Friday, June 30, 2006

Friday Reflection: "I'm Sorry You Wasted Our Nation"

So this Nuclear Narcissus of the White House is spouting a vapid haze over the fact that "his" court abandoned him this time on the Gitmo ruling. When you've had the silver spoon in your mouth (and occasionally up your nose) since birth, it's hard to understand, let alone accept, defeat. In fact, he came so thoroughly unglued that he lapsed into more of his trademark word salad:

"It was not always a given that the United States and America would have a close relationship," he said, trying to highlight the remarkable turnaround in relations between the US and Japan - not America - since World War II.

Then, when asked about the SCOTUS ruling, he snarled as follows:

He said he had not had time to take it in, finishing his answer to the second journalist with: "I'm sorry you wasted your question."

Well, I'm sorry you wasted our nation, Mr. President. But that's all croutons on the word salad, as it were: what is especially infuriating about this is the fool's insistence on getting his way and never being wrong in his pursuit of folly. So rather than saying, "the supreme court of our land has spoken—the system of checks and balances instituted by the founders of this nation still works"; he is steeling himself for a battle in Congress to defeat his own appointed Court. When you are driven by a machine, you can only act mechanically.

It is a brutally shameful time to be an American. He and his handlers have disgraced us all before the world. America will become a second-class nation because of the incompetence and depredations of this intellectually and morally impoverished administration.

But that, exactly, is where I find the good news. For there is a change under way, a change such as will restore wisdom, humility, and a deep sense of the common bonds of mankind—better known as Love—among the people and even the political leaders of this nation. The transformation is already occurring, and our children will carry it further forward into a world that lives and acts for itself, the whole, rather than out of the narrow, parochial vision of myopic power merchants and their sycophantic PR machine, who breathe death onto everything that they approach.

How do I know this? The same way you, or anyone else can know: I asked. In my case, it is an old Chinese book of insight that reveals these things. If you think this is too strange, you are welcome to stop here and move on; I wouldn't blame you. If you're at least curious, however, and would like a little background, you can pass by my other website for an introduction to the I Ching.

Here is what I learned. I cast Hexagram 12, "Being Halted" (or, in some translations, "Standstill"). The Judgment of this hexagram reads:

Evil people do not further a person's perseverance. The great departs; the small approaches.

I received these four lines with the hexagram: lines 1, 2, 4, and 6. Here they are:

1. When ribbon grass is pulled up, the sod comes with it. Each according to his kind. Perseverance brings good fortune and success.
2. They bear and endure. Being halted helps a person attain success.
4. He who acts at the command of the highest remains without blame. Those of like mind partake of the blessing.
6. Being halted comes to an end. Good fortune.

There is a weed ("ribbon grass" would translate to "crabgrass" in our vernacular) that must be pulled out to the very root, such that the earth holding it is loosened. We have to keep at it ("perseverance")—Abramoff and Safavian are just a couple of stray plants. All the weeds must be routed from the heart of the nation, and dealt with—"each according to his kind."

During this process of uprooting the invading weeds of our earth, many will need to "bear and endure." Some will have to bear more than others. I am thinking of the innocent people of Iraq; the poor and middle class of the American Gulf Coast and New Orleans; young people whose parents can't afford college because Congress votes itself pay raises rather than attending to the minimum wage or supporting the funding of student loans; workers who are being disenfranchised and outsourced by corporations whose only care is for the top and bottom lines, and to hell with everything and everyone else in between. It is also a time to "bear and endure" the rage that injustice breeds, and that only tends to thicken the darkness of competition and violence. Justice will have its day with the tyrant: so let pure anger, free of toxic rage, guide you.

What unites us is our recognition of both the danger and the opportunity. Truth is not a lockstep, martial march; it is rather a whirling dance of diversity. When we honor our differences, we fulfill our common purpose. This is "to remain without blame" and "partake of the blessing." It doesn't have to be sought outside you, or made manifest through mere conflict. It is already there, within and among us. It is the thread that holds us together, that will guide us out of tyranny.

When we realize these principles in our words, actions, and feelings, then the standstill comes to an end. The nightmare will end; the dead who have led us all to the brink of international alienation and planetary extinction will be defeated and dispersed; the poisonous breath of geopolitical murderers will be neutralized; the natural society of people in democratic union will arise and take a fresh and restorative form. The Earth will respond with a renewed health; the nation will respond with a teeming, vibrant clarity of purpose and expression.

The I Ching was written at a time when a petty but murderous violence ruled humankind, just as it does today. It was written amid wars, oppression, profit-taking, arrogance and self-indulgence in government, and the despicably transparent duplicity of self-appointed kings. Again, it was a time nearly exactly like our own. This is one reason why I rely on its calm, steady voice of penetrating insight and broad perspective. I have also been taught by my own experience to trust the I Ching.

But your choice of a means to such insight matters less than your openness to a source of wisdom that transcends intellect, even as it includes it. Trust yourself; let your connection with the quantum ineffable guide you, rather than what you read in the newspapers or hear over the TV set. Spend time with the earth, and then return to your moment. Cast out fear—especially the fear that your government and your media attempt to condition into you. The time for fear is over, for, as I have said before, the worst that can happen has already begun. Disown the cult of heroism, and discover your own courage; reject the subjection of your true self to the collective, and feel yourself soar away from the stinking bonds of tyranny and its shrill Medusa stepsister, fear. Recover your individual self, and you will realize your union with the all.

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