My thoughts about culture and our present conditions. As Dianne Moore says in Learning to Love a Wounded World, "This requires a willingness to feel everything…. the horror and the beauty of what is here…. the fear and the Love.”

Lerner and Hedges on Healthcare

This Michael Lerner assessment from his recent blog:

Building on the Hopeful Aspects of Obama’s Health Care Speech and Helping Him Get Beyond His Internal Contradictions

is in line with some of the most
concerned and rational thinking I’ve shared about Obama from people who
I would vaguely wave at as thinkers on "the left." Anyway, "non
conservatives" is about the best I can do to create a categorical
grouping for those who might agree with the Rabbi.

The national dilemma he
exposes in his longer explanation at the blog can perhaps be best summarized for me in the
following paragraphs:

There are
two views about Obama that are at odds in the liberal and progressive
world. One holds that Obama really shares all this same perspective
with us but has lost his own moorings because he is surrounded by the
kind of Inside-the-Beltway realists and pragmatists. On this view, our
task is to do what the Network of Spiritual Progressives’ conference
June 11-14 2010 is aimed to do-"Support Obama to BE the Obama we Voted
For-not the Inside-the-Beltway pragmatist and realist whose compromises
have disempowered his followers and led many people to become cynical
who were previously his supporters."

The other view is that he
actually does really believe in the capitalist marketplace not only as
"the best that can be achieved at the moment" but as an embodiment of
his ideals. In that case, our task is to respectfully support him to
live up to his own ideals as much as possible, since in so doing he
will both push to the limits what can be accomplished in the current
system and eventually be forced to acknowledge that a truly humane
system is incompatible with the Old Bottom Line and that we actually
need a whole new society based on the New Bottom Line. Actually, that’s
another focus for our NSP conference next June as well-to bring
together the forces that actually want to build a very different kind
of reality, know that it is needed now, and want to define the contours
of that new society. Ultimately, people in this perspective know that
what we need is a spiritual progressive political party (though a party
that clearly appeals to non-spiritual progressive secularists as well).
. But a first step now is to bring such people together to begin to
cooperate (difficult enough, given the degree to which the capitalist
marketplace has forced most of these groups to compete with each other
for scarce financial support and public recognition).

The need
for such a party will become increasingly clear as Obama’s centrism
yields policies that do not eliminate but actually perpetuate human
suffering (as in Afghanistan, as in denial of medical care to illegal
immigrants leading to increased scrutiny in hospital emergency rooms
about who can receive desperately needed medical help, as in growing
despair among the unemployed and those losing their homes to the
mortgage schemes that have never been confronted by an Administration
committed to protecting the banks and their many ingenious lending
schemes). But we’ll be praying that we are wrong about this, and that
in the short term at least Obama a. gets vindicated and b. succeeds in
reducing suffering. Only, deep down, in our most rational moments, we
know that if the system remains largely in place, and only its worst
and most humanly and environmentally destructive parts are partially
constrained, in the not-too-long-run the suffering will increase. And
it is this recognition, not a disrespect for Obama, that demands of us
that we not simply be satisfied with being the left-wing of an Obama
cheerleading squad, but lovingly respectful critics of his direction.

I think the following narrows it down to a possible only real answer to the dilemma:

Ultimately,
people in this perspective know that what we need is a spiritual
progressive political party (though a party that clearly appeals to
non-spiritual progressive secularists as well). . But a first step now
is to bring such people together to begin to cooperate (difficult
enough, given the degree to which the capitalist marketplace has forced
most of these groups to compete with each other for scarce financial
support and public recognition).

And I agree with Chris Hedges who writes with deep passion:

Stop Begging Obama to Be Obama and Get Mad

The
right-wing accusations against Barack Obama are true. He is a
socialist, although he practices socialism for corporations. He is
squandering the country’s future with deficits that can never be
repaid. He has retained and even bolstered our surveillance state to
spy on Americans. He is forcing us to buy into a health care system
that will enrich corporations and expand the abuse of our for-profit
medical care. He will not stanch unemployment. He will not end our
wars. He will not rebuild the nation. He is a tool of the corporate
state.

——->

It is we who are guilty, guilty for
sending these young men and women to wars that did not have to be
fought. It is we who are guilty for turning away from the truth of war
to wallow in a self-aggrandizing myth, guilty because we create and
decorate killers and when they come home maimed and broken we discard
them. It is we who are guilty for failing to defy a Democratic Party
that since 1994 has betrayed the working class by destroying our
manufacturing base, slashing funds to assist the poor and cravenly
doing the bidding of corporations. It is we who are guilty for refusing
to mass on Washington and demand single-payer, not-for-profit health
care for all Americans. It is we who are guilty for supporting
Democrats while they funnel billions in taxpayer dollars to sustain
speculative Wall Street interests. The rage of the confused and angry
right-wing marchers, the ones fired up by trash-talking talk show
hosts, the ones liberals belittle and maybe even laugh at, should be
our rage. And if it is not our rage soon, if we continue to humiliate
and debase ourselves by begging Obama to be Obama, we will see our open
society dismantled not because of the shrewdness of the far right, but
because of our moral cowardice.

In times of
crisis in the history of this nation, it’s been the transcendence out
of the two party duopoly that’s been the catalyst to rock the
foundations of their intertwined pillars of politics, greed, and
cronyism and get the self absorbed politicians to recognize they
actually need to listen and do something.

Of course, there’s no
guarantee there even is an answer to this current dilemma — other than
the natural one, catastrophic collapse of an ultimately flawed and
perpetually failing system.

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