Indivisible: The Relationship Within | Weekly | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine
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Indivisible: The Relationship Within 

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Obsession with Politics; How About Service?

At the moment, many people are obsessed with politics. Opinions are flying around, subscription rates to newspapers are increasing, and Facebook and Twitter are flooded in the latest news about that Huckster guy.

While this is happening, I have a question: What have you done today to help a neighbor, or your community? I know that talking seems like action, but posting to Facebook does not count as service. Opinions about fair and unfair, right and wrong, and what to do about "illegals" are entirely vapid without personal action to back them up. People are struggling, and it's not with opinions.

If you can fix cars, have you helped anyone desperately in need of transportation get their vehicle on the road? If you can build websites, have you helped someone just getting started to get their work onto the Internet? If you believe in helping animals, have you done anything to take care of an actual critter (donating to the ASPCA does not count for this purpose). If you have extra food, have you helped a hungry person eat? If you have some knowledge or a skill, have you made it available lately to anyone free of charge? Are you looking for places where you can help, or do you look for how to avoid helping?

If you are concerned about how society is being run, you're the one who needs to do some sustained work on a problem that your community is facing.

Once you start to ask yourself these questions, you might notice how self-serving all that we call politics is. It's as stimulating and as spiritually empty as pornography. Since we get most of both in little videos on the Internet, it's arguable that they are the same thing, with the same impact.

If you think the world needs to be a better place, go get your tools and start building, fixing, helping, or at least tidying things up.

Of Truth and Lies

Politics has long been the purview of lies and deception, but we've reached a new peak of that. The Huckster held a now-famous press conference on February 16, wherein a reporter called him out on the lie that his Electoral College was the biggest since Reagan. In fact, the Huckster got fewer electoral votes than any president of any electoral cycle going back to Reagan: Bush 41, Clinton, Bush 44, and Obama all got more Electoral College votes.

The reporter persisted with his line of questioning. The Huckster would not relent. In the end, when the math failed, we were all supposed to agree that his victory was huge; he thinks so. He is still angry that Hillary Clinton got more actual votes. Clearly, this kind of lying is intended as a maddening distraction from many other problems that are going unaddressed and getting worse by the day.

Lately, it seems like many personal conversations between individuals have the tone of a reporter calling out a deceitful politician. Deceit is a form of posturing: taking a position and holding it until one crushes one's opponent.

If lies make you angry, I suggest you respond by being a more truthful person. Sometimes it seems like all of society and all of social life are based on casual deception that ruins our faith in one another: making excuses, saying what you don't mean, not meaning what you say, and so on.

Hold yourself to the standard of truth. If you try this and notice that you really can't, see the web you're caught in. A fellow named Adolf Hitler pointed out in his book that people believe the big lies of politics because they are constantly lying. This is one place where the personal-political connection is especially poignant.

Nobody who is a habitual liar has a right to call out a politician for lying. This is a genuine question of integrity. You cannot hold people to what you're not willing to do; this is an energy equation and a moral one as well.

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