In seeking a balance between the left and right of political punditry, it seems that the most mean spirited thing I’ve seen on the left is Al Franken, who is a comedian before a commentator. And even his ‘mean spiritedness’ is more light-hearted than anything. But I haven’t found any single personality that would be the mirror image of a Rush Limbaugh or an Ann Coulter. Even when those ‘on the left’ are at their most angry, they are not as bitter, fork tongued, and accusatory as these two.
I think what usually separates the ‘left’ from the ‘right’ (and know how much I hate dividing things up this simply) is that the left is generally stands ‘for’ something while the right stands ‘against’. This is just my observation, but in the political arena at least, the left is for environmental protection, they are for human rights, they are for social justice, they are for corporate responsibility. The right is against same sex marriage, they are against abortion, they are against affirmatitve action, they are against corporate limitations, they are against raising envrionmental standards. In my view, it just seems that the term ‘conservative’ has come to mean ‘standing in the way of progress.’
Considering that liberals are often derided as being too soft, perhaps it is time for those of us who are classified as such (though I prefer the term ‘progressive’) to harden a bit. Not that we should become as jaded and aggressive as conservatives, but that we should become more tempered as steel is forged into a sword.
These last seven years of being under the rule of the Bush administration have offered us many opportunities to become hardened whereby our resolve must be strong as the multi-folded blade of a samurai by now. But the sword that we wield is one of power, whereas the weapon used by those that all too often stand against us is sheer brute force. And though it may be stated that those who run this administration have a lust for power, it is only because they do not truly have it. Therefore, they use force in its place as a nearsighted substitute.
What is the difference, you may ask? Power is pure. It has an inherent flow to it, rising through the principles of love, joy, and peace. Power is the emanation of God, if you will. God doesn’t use force; He invites us to use power. Force, contrarily, is managed by the lower consciousness of shame, guilt, fear, and pride. And as we have seen from this administration, those are their primary modes of operation.
Gays can’t be married because it is shameful. Drug users must be imprisoned because they are guilty. We must go to war or else we will be attacked again. And we must continue fighting to uphold the American Way. These are the cries of the forceful.
However, the voice of the powerful knows that his strength comes from beyond himself and his effect reaches far beyond his view. Thus his actions are aligned with that which is noble. Gays can marry because love must be celebrated as often as possible. Addicts need compassion and assistance in overcoming their weaknesses instead of punishment for their mistakes. Diplomacy is a far greater tool than war in the establishment of peace and unity. This is the voice of the powerful.
But often there need be mixtures of the two. The world can no more simply be categorized as powerful versus forceful than it can be simply divided into left versus right. What of all the places in between? Surely there are times when, though power is seen as a vision, it will take forceful measures to reach it.
While I believe that those who are categorically placed ‘on the left’ are striving for their connection with pure power versus force, this often makes them appear as soft, just as Jesus and Gandhi would have been viewed as soft against the tyrannical, gung ho attitude of the forceful. The true strength exhibited by these two characters and the many who share their virtues are astounding and leave anyone with sheer physical or mental force in the dust. And it is to this height that many on the so-called left aspire.
Therewith, it is difficult for them to sink to the level of those ‘on the right’ to utilize such barbaric tools as inspiring shame through name-calling and blame. That is why it is not nearly as entertaining to listen to the voices calling for compassion and peace on Air America and NPR as to the vile rants of such as Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, and Ann Coulter. For what is truly amazing about these right wing charlatans is that as far as we have come in our evolution of social consciousness, we are still enamored with the idea that there are those of us who are still operating from such base emotions. It is hard to believe that there are still people who have such gall and so eloquently act from such a position of perpetual ignorance.
For as much as many of us would idealistically like to strive to act from the higher echelon of consciousness in love, joy, peace, and harmony, there is still a certain amount of ‘fun’ to harboring animosity and attacking others with violent outbursts, either physical or verbal. Because these people operate from such low levels of consciousness, they realize that the only way that they will work their way up the ladder is to bring others down. This is the categorical ploy that all dictators and fascist governments use to subjugate their followers. They destroy their sense of self esteem, keeping them mired in shame, fear, and guilt with the full understanding that as long as they remain in that state of mind, they will never rise to the level of courage to overcome their oppressors. As it is with the loudmouths who wish to break the spirits of those that would strive for something noble with their lives.
They berate them. They deride them. They mock them. They do all that they can to tear them down, picking apart their lives like rats digging through refuse looking for an edible morsel. And though many listen to these voices with devilish glee, it is beneath those who are truly striving for nobility to pander to this audience by utilizing the same tools.
That is why Air America will probably never be as entertaining as Rush Limbaugh. The voices of the progressives wish to progress beyond the childish antics of name-calling and divisiveness and open up true communication instead of incessant debating. They would rather strive for true change than to sink to the levels of their counterparts, who struggle to attain the status quo and the consistency of warfare and subjugation.
However, as I said, sometimes a subtle blend of power and force is called for. For those of us who are truly striving for pure power, but have not yet reached the pinnacle of living completely in love, joy, and peace, to call upon the levels of consciousness from which these demagogues operate and beseech them to rise above their status. Perhaps it is time to point out to Ann Coulter exactly how shameful she is in her attacks of anyone who disagrees with her. Perhaps we should call out Rush Limbaugh on his guilt of being a drug addict and his mockery of democracy. Perhaps we should attack the media for their apathy in truly reporting the news, opting instead to only appease their advertisers. Maybe we should start inflicting grief instead of accepting it. Perhaps we should truly attack the entire Bush Administration and the collective of blind followers that gardened fear in the hearts and minds of Americans in order to carry out their greed inspired war. Perhaps we should bitch slap Bill O’Reilly to strip him of his pride and the smug look on his face.
Or perhaps we should continue operating from our own courage. Perhaps we should be willing to do the real work that needs to be done in order to effect the changes we are seeking. Perhaps we should just accept that there are those in this world who will never want to accept there could be a better way than what their myopic views afford them. Maybe we should reason that we will never become what we strive to be by becoming what they are.
Perhaps we should just love our families, enjoy our communities, and spread peace to everyone we meet, even to those who will not willingly offer it back. Perhaps we should understand and utilize our true power and leave the forceful to wrestle with themselves.