(Published in The Free Weekly)
Perhaps our deepest disease is egocentrism and nationalistic ethnocentrism. Albert Einstein insisted we transcend this “optical delusion of consciousness (which restricts our) affection for a few persons nearest to us.” Einstein continues, “(We) must free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty (and obtain) liberation from the self. We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if humanity is to survive.”
This egocentrism is the source of selfishness that keeps us from caring about others with empathy. It’s the source of demonization and dehumanization of the “other” that permits callous indifference to bombs raining down on foreign neighborhoods, or distant ecosystems being destroyed and polluted. Only egocentrism shrugs at humans now causing the 6th mass extinction event.
Teachers throughout the ages insist that we transcend that sense of isolation, and realize we’re all connected and interdependent as One Self. Beyond mutually dependent happiness, our very survival as a species is dependent on how we treat Nature, that supposed “other” we think we can dominate with no consequence.
A famous pundit once said, “The ethic of conservation is the explicit abnegation of man’s dominion over the Earth...God said (be) fruitful, multiply, and rape the planet — it’s yours. That’s our job: drilling, mining (and) Big gas-guzzling cars …” This quote exemplifies our corporatist Wall Street economy, and money-worshipping Biblical distortion.
Enter Jill Stein, a champion of environmental and peace leadership. Can she beat idea-deficient candidates Hillary and Trump? It’s unlikely since various institutional and mental constipations almost guarantee bowel lock down in 2016. Although the belly is rumbling, America appears unprepared to take the requisite healthy dump…yet.
In addition to numerous anti-democratic mechanisms, this shitter shutter includes ignorance of third party history, including the incredible array of beneficial and successful ideas they introduced in the Progressive Era. Also, the Republican Party of Lincoln started as a third party as the Whigs fractured, and current parties are now facing similar seismic activity. Peace hero Dennis Kucinich sees the tectonic plates shifting and predicts a political earthquake, which could include a third party.
Focusing on Stein’s electoral success in 2016 misses the point, which is the highly intelligent ideas she represents. These include bold positions on peace science and environmental science, which can be found at OnTheIssues.org. In addition to a serious plan for global disarmament, actual solutions to terrorism, and dissolution of American empire, the Green New Deal could solve many of our gravest challenges all at once.
We must have patience because great ideas take time. Like a tree, a philosopher once said powerful ideas can take 20 years to bear fruit. Yet, the seeds must be planted and watered. These ideas aren’t owned by Stein, nor were Bernie’s. Many have origins in numerous intellectuals past and present, and advocated by thousands of nonprofit organizations. We’ll postpone the imagination origin debate, and abolition of progress-retarding intellectual property, for another time.
It’ll take a miraculous explosion of awareness for a President Stein, but some success has already occurred considering millions have now heard her. If she gets 5 percent of the national vote, it opens doors for public funding and ballot access in subsequent elections, enabling someone to carry the torch of ideas to greater success.
Beyond presidential egos, let’s also peer deeper at the incredibly inspiring evolution in American consciousness. Most Americans now agree the Iraq War was a disaster. Most agree unrestrained Wall Street is a problem, and a plurality do not fully support the major Wall Street-War parties. Most also agree money in politics is a problem, and support ending gerrymandering and the electoral college. Additionally, most support a Green New Deal, Medicare for All, addressing police brutality, and reforming our marijuana laws. (Go Issue 7 for Medical Cannabis in Arkansas!)
Furthermore, the millennial generation is overwhelmingly more progressive, so this support will only grow. As The Intercept reported, a top conservative pollster found this generation terrifyingly liberal, with 58% disagreeing with American exceptionalism and capitalism. Additionally, 66% said corporate America “embodies everything that is wrong with America.” Revolutionary ideas must prevail if our grandchildren are to inherit a planet worth living on, instead of a lifeless, toxic cesspool of plastic and concrete. We must move beyond short-sighted egocentric politics and economics, into an era of interdependence that demands environmental harmony and peace.
We must cast our sacred votes for ideas, and like watering plants, those ideas will grow. Continue voting for fracking Wall Street wars, and the planet will continue withering. Most Americans dislike the War Party candidates, but a minority of Americans will elect one out of fear of the other. War is almost guaranteed to be elected.
Yet, someone once said that small groups of people are the only thing that ever changes the world. We can choose to be that minority for peace and a habitable planet. We can vote for a water drip that may become a torrent to wash the ocean of blood from our body politic.