On Democracy: What is our True Responsibility?
Work on your Self.
Democracy can be made the permanent government of humanity. We must not let the opportunity be destroyed. Democracy can be a government for all people by the will of the people, in the interest of all. Then each of us will have the opportunity for achievement and progress. The opportunity to achieve what is desired and to be what each one wills into existence. To always evolve in our own capacity and become conscious of what one truly is. This is the door to a real Democracy — the liberation of the true Self by identifying and stepping into our true responsibility.
A global pandemic. Fires. Floods. Failing governments. Oppression. Marginalization. Narcissism. Cold-blooded murder. Insert your crisis here. While prognosticators could have predicted that any one of these singular events were possible, no one thought it would happen all at once. Yet here we are, one Pentagon press release away from extraterrestrial relationships. Welcome to Q4 2020.
In April of this year, I began to compile my writings, journals, and meditations to sort through my state of being. The working title was “On Purpose: Finding Meaning in a Global Pandemic to Truly Live.” Soon after that, George Floyd was murdered, and more shocks to the system started to happen. My attempt to organize my thoughts, emotions, and path forward quickly began to devolve from 250,000 words into “where is my oxygen mask.” “On Purpose” is still a great title, but it’s so much more now that everything has changed.
For those of us that find ourselves in leadership roles, I’m willing to bet that this is an unprecedented time for you as well. In addition to our careers, we may also play similar roles in our communities, families, and friends. In a continuum of endless Zoom meetings, it’s easy to forget an essential aspect: preserving Self. The anxiety and stress of always having to be “on” can be overwhelming. I kept asking, “how can I help.” The answer was, “work on your Self.”
Factually speaking, our government is not an accurate representation of its population. This is by design as we elected candidates who moved this agenda forward. At the Federal level, our Senate, Executive, and now Judiciary branches are grossly skewed relative to its population’s ethnicities, identifications, and belief systems. A candidate can win the popular vote and yet lose the election for President.
Most of us attach our identity to some party, place ourselves on the spectrum, then leave it to our elected leaders to run things. Rarely do we investigate what’s actually getting done and the long-term ramifications. We blindly believe what our leaders and the media say by investing more time and energy into the feedback loop of our choice. The voter will likely make a minimal effort at best to know what the person they voted for has done in their elected capacity. This statement is true for the 50% of the voting-eligible public that casts a ballot. The remaining 50% of our population may be even more disaffected.
In political campaigns, voters become agitated about red or blue, liberal or right-wing, Q and Antifa, not about the interests of good government. The most successful partisan candidates can best reach and control voters through their appetites, weaknesses, selfishness, and prejudices. An ineffective government will continue so long as those who are governed are selfish, indifferent, and uninformed. Let me be clear; this is not solely a 2020 problem. We didn’t get here overnight. We seem to be blind to the fact that we get what we give, individually or as a whole. Only when we refuse to elect party politicians who appeal to us for what we know to be wrong will we begin to recognize our collective desires. What’s good for our neighbor benefits us as well.
The partisan politics of identity is our enemy because it divides us. It causes us to be against each other and prevents us from having a united government.
The real work begins the moment we submit our ballots, whether Trump or Biden win the election. We have work to do. If we really want an honest government, then we must be honest with ourselves about ourselves. Only then can we have a real Democracy and truly be free. Freedom doesn’t mean that I’m not enslaved or incarcerated. At various points in my journey, I have been imprisoned by my own thoughts, beliefs, desires, blindness, and narcissism. Mean-spiritedness, greed, and brutality towards our Self and others destroy any notion of real freedom. Too many of us believe that liberty gives us the right to say and do whatever we want, regardless of others. This is naive. Liberty is when we respect and give the same consideration to others that we expect for ourselves. Liberty is the state of being free from despots and physical restraint. It’s the power of choice and being able to do as one pleases so long as it doesn’t harm others.
If we do not elect and support the most capable people to public office, we will continue to suffer the consequences of our indifference, prejudices, collusion, and inaction. We will lose our liberty and right to pursue happiness.
The foundation for real Democracy was carefully formulated when the United States came into being, that being our Constitution. The Constitution puts the supreme power of government in the hands of the people. What a foundation we have available to us today. While I’m not blind to the selective application and interpretation of the laws, it’s still the greatest gift given to people who desire freedom. It gives each citizen an explicit right to be, do, believe, or have anything that they can be, do, believe, or have so long as we do not harm others. If we are not invested in having and holding the power of self-government, that power will be taken from us. The people will depend on the government, rather than the government depending on us. This is easier said than done. With the advanced state of the media, the misinformation, interference, and conspiracy theory crisis, it’s so easy to be manipulated and jaded. It is all the more critical that we remain diligent and informed, not victimized by party politics. True responsibility is finding your own answers.
The Constitution doesn’t condone party politics. According to the Constitution, power is not to be with any party or person. The people are supposed to have the power. It hasn’t exactly worked out that way to date. In party government, the good of the party comes first. Then, perhaps, the good of the country. Lastly, maybe, the good of the people. We cannot get representation to protect our interests because those individuals we elect are selected by their parties and pledged to their parties. We cannot have a real democracy as long as the game of party politics continues, and our interests are not aligned.
This is our fault. We are the ones who are responsible, yet our past actions say we are incapable of or unwilling to govern ourselves. We prefer others to run the government for us and then apply blame when things do not work out. We do not want to look into the character of the politicians they elect because it forces us to take a hard look at ourselves. We are easily deceived because our own lack of introspection encourages us to be lazily mesmerized. So the politicians play the game, and guess what? We are the game.
How can we make this work before our imperfect Democracy is taken away from us? We need to collectively realize and reconcile that we are responsible for our thoughts and our actions. We cannot have a real Democracy and truly be free until each of us begins our self-government at home. For example, one of the most significant breakthroughs I’ve had is trigger recognition. Perhaps it was the Molotov cocktails flying in front of my house this summer during the protests, Facebook posts from family, the news, social media, etc. Whenever I feel my anxiety rising, I ask myself the following question: What is it about this person’s behavior reminds me of myself? What aspect of myself do I need to clean up? If it’s a prejudice, I look for situations in my life where I have discriminated against myself and others. When suppression is evident, I investigate moments when I’ve denied myself or someone else the right to choose. This specific discernment requires the willingness, as Neale Donald Walsch says, to “tell the truth about ourselves to ourselves and then to others.” Fear, nepotism, taxes, masks, etc… the triggers are endless. Who am I to judge when my own house hasn’t always been in order?
It is irresponsible to hold others to standards we are unwilling to hold ourselves to.
When we begin to understand that our thoughts and actions create our reality, then it becomes self-evident that we cannot do to another what they would not want others to do to them. What is against the interest of anyone is to the disadvantage of everyone. This fundamental fact about Democracy has never been dealt with and has always failed in every past civilization in its time of trial. It is now again on trial. We, the people, are determining over the next week what kind of Democracy we will have in the future.
There is no better time than the present to bring forth a real democracy, not only for ourselves or even our children’s children. We can continue to lay the foundation for a civilization built to last by employing a government that will continue through the ages because it will be based on the principles of truth, justice, and reason for all. At this critical period of our civilization, new and terrible propensities have been revealed around the globe. If allowed to proceed unchecked, they could sound the death knell for life on earth as we know it. One thing each of us can do immediately: govern our Self by acknowledging our true responsibility. Let me know if I can help.
On Tuesday, Christina King and I recorded our weekly podcast. We spent time talking about the charged political tension which had Christina on edge (and me with my thinking cap on). How can we navigate through these emotional times? Chris and Christina explore and discuss democracy within the structure of the current state of affairs and the future outcomes of all entanglements. If you find yourself uneasy and triggered during these times, this discussion might be for you.