Bob Schwartz

Category: Elections

President John Barron

Things happened so fast in this campaign that it is hard to remember everything. I had forgotten, and was just reminded by a previous post of mine, that Donald Trump reportedly had called up journalists pretending to be a publicist for Trump named John Miller or John Barron (Barron is the name of Trump’s youngest son).

This gave me an idea, to help those who are still having trouble with the election results, and may have trouble for a while to come. Consider identifying the next President as either John Miller or John Barron. (Between the two, President John Barron has a very presidential, almost royal, sound to it.)

The news about the next administration may not be easy for some people to accept. But if you think of it as the administration of President John Barron, that might make things just a little bit easier.

By a Captain You’re No Captain

child-captain

There’s an old comedy bit that appears on a bestselling comedy album from 1965, You Don’t Have To Be Jewish. My Son, The Captain is about a rich guy who’s proudly showing of his new yacht and his captain’s outfit to his parents. His father puts him in his place.

Son: Well, Mama, Papa, how do you like my new yacht? Cost me $84,000, with the twin diesel engines, top speed 35 knots. And here we are on the open sea, with the sea and the sun and the wind in our hair. It’s a little different than the Bronx, huh, Mama, Papa?

Papa: Yeah.

Mama: That’s right.

Son: And look at this uniform I’m wearing. Custom made, from Abercrombie and Fitch. How about it, Papa. Your son is a regular captain, huh?

Papa: Listen, sonny. I don’t have to tell you, by Mama you’re a captain, by me you’re a captain, and by you you’re a captain. But by a captain you’re no captain.

After the Election: No Path Without Guidance

Feelings are magnified about the election right now. They will remain strong for a while, and may get more pronounced as the actuality sets in.

These strong feelings can be a motivator in trying to move things in a direction you view as better. You will think about what that direction is, and you will think about what actions can contribute. This can be all good.

But strong feelings and well-meaning thought and action can be ineffective, counterproductive, and even harmful, if we don’t seek guidance. However bad you feel, however smart you are, you need to look outside yourself for that guidance.

The kind and source of guidance depends on which voices and principles have served you in the past. And if you haven’t spent much time with such voices and principles, you might take this opportunity to try it.

This doesn’t at all mean just religious, spiritual or philosophical voices to listen to. In a political situation, you will find plenty of great political thinkers, some ancient, some contemporary, who offer sound and principled advice.

The point is not to listen just to yourself, and not just to individuals in your circle of like-minded people, who may be just as passionately unsettled as you. You may have good ideas and approaches, they may have good ideas and approaches. But hard as it is to believe right now, there is nothing new under the sun, even in politics and governing, and people have been refining their thinking about this not just for decades or centuries, but for thousands of years.

When it seems dark, politically or personally, we may think we can find a path solely by our own lights. Almost always, we are wrong.

Lessons from the Election: Vote Even If You’re Not Fired Up or Feeling It

Many Americans are not happy with the results of this presidential election. And many of those  people did not vote, or are not even registered.

People have a lot of reasons for why they don’t vote. None of them are good.

You don’t have to be fired up and feeling it to vote.

Millions of Americans go to work every day not feeling it. They may not put a smile on their faces. They may curse their bosses and torture their coworkers at every opportunity. But they show up.

Millions of Americans have sex with their spouses or partners not feeling it. Sometimes, of course, this is because of coercion or aggression, which is a bad, bad thing. But sometimes it is to help the relationship and because they care.

The next election, don’t wait until you’re fired up or feeling it. Vote because you will win the right to legitimately complain (which non-voters don’t have this time around). Vote because something good might happen or something bad might be prevented. Vote because you care.

Sojourners: Time for Healing. And Resistance.

time-for-healing-and-resistance

Jim Wallis, founder of Sojourners, has long been the loudest, most articulate, and most respected voice on behalf of social justice from a genuinely Evangelical Christian perspective. Not “Evangelical Christian” in the sense of those who have made that identical with a right-wing political agenda. “Evangelical Christian” in the sense of what Jesus would have those who claim to follow him do.

His post-election essay, Time for Healing. And Resistance. is so coherent and inspirational that it doesn’t bear quoting from in pieces. Please read it, whatever your religious or spiritual leanings, if any.

Jim Wallis writes, “I just want you to know that I AM IN for whatever this will require of us.” He is speaking to and about Christians, but he is really challenging those of all faiths or of no faith at all to speak out and stand up.

Veterans Day and Operation Unite America

veterans-day

Friday, November 11 is Veterans Day, which this year arrives during the same week as Election Day (you remember that day, don’t you?)

The great Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) has organized Operation Unite America:

Veterans Day 2016 is just 3 days after Election Day. Join IAVA’s campaign to do the impossible: bring together all Americans.

After a long, brutal and disgusting election season, everyone’s had it. It hasn’t been a good look for America. Everyone is exhausted–many are outright embarrassed. But Republican, Democrat, Independent, Other…we’re ALL sick of the bickering, the commercials, the debates, the politics, the fighting.

Here is your mission (if you choose to accept it!), JOIN US:

Tag your Veterans Day activities on social media with #veteransday

Donate $11 to IAVA to help us support veterans

Attend a #veteransday #VetTogether

 

tammy-duckworth

In the wake of Election Day, it is happy news to report that Rep. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois won a seat in the U.S. Senate. She is an Iraq War veteran, awarded the Purple Heart after losing both her legs. She joins a number of women warriors in Congress, which needs more women and more experienced warriors who know how to choose our wars carefully. And who will take good care of other warriors when they come home.

Sweet Things Happened on Election Day Too

cupcakes

Eight dozen cupcakes were baked, filled and decorated here on Election Day, having nothing to do with Election Day. Lemon, red velvet, chocolate raspberry, etc. Sweet things from the heart happened and will continue to happen. (They are delicious!)

Readings for the Day of National Healing

Medicine Buddha Mandala

Here are readings for the Day of National Healing from Ocean of Dharma: The Everyday Wisdom of Chogyam Trungpa, a recommended collection of very brief excerpts from his talks and texts. The image above is of the Medicine Buddha.

THE FUTURE IS IN OUR HANDS

We hold the threshold of the future of the world in our hands, on our path. When we say this, we are not dreaming. We are not exaggerating. We hold a tremendous hope, maybe the only hope for the future dark age.

We have a lot of responsibilities, and those responsibilities are not easy to fulfill. They won’t come along easily, like an ordinary success story. They have to be stitched, painted, carved, step by step, inch by inch, minute by minute. It will be manual work. There will be no automatic big sweep, or solution.

When something good is done in the world, it is usually difficult. It is manual, rather than automatic. When something bad is done, usually that is automatic. Evil things are easy to catch, but good ones are difficult to catch. They go against the grain of ordinary habitual tendencies.

PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE

Humans are the only animals that try to dwell in the future. You don’t have to purely live in the present situation without a plan, but the future plans you make can only be based on the aspects of the future that manifest within the present situation. You can’t plan a future if you don’t know what the present situation is. You have to start from now to know how to plan.

CONVERSING WITH OUR NEGATIVITY

You can always count on the fact that our aspect of viciousness or apelike quality will reflect back to us. Then we can either project it onto somebody else or we can reflect and realize the situation within ourselves. Quite precisely, when you are in that particular state of mind, there is a kind of conversation going on. You may try to tell yourself to calm down and not worry. But then the undercurrent of the force of the projection tries to pierce through again and again. There is always this conversation going on with one’s own negativity. The neurotic aspect of mind is always willing to fall into either the extreme of left or right. The right extreme is anger, the masculine extreme. The left is passion, the feminine extreme. This symbolism is true and universal—a cosmic symbol, which happens with all of life. These symbols are not based on Indian, Buddhist, or Tibetan stories at all. These are utterly cosmic principles, as far as the symbolism is concerned.

WORK WITH THE PRESENT SITUATION

The buddhist tradition teaches the truth of impermanence, or the transitory nature of things. The past is gone and the future has not yet happened, so we work with what is here—the present situation. This actually helps us not to categorize or theorize. A fresh, living situation is taking place all the time, on the spot. This noncategorical approach comes from being fully here, rather than trying to reconnect with past events. We don’t have to look back to the past in order to see what people are made out of. Human beings speak for themselves, on the spot.

Day of National Healing: November 9, 2016

Day of National Healing

Day of National Healing

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And all the world will live as one
John Lennon, Imagine

I declare November 9 a Day of National Healing.

Please stop snickering. Or pitying my naiveté in the face of so many unpleasant realities.

Our need for national healing is massive. Huge. We are literally sick and tired of this election. The thought going around, and it is not ridiculous and I’ve said it myself, is that things may actually get worse after the election.

Another thought, also not ridiculous, is that we might still want to find a way through this. In fact, we have to. If we are sincere about getting on with our lives, personal and national, we have got to start somewhere, sometime. The day after Election Day seems as good a time as any.

I am inspired and informed, as I often am, by the I Ching. Here is what the text says to us today:

Hexagram 38
Kui/Diversity

Diversity.
Little things:
Good fortune.

All beings diversify,
But their functions are the same.
Great indeed is the time and significance of diversity.

The superior person seeks common ground on major issues
While reserving differences on minor ones.

“In the course of diversifying, there is still similarity—this is the unique wisdom of the I Ching….Diversity is natural and unavoidable. The key is in seeking harmony. To the Chinese, all diversity can be harmonized, no matter whether it is between members of a household, or members of a society, or between nations of the world. The clue lies in one’s attitude. If both sides are willing to come together in sincerity and truthfulness, no problem cannot be solved.” (Alfred Huang)

In one sense, it is hard to see how the day after the election will be an unconditionally good day for many people. Millions will celebrate having avoided whatever horror they foresaw, millions of others will plan ways to deal with the horror they see taking place. That is not a formula for healing.

We have got to try something, something else than what we’ve been experiencing. A new way on November 9 can’t come soon enough.

After 70 Years of Progress, America Must Face Itself Again

Church

Black Church Burned, With ‘Vote Trump’ Scrawled on Side

In 1945 America helped defeat Nazi Germany, a global force that threatened to engulf the world in virulent hate and tyranny. In the aftermath of a brutal but noble victory, and despite deserved self-congratulation, America was forced to look at itself. It was not immune to or unfamiliar with similar levels and types of hate within—in certain places, among certain people.

We worked at identifying and eliminating that sort of hate, institutionally and individually, to the extent that is ever possible. There were missteps and resistance, along with denials and rationalizations. Progress was made, sometimes in fits and starts, and the work goes on.

This has been a year of staggering, stupefying realizations. Among the things we know better, as if we weren’t aware, is that there are plenty of people with hate in their hearts who for a long while have felt marginalized and silenced by a degree of public decency. Another thing we learned, and should know, is that once public decency is called into question or invalidated, those same people will be encouraged and emboldened.

I wrote about this eight months ago, in a post Unleashing the Dogs of Hate. If you haven’t noticed, that hate is barking louder and starting to bite.

Like it or not, these are our countrymen. Pretending they are not has never worked, nor has giving up because there’s nothing to be done. Progress has been made, and though it would be comfortable to believe things inevitably move forward, they don’t. Backwards happens, but not if we start by facing up again to who we are and hope to be. And then get back to work.