A family recipe, a childhood memory, a Depression-era handout
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The talk around here after the election is of broken hearts, dreams cracking like eggs, the light deserting the body. The sense of evil loosed upon the land is compelling, seductive — but, I ask myself, of what does evil consist? Fear and ignorance. Its effects are real, but the source of it is not — which is to say, I’ve decided not to let Ronald Reagan be more important than God. There’s craziness in each of us, and it’s ritualized in the society. We’re probably in for a lot of it. But our cynicism and paranoia had better not blind us to our choices, our knowledge that the reason we’re here is to face down those fears, individually and collectively, to make life conscious.
We turned Johnson into a devil, and then Nixon, and some even tried to do it to Carter. Some do it to their wives or their husbands. Or to parts of themselves they find too terror-filled to accept. If we do it now to Reagan, it will be because we ignore our common bond — our humanness, our frailty and indestructibility, our contradictions. “Hippies create police, police create hippies,” Ram Dass reminded us a decade ago. “If you’re in polarity, you’re creating polar opposites. You can only protest effectively when you love the person whose ideas you are protesting against as much as you love yourself.”
When we get a glimpse of the interrelatedness of everything, the oneness in it all, we no longer identify with our morality play. We still have our yes and our no — God knows, to live in this world, and preserve it for future generations, we need to draw the line. But unless we do it with love, we create the very thing we don’t want. Didn’t the politics of the sixties teach us this? Don’t our bodies tell us this, don’t our inner and outer circumstances blare forth the message? At that vital intersection where we both create our own reality and are acted upon by the entire universe, we see the marriage of the political and the private, society and self, dreams and “reality,” the living spirit and the shadows we struggle to bring into the light. I think Che Guevera said the true revolutionary is motivated by the greatest love. The fact is, it’s as hard to love Ronald Reagan as it is to love ourselves. If that seems ridiculous, it’s because love of self is being confused with something more superficial — a romance, a conceit. Or it’s because Ronald Reagan is being confused with the overflowing trash can of ignorance and fear which it is our shared responsibility to empty.