I remember, very distinctly, the moment when I realized that in this country, conservatism and Christianity are linked together despite the fact that they are dogmatically very different.
I had naively assumed that caring for others, peace, nonaggression…these core Christ like teachings were to be found in America, and to be found in Democracy.
It was explained to me, quite plainly, that I was wrong. Conservatism, while it claims to embrace Christianity, has nothing in common with Christ like teachings. On the contrary, the Republicans are all about war, hate mongering, white supremacist style immigration reforms, take-from-the-poor-give-to-the-rich fiscal policies…basically creating a country of Us vs. Them. (Where US is a very closed and white, middle-aged, heterosexual, married group.)
I don't know what caused the scales to fall from my eyes, but I am no longer naive about the goals of politicians, neither conservative nor liberal.
I do think having the right people in office matters, especially if we want to grow and become part of the world, not just an isolated group of cowboys and thugs. But it takes more than one individual or party to destroy the country in a day. Yes, Bush did a darn good job. The choices he made for supreme court justices will set the country back decades. But somehow, people will survive and progress will march forward.
Mindfulness is difficult. Being aware of the harm you are doing to yourself and others is hard work and challenging. But it is not impossible. I think it is hard work worth doing. I've been very impressed with the mindfulness and maturity of the various occupy movement protesters. What a challenge! How do you get the point across to the Have's that the Have Not's are hurting?
I wish I knew.
One thing I do know, is you can't do the homework for someone else. If someone isn't receptive to the harm they are causing, or mindful of their role, then nothing I say will change their mind. The best we can do, as the nonviolent protesters of the world have shown, is live by example. It may be easy for some folks to ignore the suffering around them, or close their eyes and ears, but we don't need to take their hint and hide. On the contrary, be visible, be in the moment, be mindful of others, and don't let yourself be easily ignored.