Arnica and the American Dream

Posted by Eric Francis

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People are in shock. I’ve been communicating with friends and readers in my community, and online, and that’s the prevailing emotion. You might want to take a dose of arnica and let that guide you back into your body as you regain your composure. Depending on one’s level of political sophistication, and intuition, and sensitivity to history, you may understand the nature of the predicament we are in.

Arnica montana in its natural habitat. Photo by Stephanie Kroos.

Dear Friend and Reader:

People are in shock. I’ve been communicating with friends and readers in my community, and online, and that’s the prevailing emotion. You might want to take a dose of arnica and let that guide you back into your body as you regain your composure.

Depending on one’s level of political sophistication, and intuition, and sensitivity to history, you may understand the nature of the predicament we are in.

This symbol means something different to everyone. What does it mean to you? Take some time and you may get an interesting response.

There has been yet another coup by the political right wing in the United States. This is not any kind of new trend. It keeps happening. Every last shock event ends up pushing the country deeper into the political right.

Now, with all three branches of government about to be in the hands of this new Republican “big tent” coalition, as diverse as a Knights of Columbus lodge meeting, there are no checks and there are no balances as the framers of the Constitution intended them. I guess a few senators could put holds on various laws and nominations, but that’s not very powerful. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren can take turns reading from the phone book for four years. That might do it.

Conservatives should be happy. Against all odds, your candidate won, and won both houses of Congress. If all goes according to plan, the Supreme Court will be a conservative institution for yet another generation.

We’ve already seen the gradual tearing down of many protective barriers once put in place by previous generations: on voter rights for blacks in the south, reproductive rights for women everywhere, on corporate involvement in politics, on sane concepts of gun regulation, and on and on.

I get that there are political views other than my own. I also get that one of those views is that there is no balance necessary: that one viewpoint can and must be the dominant one, in all instances. This view holds that there’s no room for compromise, and that compromise is unacceptable and even dangerous. Those willing to compromise have it used against them as a weapon.

Meanwhile, we’re about to have a climate change denier as head of the EPA — right in the moment when we need to act, as individuals and as a society, against an actual global threat. We are about to have a Supreme Court that knows they better get a move on and knock down Roe v. Wade while they have a chance.

Planet Waves
Sample of old rendering of the I Ching.

The police are already too powerful, and too many people are getting shot. There are already too many guns, and too-easy access to guns. Press freedom is undermined not so much by government action but rather by corporate policy, which is not covered in the Constitution. Corporations are already too powerful, and a scant few now control 90% of what you see, hear and read, everywhere from your Facebook feed to the billboards along your local highway.

We have a guy with direct ties to Russia being briefed in all of the deepest military and espionage secrets of the United States. I assume that they’ll reveal one thing I’m aware the new president is briefed on, which is the UFO situation. Maybe Trump will tweet about Roswell and we’ll finally have some fun.

The fact that any political candidate lost the “popular vote,” meaning the actual vote, and will not only take office but head a government where there are no checks and no balances, is a serious problem. I don’t care who that candidate, or now president-elect, is. A president who did not receive the most votes has no moral obligation to the people he or she supposedly serves.

The viewpoint that there should be checks and balances, contrasted with there being one group in charge of everything, are not equivalents. Not moral, legal, social, logical, or any other kind of equivalents. The first job of any open society is to protect the rights of the minority viewpoint, because the majority viewpoint (or the one in power) does not need protection. It already has the power. And now it’s about to have the power in extraordinary concentration at a truly sensitive time in history.

If nothing else, we have a potential moment of awakening, or moment of clarity, as it’s called in AA. We have hit a political bottom. Yes, the winners do not think so — though they have merely bought a product. They have not unwrapped it yet to see what’s inside.

For those who are awakening, It’s time to throw off the grogginess of early morning, and to get sober about the challenges we face. If you are a conservative, and you’re happy about what has happened, I reckon you may need as much soul searching as anyone else.

Planet Waves
Hexagram 43 is composed of two trigrams: above TUI, the Joyous, Lake, and below, CH’IEN, the Creative, Heaven. What is interesting is that water is seeming to float above heaven, though this also describes how below every lake is the Earth and below the Earth, more of the heavens.

If you believe in the United States of America, and you believe in its ideals and its Constitution, what future do you see for your society, and what, to you, is the meaning of freedom?

One of my editors tonight asked, “Part of the problem is there seems to be so much that has to change on all sorts of issues it’s like being faced with a room full of clutter. You have to start somewhere — but where?”

We start with ourselves, and the people closest to us. No matter how much shock you’re in, it will help if you listen. You’re not going to change anyone’s mind, so you may as well not waste your energy. It will be better spent inviting people to unravel their complaints. Yes, you may be listening to people who just won the big prize — total control of government — and are still unhappy. You may have plenty to say back to them. Instead, you might ask their vision for society, and for their own lives. Be patient, and remember what you hear.

You are now in that moment where you get to choose whether you’re going to be part of the solution. Give yourself a chance to grieve, and take some responsibility for how we got here. Then I suggest you commit to the long haul. Think of how we’re going to get information and skills into the hands of millennials and their kids.

I’ll handle the Full Moon below in a separate item. For this letter, I will leave you with the wisdom of the I Ching, from Hexagram 43: Breakthrough-Resoluteness.

In a resolute struggle of the good against evil, there are, however, definite rules that must not be disregarded, if it is to succeed. First, resolution must be based on a union of strength and friendliness. Second, a compromise with evil is not possible; evil must under all circumstances be openly discredited. Nor must oour own passions and shortcomings be glossed over. Third, the struggle must not be carried on directly by force. If evil is branded, it thinks of weapons, and if we do it the favor of fighting against it blow for blow, we lose in the end because thus we ourselves get entangled in hatred and passion. Therefore it is important to begin at home, to be on guard in our own persons against the faults we have branded. In this way, finding no opponent, the sharp edges of the weapons of evil becomes dulled. For the same reasons we should not combat our own faults directly. As long as we wrestle with them, they continue victorious. Finally, the best way to fight evil is to make energetic progress in the good.

Catch you Tuesday.

Yours in friendship,

eric

11 thoughts on “Arnica and the American Dream

  1. LizzyLizzy

    Yes, truly wonderful: “Therefore it is important to begin at home, to be on guard in our own persons against the faults we have branded. In this way, finding no opponent, the sharp edges of the weapons of evil becomes dulled. For the same reasons we should not combat our own faults directly. As long as we wrestle with them, they continue victorious. Finally, the best way to fight evil is to make energetic progress in the good.” This hexagram ties in with Tai Chi, which Amanda mentioned yesterday – which is essentially a martial art, and works in this way. Wonderful stuff, Eric. thank you.

  2. Pisces SunPisces Sun

    Law of Physics: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. It also applies with all aspects of energy, including thoughts.

    Remember Eric’s article on values, this also comes down to understanding our values and the left-wings and then build from there to find common ground, we have to be careful not to get caught up in the debris and fall-out surrounding values because it will only mislead both sides.

    Mother Teresa said, “I will not march in an anti-war protest but I will march for peace.” The manner by which you state and do something, coming from a place of love and positive energy makes a big difference. It humanizes and neutralizes. Think of MLK and Ghandhi.

    On politics- Our founding fathers did not vision a tripartite system consisting of two parties (although two parties were formed when the nation was being built (federalists, anti-federalists)(later Republicans/Democrats and their platforms shifted as did their names so that each morphed into the other over the decades). More than anything today, our problem with government and the two-party system is the fact that political parties can and often do control and thus can frustrate or nullify tripartite system of government. This is what is happening today and has happened a lot in our nation’s history.

    We haven’t had a meaningful constitutional amendment (last in 1992 and it addressed Congressional salary) since 1971. That amendment allowed persons 18 and over to vote, prior to those amendments were a couple of amendments in the 1960s that ushered in civil rights voting equality. “Citizens United” is ripe for a constitutional amendment but there are likely other areas and some have argued to that an amendment to abolish the electoral college may be a good candidate.

    Regarding the electoral college, our founding fathers also orchestrated its use so to allow State’s a more solid footing in the presidential election. In modern times this would mean not to have California, Texas, and Florida be the predominant Executive branch-selecting champion (the states’ with the most voting electorate). Current and projecting population trends have only the southeastern US and coastal western states (besides Texas) increasing in population so pretty much the Northeast, Great Lakes and US Heartland might never see a US presidential candidate campaign nor have any real input in the election (unless they engaged as bloc voting influencers) if the electoral college were abandoned. I’m not saying I’m for the electoral college, I’m just pointing out that it was also put into place to support the States and it was also envisioned by the founding fathers as a tool to protect the minority (i.e., state’s rightist) by acting as a check on the “tyranny of the majority.” (majority of electorate).

    So the electoral college underscores another point about our Democratic system that we need to bear in mind, which is that we are a Republic. Our democratic principles are as much a shared power system between the tripartite government (Executive, Legislative and Judiciary) as it was between the federal government and States. I recall that Hillary Clinton was very favorable toward the electorate system after the Bush v. Gore loss. I don’t know how she feels about it now but I know she is very much aware of this point.

    Which leads me back to the under-used Constitutional Amendment. Because the American public has the attention span of a gnat these days (and I am very grateful of the knowledge you have shared with your viewers and listeners, Eric, regarding the impact of machines and internet), America thinks in sound-bites. But, Americans do feel and have values, we just need to learn how to create political movement again. I think this is an awakening moment. We’ve abrogated our responsibilities for a long time: 1) Although voter turn-out seemed high, it wasn’t as high as it has been in our history and is lower than it is in other developed countries. 2) We fail to hold our politicians accountable, I don’t think I even need to give an example here when we elect a President who doesn’t even give a platform, lies, and gives racist, misogynistic, bigoted and inflammatory, hateful and self-serving campaigning remarks. But also, we fail to hold politicians accountable with our money (taxes) with rampant government spending, failure to plan, and a war that only my teenage children have known through their school years.

    We reap what we sow. There are some good seeds out there but it begins with us, getting through our own chaff, recognize the chaff around us, and then begin to till fertile ground and begin anew. It won’t be spontaneous but it will be worth it, as is life and all things meaningful.

    Today is a Super Moon, one that hasn’t occurred in 68 years and won’t occur again in some of our lives, something to think about as we consider our next move…

  3. Jeanne

    Thank you Eric and all the folk at PW for the great help navigating this time in this arc of history!
    I thank you for the mention of Montana Arnica for shock. I hope people will try this remedy. It is very effective. Also very helpful are Flower essences.
    I am delighted to see you reference the I Ching. I have been consulting the I Ching a lot during this season of dark events and it has been extremely helpful to offer a Way to navigate this time of great change. Blessings to all of you.
    Jeanne

    1. sojourn

      Here is a sample quote from the article linked above:

      “We are entering a time of great uncertainty. Institutions so enduring as to seem identical to reality itself may lose their legitimacy and dissolve. It may seem that the world is falling apart. For many, that process started on election night, when Trump’s victory provoked incredulity, shock, even vertigo. “I can’t believe this is happening!”

      At such moments, it is a normal response to find someone to blame, as if identifying fault could restore the lost normality, and to lash out in anger. Hate and blame are convenient ways of making meaning out of a bewildering situation. Anyone who disputes the blame narrative may receive more hostility than the opponents themselves, as in wartime when pacifists are more reviled than the enemy.”

      1. LizzyLizzy

        I just read the whole article, Sojourn. I can’t thank you enough for this. Will put it in a safe place, and will reread it carefully, when I have more time.

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