Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Do not give up on politics...just yet

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
~ From J.R.R. Tolkien’s, “The Lord of the Rings”

That is a great line, “Deep roots are not reached by the frost.”

It speaks of allegiance, courage, self-determination. The people who really love this country will not be defeated by the cynicism of our current politics. Love of country can survive those who seek to belittle our Constitution with their obsessive greed and ruthless corruption.

The Citizens United legislation that our right wing Supreme Court allowed, a Court completely sold out to their corporate cronies, is destroying our political system and the entire premise of the right to vote. By making it legal for corporations to dump billions of dollars into specific political campaigns with little or no accountability, we are then left with political outcomes that serve only the wealthy.

They are the ones who can afford to influence elections by the sheer force of their moneyed PACs (political action committees), who in turn with abandon spend unlimited amounts of cash on dishonest television commercials and other media sources in favor of not just a particular candidate but of a specific ideology as well. There is nothing fair about them, patriotic, or inspiring.

These efforts are rife with distortions, lies, fear mongering, and just plain nasty attacks. They appeal to the unthinking and to the gullible, to the angry and the unbalanced. They solidify harsh divisions between all of us and degrade the whole process of choosing elected officials especially the president of the United States.

We can go along with this dangerous pretense or we can refuse to be manipulated and abused by it. Americans who want to think for themselves will not be fooled by the dishonorable wealthy, people contaminated with self appointed power and completely unconnected to any real concern for the welfare of our citizens. These wretched people are determined to tell us what to believe and who to vote for. But not a one of us has to do what they say.

Refuse to watch or read any political ads. Make up your own mind based on what you discover from your own search. Read websites you trust even if they are not connected with your political party. Disregard any religious litmus test. Ask yourself relevant questions. Can this person lead? Do they show any openness to cooperating with both parties? Can they be counted on to really listen? Are there any tangible signs of human compassion in them that go beyond catchy phrases or empty words? Are they capable or even interested in respecting other nations, their culture, their religion, and their autonomy? How do they treat children and the old? Do they really care about the sick and disenfranchised who are also a part of our human and American family? Can they stand up to corporate greed and Wall Street’s bullies? Do they possess values that are not just moralistic fluff but concrete principles and philosophical truths that guide their conduct?

We can trudge through this year of elections withered into helplessness by the coldness of this cynical and shameful campaigning. Or we can think and learn and pull from resources deep within us that we know to be accurate and vote with intelligence. We can demand better. “Deep roots are not reached by the frost.”

© 2012 Timothy Moody

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