‘I interpret the November 2016 election as a moment of reckoning that we’ve needed for a long time in this country, but we’ve put it off because that’s easier. Until humans are forced to look at something and reckon with it, we don’t. But it was our country’s entire history, built on a foundation of slavery, Native American genocide, and capitalist exploitation—which converts everything into a commodity for maximum commercialization—that ultimately gave us the November election results. We’re a people deeply divided on who, or what, we think this country is; and what we want it to be. Some people say this election gave a platform to hate, but I think there are deeper historical forces at work that we’ve never acknowledged—even those of us who think we’re better than “the haters.” From my perspective, the election made perfectly clear what has always been the case in this country: It was founded to favor—to make central—white, wealthy, heterosexual males.
That’s not surprising: white, heterosexual males were the founding fathers. They didn’t consider women their equals. They didn’t consider African-Americans or Native Americans full human beings. Yes, the history of the country also includes the effort to expand who the country is for—women, former slaves, and in just the last few years, the LGBTQ community. Progressives have called this progress, but there’s obviously a large segment of the population who think differently. You can’t “make America great again” unless you think there was something great about America in the past that has been lost through all these years of what some of us think of as progress.
“The reckoning” is how we come to terms with that fact. I don’t think it’s something we can do politically. It’s something that has to be done spiritually because it’s actually an identity crisis. Politics is concerned with expediency; with winning; with “winner take all.” To do that, we too often demonize our opponents—say those very same, white heterosexual males. We can’t keep doing that and expect to shift things. We have to recognize our underlying unity. We have to viscerally understand that we’re all in the same boat.’
There is a debate going on in the Buddhist blogosphere about whether we are supposed to be apolitical or not (if you are interested, I am sure you can find the posts). I came across this interview in The Moon with Rev. angel, and she takes a deeper stance that, once again, I find helpful and inspiring. There were several sections I could have pulled out to quote; initially I had chosen a tamer section, but then I changed my mind. I encourage you to read the whole thing for her clear spiritual perspective on where we are, how we got here, and how we can move forward together.