"There are no sides, only angles. And when we look at it from the right angle, we see we're all on the same side." -- Swami Beyondananda
We always feel heartened by tales of heroism, and we celebrate the individual hero or "shero". It's even more heartening when the "hero" is a self-organizing, spontaneous group of people who see what needs to be done, and then do it. Last weekend, as a family was struggling in the riptide off the Florida Gulf Coast, beachgoers spontaneously formed a "human chain" to reach and save the family.
I wasn't there, but I'm willing to bet that while this amazing rescue was happening, those in the chain didn't turn to their neighbor and ask, "Are you a Democrat or Republican?" Likewise no one asked about religion, sex preference, or economic status. It's certainly possible that one or more members of the chain believes the earth is only 6,000 years old, and perhaps one of them even believes there are kidnapped children on Mars.
Those conversations and considerations were relegated to the background, as the immediate emergency called forth our common humanity and the power of love. Meanwhile, back in the world of "normal" political discourse, the shouting matches accentuating our differences are "drowning out" those that seek to organize around common cause.
So, here is a lesson if we choose to take the coaching.
Human beings will voluntarily cooperate -- and even put their own lives in danger -- when faced with a crisis that REQUIRES cooperation. I would submit that our entire political system based on freedom and responsibility, individual gain in the context of benefit for all, equality and inalienable rights has been washed out to sea, and our entire governance is drowning in unbridled self-interest, corruption and dysfunction.
It cannot fix itself, and the "somebodies" with power and influence have not stepped up.
Only a self-organizing chain of ordinary "nobodies" putting differences aside and pulling together can or will make a difference. No wonder the latest studies show that in an atmosphere of political incivility, many Americans take refuge in the workplace where the task at hand, whatever it is, is always in the foreground, and there is a greater likelihood of having a common goal.
Perhaps the future of political organizing is not so much in the stalemate tug-of-war, as in the pulling together tug-of-peace that happened this past weekend.
I'm just saying.
Steve Bhaerman is an author, humorist, radio host and spiritual and political "uncommontator" who has been writing and performing in the guise of cosmic comic Swami Beyondananda for the past 30 years.
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