4 Responses to What makes them tick? Part 1 in a two-part series

  1. LB says:

    Thanks Kathie, for including a favorite scripture passage in your post. It’s one of mine too. People don’t have to be religious (or Christian) to appreciate Jesus’s message, which speaks to what it means to be human, to suffer and struggle, to face temptation and find courage through love.

    One of the many reasons I love Jesus’ teachings is that rather than focusing on law, vengeance and religious dogma, as the Old Testament frequently did, his words generally have both an outer and inner (symbolic) meaning and are designed to encourage greater self-reflection, consciousness and moral engagement.

    One example of this is when Jesus challenges his followers by saying: “Why do you observe the splinter in your brother’s eye and never notice the plank in your own? How dare you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the splinter out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own? Hypocrite! Take the plank out of your own eye first, and then you will see clearly enough to take the splinter out of your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:3-5/Luke 6:41-42)

    In the game of politics, it’s what Republicans/conservatives do whenever they dehumanize or scapegoat ‘the other’ or force the least among us to earn, justify or prove their sacred and innate value as human beings. And what Democrats/liberals do whenever we commit these same injustices (or versions of them, carried out with less media focus or using kinder language, justified as being necessary political compromises) . . . and then blame Republicans for doing the very same things.

    How many of us make a genuine effort to really know ourselves and to recognize/admit to having our own self-serving moral blind spots and proclivities for self-deception, denial and hypocrisy ~ to remove the symbolic “planks” obscuring our vision? Many, if not most of us, vote and support causes based on speeches or news we see in the MSM, or on political rhetoric that appeals to our feelings and desire to belong, without being fully informed.

    Jesus also said, “Do not suppose I have come to bring peace to the earth: it is not peace I have come to bring, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. A man’s enemies will be those of his own household.” (Matthew 10:34-36)

    I believe the sword Jesus speaks of symbolizes an inner truth which painfully cuts away and separates us from our former beliefs, illusions and the chorus of false (personal and collective) voices each of us carries within. We’re asked to develop a more inclusive, independent and *critical perspective* in our understanding of ourselves and in relation to the world and one another. In order to fully embrace and embody his message, we must move beyond our previous unconscious and limited conditioning and tribal identifications with family, political party, religion, nation, etc, and surrender our attachment to anyone or anything that holds us back from becoming fully conscious, loving and whole.

    Whether Republican, Democrat, or members of some other group or party ~ murder, torture, greed, oppression and apathy are just as deadly no matter their architects. We condone these injustices through our participation, silence and/or votes in support of our system.

    There was an interesting article on CounterPunch a few days ago, “Before Trump, the Border Wall Was a Bipartisan Project”. I was aware of some of it, not all. Here are a few paragraphs:

    ” . . . Congress had already approved a border wall not too long ago. In 2006, legislators—including many Democrats—passed the Secure Fence Act, which called for 700 miles of double-fence construction along certain stretches of the border. Trump cited the Bush-era law in the first paragraph of the executive order he signed Wednesday as rationale for his executive authority to order a wall be built.”

    “Many of the same democratic leaders now bemoaning Trump’s wall voted for one at the time— Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Chuck Schumer, Dianne Feinstein.”

    “Then-Senator Barack Obama, who as President would later deport a record-high 3 million people during his two terms, lauded the bill on the Senate floor, saying it would “help stem some of the tide of illegal immigration in this country.”


  2. Dot Walsh says:

    I had the opportunity to view a film the other day “Silent Fear” from spirit to activism. I was able to stay afterwards to take part in a brief discussion and listen to the comments of others. It appeared that the women who were present had attended the march and were thinking about next steps. The film highlighted some worldwide events where activism was marked with violence. This resulted in people talking about their fears of being involved in any further activism. I thought that this was a healthy reality as we all have to decide what we are willing to do for a next step. Civil disobedience is not for everybody but we need to ask what will we do?
    The Women’s March in Washington, DC, NYC, Boston, and around the world on Saturday January 21, was a triumph for activism. Now another opportunity is presenting itself. Plans are being made for a major new strike by women in the United States and elsewhere against all levels of violence and discrimination against women. Read all about it at:

  3. LB says:

    Kathie ~ At the end of your post, you challenged us to imagine ourselves being a neutral observer in another country and listening to U.S. political rhetoric. My initial thought was that it would be impossible to remain neutral if living in a country on the receiving end of the United State’s long history of violence and aggression, behaviors that existed long before President Trump was elected.

    There’s an article on Common Dreams today, “Iranian Supreme Leader Thanks Trump for Exposing ‘Real Face’ of America” by Lauren McCauley. Whether we like Khamenei or not, his point still addresses the question as to how the U.S. (and our hypocritical political rhetoric) is perceived:

    “We actually thank this new president!” Khamenei continued. “We thank him, because he made it easier for us to reveal the real face of the United States. What we have been saying, for over thirty years, about political, economic, moral, and social corruption within the U.S. ruling establishment, he came out and exposed during the election campaigns and after the elections.”

    “Now, with everything he is doing,” Khamenei added, “he is showing the reality of American human rights.”


    Maybe the only good thing to come of a Trump presidency is that he’ll fully reveal the shadow of our collective denial and complicity as Americans. We keep voting them in, expecting the same corrupt system and players who support it to be different.

  4. Pingback: What makes them tick: Part 2. | Engaging Peace

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