A Grievous Thing: Our Government Offers No Succor When Its People Are Afflicted
THE LIGHTS WENT OUT IN THE WHITE HOUSE LAST NIGHT because there were protestors outside. It is an inconceivable fact, yet real. It is a fact we must deal with in the same moment as our most fundamental values of being human, living in a humane way, and offering a better world for humanity are under fire. In seeing the White House hidden, its lights darkened to protect its frightened incumbent, we witness the greatest failure of leadership our country has ever experienced.
When I wrote this piece last week, it was the pandemic that was on my mind. Now, of course, it is also the racial unrest caused and incited into a conflagration of deep emotional conflict by the inhuman and brutal act of a police officer murdering an innocent man, George Floyd. The fact of the killing is intolerable. The response from people in all its variations here and around the world is ongoing as millions upon millions of us seek some way we can come to terms with this reprehensible act, and the chaos of reality and spirit it has engendered.
The premise of this piece when I wrote it last week is the same for the racism in this country as it is for the pandemic— the lack of a voice for the people, the sacrifice of the needs of all the people by a government that does not care, and which has chosen not to recognize, admit, or acknowledge its own culpability.
There is a powerful episode in Star Trek: The Next Generation where Riker says if we could feel the loss of every human being, not just those we know, our history would be much less bloody. So right, yes. We do not sufficiently grieve for humanity. And our government grieves for no one.
At no time during these last frightening months and now have any elected and appointed leaders in our government put the people first. The result of this has been to create a great chasm between them and what constitutes moral behavior and right action.
We have become bereft of a voice that speaks for us.
These alleged leaders have betrayed not only their sworn commitment to us when they took office, they have betrayed the power of these words — “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
HOW have they done this? It is revealed by them in one of two ways. Either:
They have vocally, enthusiastically, put their own agendas and their needs first,
They have stayed silent.
Both behaviors together can destroy a nation, for they are both founded on the closed, narrow principle of what is known as Darwinian survival. What does that mean? When we either put our own needs first or choose to be silent no matter what wrongs are being committed, we are acting inside a paradigm of such limitation that we prevent our own growth into an expanded consciousness capable of embracing a new, beneficent, and peaceful earth.
Both behaviors arise out of limitation of vision, of hope, of charity, of love. It is a limitation that in truth cannot imagine peace, because it has never chosen to experience it. It is a limitation that spawns itself, unchanged, and denies us a world that would acknowledge all lives matter.
This wretched, old paradigm supports the inequality of people and rejects the very idea that all people, no exceptions, are entitled to live in grace, to have shelter and food, to live creatively doing work they love, and sharing the idea that Love is the core of who we are.
This oppressive, old paradigm calls such sharing an apostasy, as if they are priests declaring word from on high. They shroud this fact by making the idea of sharing only political, not life-giving. This old paradigm thrives on its lack of imagination, its inability to imagine something better, something powerful that is gained and achieved not by force, not by verbal and physical assault, not by ignorance— but by the acceptance at a heart level that every one of us is a creation of All That Is, and our only true work is to live in the Christ Consciousness for the betterment of the earth and all her creatures.
This old paradigm describes the mindset of our leaders, beyond which they are incapable of going. It has never been so clear as now — with their emotionally impoverished response toward our welfare in this pandemic and toward our intense grieving over a wretched centuries-long deep-seated racism— how great their disservice to us is, their ultimate inertia of accountability to us, their inability to give moral and compassionate guidance.
It is obvious these leaders, this government, no longer have anything to offer us for our best self. What is that best self? A self willing to acknowledge the sacred core of light within every human being, the fire of God’s love within us as our birthright — a fire we are never without, omnipresent, and intended to be manifested through us in the world, on this planet.
Still, it must be added that though they have done nothing worthy and have proven their inadequacies, our governing leaders have brought a clarity as never before that shows us exactly what they are made of. We needed to know this. As it is written in Corinthians 13:12 —
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
Our governing leaders have given us an irrefutable awareness by which we take their measure, and there is no going back from that, so in its way, it is a step forward. Our government, and those leaders in it, have shown us in blazing detail what we are NOT here on this earth to do or be, or become.
The word “succor” I have used in the title of this article means the offering of things such as these:
- Assistance and support in times of hardship and distress
I was inspired to write this article, actually, by a speech I came across online just yesterday, a speech from once upon a time, when my own ideals about this country were born and derived from the truth-telling of JFK — who is now gone as three other truly great leaders — the ones who brought us hope and possibility and trust — have been taken from the United States of America: Bobby Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., Abraham Lincoln.
ALL four were assassinated. Killed deliberately.
No coincidence in this. Why? Because they imagined a country where caring about the welfare of the citizenry actually was seen as vital, essential, by those governing. Quite gone. We are left with the destructive ones, who are incapable of offering succor when the people are afflicted.
Here is a short part of the speech I found so telling yesterday:
John F. Kennedy Addressing the Democratic National Convention, 15 July 1960
“There has also been a change — a slippage — in our intellectual and moral strength. Seven lean years of drought and famine have withered a field of ideas. Blight has descended on our regulatory agencies — and a dry rot, beginning in Washington, is seeping into every corner of America — in the payola mentality, the expense account way of life, the confusion between what is legal and what is right.
Too many Americans have lost their way, their will and their sense of historic purpose. It is a time, in short, for a new generation of leadership — new men to cope with new problems and new opportunities…
But I believe the times demand invention, innovation, imagination, decision. I am asking each of you to be new pioneers on that New Frontier.”
We are meant to live in a higher frequency, to enter and hold a new way of life that offers goodness above all. We are meant to help create a new paradigm that lives in the idea of being one with the best possible path for our mutual survival, something wide open and filled with fresh air and offering joy into this world.