It’s been a surprising week, one that continued to underline the differences between our sociopolitical polarities in bold cartoon-like strokes, making it obvious that we’ve finally reached that point where something’s gotta give. So this week’s happenings were surprising, but not shocking, considering our understanding that this last hit of the 2012 energies needed to solidify itself in some final paroxysm in preparation for a new set of astrological variables.
For instance, it can’t be much of a surprise that the Ferguson cop-shop and court system are dissolving, given the content of last week’s Department of Justice report. The offensive judge who milked citizens for millions was replaced when the Missouri Supreme Court took over all municipal court activity. Highway Patrol and St. Louis County cops took over policing of the city as the internal process of re-thinking began. Reforms to the Ferguson police force started slowly at the beginning of the week, with pundits on the right protesting innocence of wrong-doing as employees were removed, but things began to speed up with the high-profile resignation of Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson.
That evening we were handed surprise: two police officers, standing outside the Ferguson station where a group of peaceful protestors had gathered, were shot (one in the arm, one in the face; both have since been released from the hospital). The right went ballistic with supposition about the protesters, but it turned out the shooter was not among them, but separate. FOX declared the shooter a thug, of the darker persuasion, of course. “Thug” is now a dog-whistle word referencing black youth.
The left supposed that might be true, given the unattended rage and frustration of the younger citizens, but also suggested that it might have been a right-wing shooter undermining both peaceful protest and the progress made the last few days within various factions of the community regarding police presence and policy. As I write, the manhunt continues, but it can’t be denied that exploited Ferguson citizens were forced to yield the higher ground to explosive violence in the kind of tit/tat exchange that’s been going on for months.
This was also the week when 47 Republicans told Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini that any agreement Iran negotiates with the United States isn’t worth a damn, if they have anything to do with it (which they plan to, once they get rid of the black guy). Joe Biden, as president of the Senate, went after them in a tizzy fit, rebuking them for suggesting that the Commander-in-Chief cannot follow through on his commitments and outlining the dire circumstances that such a failure might produce. Unfortunately, they represent the variables war hawks like best, and because we’ve allowed the press to paint Biden as a buffoon rather than a heavy-hitter (which he is), his condemnation was lost in the echo chamber.
The remarkably naïve letter, signed by a number of seasoned Pubs who should have known better, is the work of a freshman senator who decided the Iranians shouldn’t count their chickens when it comes to normalizing relations, since he and his Bagger buddies have no intention of creating a working relationship with them. This happened in the same week that the United Nations Security Council announced its discussion of pulling sanctions for the first time in more than a decade should there be a deal struck on Iranian nuclear production.
Any deal negotiated by John Kerry would not be legally binding — meaning it could be overturned by another president — but the removal of sanctions by the UN just might be, making the reversal of U.S. participation even more difficult in the future. Discussion among senior leadership in France, Britain, Russia, China and Germany has direct impact on the on-going negotiations between the U.S. and Iran. UN countries remain unyielding in their agreement that Iran must provide strict accountability on nuclear materials, but it also establishes safeguards against piling on more crippling sanctions unless the Iranians break agreements.
Since these Pubs evidently consider themselves the center of the universe, such legitimacy would do little to stop so brash a group of radical politicians as those 47, who are behaving as though they not only have a right to dismiss conventional procedures but a mandate from God. Didn’t John Boehner just prove that, muscling Netanyahu into position to spread the gospel of nuclear fear? After all, this is Iran we’re talking about. This is evil incarnate. This is the goad that will bring about the beloved Apocalypse and return Jesus to Jerusalem.
I suspect there are more than enough of those 47 signers who believe that scenario, as Christian rote, without examination. The rest believe in the awesome war profits and kick-backs contractors enjoy during war time, punctuated by the chest-thumping and patriotic hoo-haw that seems to rise, like fever, in the public sympathies when we put ‘boots on the ground.’
And let’s not forget that the Baggers have no respect for the United Nations, believing it at best, an assault on American exceptionalism, and at worst, a conspiracy to establish a new world order called Agenda 21, which includes denial of property rights, gun control and worse. (This has always seemed to me the essential argument when people say there IS no difference between the two political parties. They may behave similarly within the system they inhabit, but — trust me — there is a wide chasm in how each sees reality.)
Let me segue back to last summer, when those of us in swing states were being assaulted by a barrage of political commercials, 24/7. Since the Pea Patch is in Southern Missouri, close to the Arkansas border, we were treated to short, Disneyesque clips of a young man billing himself as a “Combat Veteran for Congress,” a farm boy with a Harvard law degree who talked ‘country’ and did not bother to hide his ambition for power, giving a personal pledge to stop Obama from ruining his nation. The first time I saw fresh-faced Tom, wearing his flag lapel pin and promising to rip the nation from the hands of the betrayers, I told my son, “Houston, we have a problem. This guy’s all about snake oil and ego defense, but I’m afraid he’s a true believer!”
I got that one right, for sure, but you don’t have to trust my instincts on this. In three short months, Cotton has made his name and more. As an article in Salon, referring to young Tom as an über-hawk, details:
Tom Cotton, Arkansas’ new GOP senator, is already establishing himself as one of the leading doomsayers and fear mongers in Congress, which is no small feat. Indeed, by acting as the driving force behind a provocative open letter to the leaders of Iran and helpfully informing them that any deal reached with the Obama administration over their nuclear program will ultimately be subject to the Senate’s review, Cotton has already made himself a hero to the neoconservative right. In fairness, though, that wasn’t the hardest thing to do: Cotton’s earlier warnings of a (completely fictional) alliance between Mexico’s drug cartels and ISIS, as well as his rant in defense of Guantánamo Bay, had endeared them to him already.
I’m not sure what it is about Yell County, Arkansas, where Tom was born and raised, but you may have heard of it before. Remember the movie classic True Grit with John Wayne winning an Oscar for his self-parody as Rooster Cogburn? If you do, I’m sure you recall the pain-in-the-ass heroine of the piece, a young girl who valued only her own opinion and introduced herself to everyone, as if defining the rationale for her superiority, by announcing “My name is Mattie Ross, of Near Dardanelle in Yell County.”
I’m featuring Senator Cotton this week because he’s going to be with us, like it or not, at least until 2021. That’s a long time to suffer this kind of rash arrogance and skewed reality. Just like young, determined Mattie, pain-in-the-ass Tom is so sure of himself and his radical quest to “protect the Constitution” (as he reads it) that he decided to take on not just the Iranian theocracy but all the citizens of the world who are nurturing hope for peace talks that would prevent a conflict setting the fractured Middle East ablaze. All except the hard-liners in Iran, that is, who don’t want anything to do with a nuclear compromise and would just as soon get about the destruction of The Great Satan, and its 53rd state, Israel. (D.C. and Puerto Rico hold honorary titles of 51st and 52nd.)
So there you have it, the radical right of both nations joined in a bond for warfare, winner take all. And if it isn’t clear by now that the Republican party — having already outlined its determination that nothing will do but an Iran without any hint of nuclear capability, even for energy purposes — is counting on taking over eventually and making sure that such a war occurs and as soon as possible, it should be painfully obvious. Key word: painfully.
When I first read about Tom’s letter to the Iranian government, coming as it did on the heels of Netanyahu’s unauthorized visit, I will admit a sense of shock. That’s two strikes against the authority of the executive in a matter of weeks.
Nothing like this has happened before in American history. No group of politicians has ever crossed the boundary into international territory designated for only the nation’s president, and of course, no group of politicians has been so blatantly disrespectful of a president in my memory. There can be little doubt that such a blow against (perceived enemy) Obama has ramifications in the future as other presidents negotiate internationally, with the wall now broken that unified the American system of governance by branch.
I wasn’t surprised, then, when a front page like this one from the New York Daily News called the 47 Republicans traitors, because to my mind, interfering with an active peace process certainly fits that bill. I hesitated, however, when I was sent a link to the White House petition asking that they be charged with treason. While I do believe their action borders on criminal, I pulled that punch, deciding to wait a bit to see what developed.
Within hours, however, it seemed clear enough to me that not only was the Pub party loudly defending its actions but Red state governors and presidential wannabes were quick to climb on board this speeding train. No hesitancy, no apology, nothing but defiance and justification for the fear-consciousness and power-grab that produced it, including the old “don’t make me hit you” defense: that Obama was responsible for the letter because he didn’t jump the shark and invite (a contentious) Congress into the dialogue with Iran.
That was enough for me. I decided that it was necessary to turn up the volume about the coup the Pubs have been running since they took control of both houses of congress. While I don’t think there is enough “there” there to prove the signers traitors to their country, they’re certainly traitors to the peace of the planet (and its climate health and racial health and fiscal health, yadda ad infinitum). I signed the petition because I want a larger and louder response from this administration.
Polls show that a majority of citizens are as disturbed by this development as I am, so there is already bedrock disapproval of breaching leadership boundaries, influenced, I hope, by the obvious scorn aimed at the Republican party from a world-wide audience that includes the Iranians. We haven’t been this embarrassed internationally since You Know Who was in office. Obama suggested that it was the Repubublicans that had embarrassed themselves, proving, once again, that he really is a mild mannered reporter.
When I first looked at the petition it had already collected some 80,000 signatures. Only 100,000 are needed to earn a formal response from the Administration, and the cut-off point of this petition is one month: April 8th. When I checked today, there are over a quarter-million signatures. If you wish to join this movement for accountability, you can find the petition here.
The We, The People petition has no power except that given by the Obama administration in promising to respond to those concerns. But it seems to me that THAT is what is required to call this situation to the attention of more than the political wonks who follow these things carefully, or casual viewers who don’t. Obama had already mentioned the fact that the letter created strange bedfellows of Iran’s war mongers and our own, but that’s not enough. He’s in a “position,” of course — the same one he’s been in since he was elected.
I’ve never known a president to have to be more careful of his steps on the tightrope of public perception. What can he say about this Republican assault on his authority? “They’re fucking with me again, folks,” isn’t going to win him much sympathy, since we still stick to the false equivalency that one side is just as Machiavellian as the other. No, we need the public to make this call, to decide enough is enough. To smack the Pubs on the nose with a newspaper and send the message that they’ve overshot their mark. And make no mistake, it’s war they’re after. That simply cannot continue to be what defines humankind in the animal kingdom.
By the way, I’m not going to explore the kick-start of another cold war this week, based on Russia’s new military capabilities and enhanced weaponry. FOX News got over-stimulated on Friday with this news, which they see as a foray back into well-known territory, but this is painting a fresh face on old business. Just wars and rumors of wars. And rumors of Putin’s death are a bit hasty, as well.
Continuing a war mentality as the way to pull on the fiscal thread that connects our world cultures has to be examined now. Decisions must be made and they must come from our ethical center, our spiritual understanding, rather than represent food-chain consciousness. Either we remain torn by conflict and enamored by death, or we choose life and embrace that healed vision of ourselves found in the ‘happy dream.’
I’m not a punishment person. From what I understand about the universe and the human condition, carrot/stick reward and punishment may be our lowest level motivator, but it has also created this ridiculous black/white scenario we find ourselves in today. Punishment teaches us fear, instructs us in how to lie to avoid pain and humiliation, and requires us to shove guilt deep within our emotional-body, hindering our relationship to self and others, our growth and contentment. Just about all of the activity of punishment across this globe of ours can be blamed on our (mis)understanding of the Divine.
I love Christianity in its highest form of unconditional love and harmlessness but what we experience as Christianity is more often the patriarchy of religious dogma. Like the conservatives thrusting a stick into the spokes of the peace process, religion does likewise with the practice of actualizing Christ-consciousness which is the epitome of peace.
Yesterday, something really fine happened regarding God and love and spiritual thought versus religion. Neale Donald Walsch has written a new book, God’s Message to the World: You’ve Got It All Wrong. His message is similar to that stated above, that those things we think God expects of us are what we’ve learned to expect of one another, keeping us looping in that punishment/reward consciousness, complicated by what A Course in Miracles calls “attack/defend” behavior. If you would like to read some of the book, the first chapters are available to you here.
In what Walsch calls an Evolution Revolution, he asked people to make copies of a document, 1,000 Words That Would Change The World, and distribute them on Awakening Day, March 12th. Over a half-million copies of the information found their way into libraries, parks, restaurants. Changing our minds about God, whom we have created in our own image, allows us to become more than we allow ourselves to be today. And — much like broadcasting the concerns I wrote about today in a louder voice — getting the word out to those who have been suffering from long-term issues of self-judgment and guilt can benefit from such a great big megaphone!
Eventually, Walsch wants those who are in agreement to buy his book and “leave it” somewhere where they think someone might pick it up and read it. This seems to me a kind of tithing effort, salting larger understanding into the population. Yesterday, a half-million bits of information found their way out into the mainstream. If even one percent of those who read them began an inner dialogue and expanded their consciousness in some loving and meaningful way, enormous progress in the relief of human suffering was made!
In terms of politics as personal, and vice versa, here’s what Walsch has to say:
Right now our species is living a collective global nightmare. Your individual life is part of that nightmare — whether you are, yourself, living unhappily or not. More important, it is those who are not living unhappily (or who actively choose not to) who are the only ones who can turn our continuing global nightmare into the dream that our species has always envisioned. That means you.
There’s that ACIM “happy dream.” In fact, what Walsch writes won’t surprise those of us who have investigated the spiritual realms, but it’s a system breaker for those who think that they must earn their way into Heaven and are subject to punishment when they disobey. This is indicative of what Walsch calls separation issues, a form of suicide consciousness: a great wound in need of healing which represents the biggest Chiron project I can think of and the kind of compassionate mind-change it will take to Shift the Era.
So what to do? We have the choice for creating tomorrow. We have the ability to turn fear into forgiveness and collaboration. We have the megaphone, if we want to pick it up. Look around you. We’ve already begun that journey.
In closing, I try to include a positive bit of news each week, something to lift our spirits. Here’s that bit for this pivotal week: the Utah state legislature has passed a new law, with the approval of the LDS church, protecting LGBT folks from discrimination. If the Mormons can get on board with a loving, inclusive action like this, despite their religious hesitations, then that’s the ball game, boys and girls. The Shift is well begun and tomorrow is in our hands and our hearts — it’s up to us.