Don’t let their blood red tarnish your vision

In the wake of the 2020 US election, I’m sitting with the sinking feeling, lodged like a stone in my gut, that there is not going to be any easy exit from the social quagmire that now exists in the United States. The ideological lines between red and blue have deepened into chasms between people who apparently disagree about pretty much everything. 

The red side is ready and willing to take up guns to settle such disagreements. In 2020 America, violence is always only a hair’s breath away, with millions of guns in civilian circulation, combined with militarized police forces everywhere. 

On the red side are autocrats who liked the original Constitution just fine—the one that gave rights only to landowning white men. It’s been especially disturbing to see how many white women support their own oppression, voting for the Handmaid’s Tale-esque party of “grab’em by the pussy.” 

I’ve seen some social media posts blaming the robust red turn-out on a poor public education system. It’s true that the red autocrats have been battling for years for ideological control of the common curriculum, with considerable success. I’m always struck by the starkly different narratives offered by American students from various parts of the country, when I ask them what they were taught about key topics like Native American history, the Civil War, slavery and women’s rights. 

But the most potent ideological education seems to be happening via the media these days. The red/blue divide is also a Fox/NPR divide. The Fox side lies with impunity and calls anyone who disagrees with their point of view a liar. How can you argue logically with people like that? 

Both sides speak to their own choirs, in a cacophony that boils over in every election cycle, when we are forced to hold our noses and listen briefly to each other. 

I have found myself pondering how a red/blue secession might work, logistically: is a bicoastal country possible? Or would the Pacific Coast and New England/Atlantic Coast each form their own federations? 

The fact that I am thinking about this is profoundly disturbing.

But given the Democrats’ failure to secure a majority in the Senate or mobilize a presidential landslide, in a year where at least apparently this was not because of “Russian interference” or any nasty “October surprise”—in a year when the red leadership seemed to be bending over backward to show its heinous true colors—blood red, we might call it—well, there is just no way to sweet-talk myself into believing that sane heads will prevail in American government going forward, even if, as I hope, Biden takes the White House.

The meanness and gridlock will continue, with the most vulnerable people being continually sacrificed on the altar of greed and xenophobia. Racism and sexism will continue to worsen, with a Fox-driven hysteria around “socialism” and “elitism” that whips poor white people up to do the bidding of the masters. 

As a woman of Jewish heritage, I am aware of my family’s privilege, these past few decades, of “passing for white” in the racist USA. But any Jew in this country has to be triggered by the Nazi rhetoric and symbolism coming out of the White House lately. What are Jews like Mnuchin, Miller, Kushner and Adelson but the kapos greasing the wheels of bigotry, hoping to profit off the downfall of others? Attorney Cohen saw how well that went. 

And yet—and yet, all the sages of the world tell us to respond to such evil with love, not fear. Meet hatred with forgiveness. Melt oppression by turning the other cheek. 

I don’t like the feeling of my heart hardening. I know it’s the work of fear, throwing up walls, finding enemies, closing down compassion. 

I have compassion for the millions of people who have been duped by the Fox oligarchy into voting against their own interests.; those who have been persuaded to harden their own hearts, not only against their perceived enemies, but also to the vulnerable within their own ranks. 

I do not have compassion or love for the ones who are doing the manipulating, in such a cynical, open way. They may be thinking that it worked for Hitler, but we know how many paid the price. 

Is the US heading for a civil war? Is there anyone on the horizon with the uniting vision of Lincoln who can pull us back from the brink and remind us what “these United States” are supposed to stand for?

I know it’s a mistake to rely on charismatic leaders. We should be looking within ourselves for that leadership, those answers. 

Vision is all. Vibration is powerful. We cannot allow their dark visions to prevail. 

Perhaps this is what is meant by “coming from love, not fear”:

Continuing to hold a bright vision of “equality and justice for all”; to animate that vision with personal integrity, making it so at least within our own limited spheres; trusting that the positive vibrations we put out into the world can and will make a difference, growing into a mighty chorus affirming the human potential for kindness, respect, beauty and right relations among all beings on this Earth. 

Join me in this, the least we can each do: don’t let the blood red of their vision tarnish yours. Keep your vibration high. 

Photo by J. Browdy, October 2020.
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  1. Thank you Jennifer. I share your passion and your quandary – how to have universal compassion, how to get “out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,” how to find that field where “even the phrase ‘each other’ doesn’t make any sense.”

    Jan (my wife) and I are just now (finally!) starting to put up videos on our YouTube page. One type of video we’ve had fun with recently is what we’re calling “Driving videos.” This one is one we took recently.

    I only noticed after watching an early version of it that it can be a very powerful way to evoke what the Taoist sages call “movement in stillness” or equally “stillness in movement.” If you let your gaze rest on the “field” off in the distance, and AT THE SAME TIME noice the feeling of the stillness of your body, you may get a glimpse of this sense of Taoist nonduality. The field closer to the car moves fast, the distant field moves very slowly, and the body is still. Underlying all (the near and distant field as well as the body) is the open, non judgmental awareness (sometimes referred to as the “soul”) which takes it all in – video, body, emotions, thoughts, Fox oligarchy, millions of people duped, Hitler, Lincoln, positive vibrations, negative vibrations, the whole magilla.
    As long as we don’t perceive the field, the infinite, interconnected, inseparably non-dual field, compassion for “the ones doing the manipulating” is impossible. As long as we see those ones as “”other” then non judging is impossible.

    And it’s not that we don’t perceive the Field. There is nothing BUT the Field. We misperceive it, like a stick appearing to be bent in water, we perceive what we believe are distinct “parts” of the Field as “other,” as “bad,” as “the ones doing the manipulating. But seeing the Field as all – all one movement in stillness, stillness in movement – we perceive – directly that there is no “other.”

    *****

    The language above may seem complex, abstract, remote. But we all have moments – many moments, some evocatively depicted in your blog posts – when we just know this. You know, sitting with a dear friend in close communion, perhaps just sitting by a window having a quiet cup of coffee. Or perhaps in more active engagement with the world – marching for freedom, playing basketball, dancing with a group of friends.

    The reason we keep going “back to sleep, back to sleep, back to sleep,” is we don’t realize these moments are a pointer to that Field where we all meet. We think it’s the communion with the firned, the cup of coffee, the march, the basketball game or the dancing, and we keep going back to those moments trying to recapture them, only ending up with the sadness of being unable to grasp what is essentially ungraspable – because it is already here. Our failure to realize the Field is here makes us look for it – and looking for it reinforces the feeling it is not here!

    When we finally give up, trying to fix ourselves, fix the world in the way we think is best, and utterly, wholly let go, suddenly we find it all here.

    Does this mean we don’t march, we don’t protest, we don’t write blog posts pointing out the polarization?

    Not at all. But now we march, protest and write without going back to sleep. We march/protest/write AS the Field. It is not the little me, but the Field writing about itSelf. It is the Field that we see – without judgment, without otherness – appearing as all, playing out as duped millions and those who do the duping, and we can have compassion because there is no “other.” We don’t evoke or “try” to have compassion – compassion and love are the natural expressions of the recognition of the Unity of the Field!

    For a MUCH simpler expression of this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1t3Qnu7_hnU&feature=youtu.be

    Reply

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