidate is elected. It’s common knowledge that all the things we consume and are drawn to acquire are engineered by those same interests. We know, innately, that this is a method of control. We know, quietly, that we are not seen so much blessings of love and consciousness as pawns in a game of inconceivable wealth. Russell says, “We have been segregated and severed, from each other and even from ourselves. We have been told that freedom is the ability to pursue our petty, trivial desires when true freedom is freedom from these petty, trivial desires.” And so the best option is revolution from this corrupted system. Scrap it, and let’s make something better.
Now that sounds insane, but nevertheless Russell plants the question whether or not our society and its economics is functioning to our best interest, to which the answer is simply no. And what Russell reminded me was that if I’m not being represented in the system promising to represent me, then it’s defective. He reminded me that my personal drive to realize that I—in this very moment—am wholly worthy and meaningful and deserving, that I am one with my own true nature and Nature as a whole, is being perpetually suppressed by a government who chooses to support those who commodify me over my actual personhood. I have earned a share in this planet just by being here. I have the right to reject a system that does not uphold that truth.
So back to Bernie. When the election first came into my radar I thought, “Hillary. That’s it. No one’s better.” And then I got to know the kooky old senator and was dumbfounded. I couldn’t believe that there was someone who would really say all these things I’d begun realizing, who was publicly rebuking this broken system and vowing to fix it. It wasn’t what Bernie said he’d do to right these wrongs, it was the fact that he acknowledged the wrongs at all, not as “problems” to be corrected, but as gross injustices. It was that he was honest, truly, for once. It was that with every appearance and quote I believed more and more that he isn’t in this to be president. He is in this to make the world a better place.
At the end of our conversation, my husband and I agreed that it doesn’t matter if Bernie wins. It is enough that he is a rallying symbol of our impending political revolution. And you cannot underestimate the power of a symbol. Bernie’s unpredicted popularity, especially by us young people, is not because we are uninvolved or dreamy. We are optimistic. We understand what’s at stake. We are willing to take the risks. And we are awakening to the world around us.
This series is meant to be about how we—those coming into our enlightenment, those who are settling into our authentic selves—cannot stop at inward transformation. As we evolve our spirits and our minds, the world must follow. Inevitably, it will. I imagine the world like a majestic mermaid pillow: it may look silver with streaks of gold now, but when enough sequins are brushed in the opposite direction, the pillow will suddenly bloom into gold, and the silver specks will be the outliers. But that doesn’t mean we can relax into the confidence of that future. We are equal shareholders of the world, and we share the burden of its healing.
And just like when we heal our souls, practicality holds no benefit for the healing of the world. Those who attempt it learn that self-love takes relentless dedication, and that delving into the pain and truth that we are so afraid to confront is the greatest act of courage. It is not practical, and it is absolutely idealistic. But it is what is called for to make the leap. That dedication, courage, and idealism is being called for now. Whether you vote or not, you still have the opportunity to resolutely and radically love the world. Gandhi famously said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” That statement was not made emptily. Gandhi inspired India to drive out their oppressors only 80 years ago, simply by uniting the people. We can do the same. So, soul-seekers, keep your finger on the heartbeat of your truth, be brave, be loving, and be available to the world around you.