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Monday, August 1, 2016

Election Noise and Desiderata

As the 2016 US presidential election cycle ramps up toward its culminating crescendo, this ordinary citizen is blessed to appreciate the value --- of silence.  Yes, silence.   Reflecting on Desiderata, posted previously, adds yet to the blessing.  Note how that noble poem begins:

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

The din of the presidential nominating conventions is now safely behind us.  It occurs to this ordinary citizen that should the average voter not be able to distinguish between wheat and chaff in all of 5 minutes, then one could dedicate the next 10 hours explaining yet they’d still not get it.  Perhaps human nature is such that some may never get it.  We must be at peace with that.

Consider that in the 1932 election --- 3+ years into the depths of the ongoing Great Depression, the unemployment rate at an alarming 25% and the Republican candidate promising “to do nothing” as a platform for re-election --- nearly 40% of the electorate still voted the national Republican ticket.  Remarkable as that may now seem, we must be at peace with that, also.

Silence is often the time we can hear the best.  It is said that’s why God has given us one mouth but two ears.  To facilitate listening.  Why make our own contribution to the noise, when we are better served to listen?  In the silence are sure to be the answers we seek.    The poem continues: 

As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexations to the spirit.

The ordinary citizen has more than enough balls in the air to juggle within the competitive economic landscape than to negotiate the din of who will be elected next.  What then?  If the system does not provide a fair shot for the many, as some suggest, the ordinary citizen might be well served to go to that place where material things give way to matters of the spirit.  Fear, doubt, hopelessness, despair: consider that none of these are real.  It may be easier to be at peace, were one to have this simple understanding.

We must look within for spiritual guidance:

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

We must be easier on ourselves, too.  Consider that the idea of forgiveness begins with forgiving ourselves first --- primarily for judging others.  Sometimes, we must be reminded that we --- all of us --- are children of the universe.  No one person is better than any other.  We are all the same --- connected to each other as children of the one God.  Doesn’t that make life seem a bit easier?

Finally, the poem concludes:

And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
keep peace in your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.  Strive to be happy.

Why may we not see ourselves giving Love as a means of livelihood for that is what we all do?  Love is the exchange for all.  Forgiveness, healing and love are truly the sine qua non of this evolving universe.

Peace and good will to all.

-Michael D'Angelo