“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” — Mahatma Gandhi
Do we teach in civic or history classes or via the media the potential transformational change that our Constitution and democracy bring to the world? Be aware that our Founding Fathers were “beginners,” creating a republic of democratic participation. They allowed for amendments to the Constitution as our way of life evolved from an industrial age to a highly technical society.
The American Constitution was and still can be an outstanding revolutionary step forward in evolutionary consciousness. The job of government is to be an instrument of social good and human development for the common good of all. The job of politics is the process to enable citizens to live together and make a contribution to humanity in freedom and security. The job of the citizen is to become an informed voter and participate actively when possible.
On a spiritual level, I see a potential to act effectively in the social sphere with compassion and empathy. This requires going beyond the categories of liberal, conservative, political ideology or any structure of domination and exclusion. In other words, caring for each other.
Local nonviolent demonstrators consciously act to bring out the best in people while attempting to educate and expose inequality and injustice. For example, the Veterans for Peace and Resist Raytheon act locally, collaborating with national and global groups. We are not alone in seeking a more just and loving world. It is a lifelong activity of democratic and spiritual participation.
Let’s overcome our feelings of helplessness and act together to deal with our changing world in kindness and mutual respect to overcome the negativity in our society. For example, I witnessed at Pack Square Park a small religious group screaming at pro-choice demonstrators that they were murderers and sinners. This is not the Christianity I grew up with. What school did they attend?
I liken this to the Jan. 6 insurrection attempt to override an election. This group felt in their heart that our system is not working. I agree. But they denied the legal process and chose violence. These two groups reflect bad religion and bad citizenship, highlighting our materialistic way of life and the inability of our government to bring people together for a higher purpose.
A contemplative spiritual path is the only way I see nonviolence and a caring society taking hold in the world. We need a “new bottom line.” Everything is changing, no matter how much the powers that be work against democracy and we the people.
Lifelong learning will benefit you younger folks in your retirement years. We need our souls to be stirred to action that comes from a deep spiritual place beyond labels and mere complaining. Positive change must be social and spiritual because our problems go deeper than politics and cannot be imposed from above. It can only spread from person to person, friend to friend, family to family, and conversing face to face with opposing views to find common ground and share each other’s partial truths.
“American history is longer, larger, more various, more beautiful and more terrible than anything anyone has said about it.” — James Baldwin
Act now! Don’t wait until retirement!
— Ed Sacco
Editor’s note: Sacco notes that readers may email firstname.lastname@example.org for local resources.