Sunday, February 12, 2006

A plan for the Dem's?

In the introduction to his book, The Left Hand of God, Michael Lerner quite articulately explains why, over the course of 30 years, the fundamentalist Right has won America over with the ideas they seek to dismantle once they are in power.

By addressing the real spiritual and moral crisis in the daily lives of most Americans, a movement with a progressive spiritual vision would provide an alternate solution to both the intolerant and militarist politics of the Right and the current misguided, visionless, and often spiritually empty politics of the Left.
And this is only the 2nd paragraph from his introduction.

Further down, he explains how the Right Hand of God sees the world and why so many Americans are flocking in huge numbers to their side of the spectrum:

By contrast, the "Right Hand of God," sees the universe as a fundamentally scary place filled with evil forces. In this view God is the avenger, the big man in heaven who can be invoked to use violence to overcome those evil forces, either right now or in some future ultimate reckoning. Seen through the frame of the Right Hand of God, the world is filled with constant dangers and the rational way to live is to dominate and control others before they dominate and control us.

It is the search for meaning in a despiritualized world that leads many people to right-wing religious communities because these groups seem to be in touch with the sacred dimension of life. Many secularists imagine that people drawn to the Right are there solely because of some ethical or psychological malfunction. What they miss is that there are many very decent Americans who get attracted to the Religious Right because it is the only voice that they encounter that is willing to challenge the despiritualization of daily life, to call for a life that is driven by higher purpose than money, and to provide actual experiences of supportive community for those whose daily life is suffused with alienation and spiritual loneliness.
I can't help but argee with Lerner in his assertion that the Right claims to fight for the very social programs they denounce in the very next breath, once they see you're on their side.

Wasn't it President Shrub who proclaimed the U.S. to be "addicted to oil?" Didn't Congress, the very next day, still put ANWR on the ticket? And aren't Congress members still trying to open the east coast to more drilling, namely off the shores of Virginia? If I do recall correctly, the Fundi's claim to care about those who were affected by Hurricane Katrina, the poor, old and minorities, yet they support making Bush's tax cuts permanent and fully support him in making the biggest cuts to Medicaid thus far.

Yet still the Democrat's sit around hoping this "Conservative Climate" will pass.

Nothing has been more dispiriting than to watch years in which Congressional Democrats continued to vote for tens of billions of dollars to fund the war in Iraq even after learning that the country had been lied to and manipulated into that war. Even after conservative Democratic congressman John Murtha called for immediate withdrawal from Iraq within six months in November 2005, the Democrats were unable to firmly endorse that courageous call.

I wanna know when Democrat's, as a whole, are going to stand up together and say, "Fuck this shit. We're taking a stand and it starts now!"

I'm not holding my breath.

Without a larger spiritual vision, the Democrats too often develop their programs by poll data, reacting rather than leading.
Can we say Hillary Clinton? She wants to be a viable presidential candidate in 2008 yet I don't think she'll make it purely because she has not taken a tough stand on anything and that's what this country needs, not more pandering from the one party that is supposed to represent the values of the minorities.

Lerner says we either need to revamp the current Democratic and Green parties, or create a new one. I'm all for doing whatever it takes to get out of this "If you're not religious, you aren't worthy of god's love" agenda that seems to be permeating America, if not the world.

A reshaped Democratic Party, or a new party, must minimally:
  • Understand, acknowledge, and respond to the spiritual crisis in American society--and provide a progressive spiritual vision that is more attractive than the one currently offered by the Right.
  • Recognize that people hunger for a world that has meaning and love; for a sense of aliveness, energy, and authenticity; for a life embedded in a community in which they are valued
  • Reject the tendency to regard people who are not part of the liberal culture as stupid, demented, or evil.
  • Fight for ideals that are not yet popular and be willing to stand for those ideals even if that means temporarily losing some elections.
  • Unite secular people in a movement with "spiritual but not religious" people and join both of those groups with progressive religious people.
  • Reject and combat the religion phobia that dominates important sectors of liberal and progressive culture.
Are you ready? I am.

(You can view a conversation with Michael Lerner here. This book has the umph needed to "change our way of viewing.")