By Marianne Williamson
Presidential campaigns are exhausting. Once they’re over, we all heave a sigh of relief that we have our lives back, the constant emails and news reports no longer harangue us, and the topic even turns at times to something else entirely. According to comedian Will Rogers, at the end of every campaign season, “we have to go sleep it off.”
But we should be very careful not to sleep too soundly or for too long this time. For the corporate/media/party machinery never sleeps. It is always moving; in fact, it barely slows down for elections except to enjoy the show. At this point, elections change the captain of the train more than they change the direction of the train. For something other than the will of the people of the United States seems to have laid down the tracks that the train now travels, and all we get to choose is what kind of ride we’re taking to the same destination. How fast we’re going, who gets to ride in first class; it’s true that all that can change. But it serves us to get real about what doesn’t seem to change, regardless who’s President. And with the current batch of people already being talked about as presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle, there’s no reason to believe that the election of 2016, no matter which Democrat or Republican heads their ticket, will lead to anything but the same general vicinity: permanent war machinery, tepid response to global warming, undue influence of moneyed interests on the functioning of the government, second highest child poverty rate among all industrialized nations, highest incarceration rate of any nation in the world, disintegration of the rule of law, and the corruption of America’s food supply.
Why do I think these things? Why am I so convinced of the improbability that someone will rise up and call for an end to the above travesties? Because in the absence of public funding of political campaigns — and with the current lock that the Democrats and Republicans have on the electoral process — no one who does address such topics would have much chance of rising to that level of influence. The most important issues of our time were not even discussed in the 2012 Presidential election, and the way the actors are already gearing up for the next act in this increasingly terrible play, there’s no reason to believe that it will be any different next time.
If this moment demands anything, it’s a level of possibility thinking we don’t associate with the status quo.
To say I’m wary of the probability, however, doesn’t mean I’m cynical about the possibility. And if this moment demands anything, it’s a level of possibility thinking we don’t associate with the status quo. American democracy is currently on a train to nowhere, taking at best but incremental steps along the way to its own salvation. There’s nothing positive at this point about staying in denial about this. And there’s nothing negative about yelling “Fire!” when the house is indeed burning down.
What we need is a new kind of thinking, and out of that will emerge a new politics – a wisdom politics – that reconnects the brain to the heart, and in so doing creates the possibility for breakthroughs that don’t otherwise exist.
So how do we shift from probability to possibility? Surely not with the same part of the mind that directs things now. What we need is a new kind of thinking, and out of that will emerge a new politics – a wisdom politics – that reconnects the brain to the heart, and in so doing creates the possibility for breakthroughs that don’t otherwise exist. When we’re willing to make love and not economics our new bottom line, then everything will shift — from how we treat our children, to how we treat our earth, to how we treat each other. Our priorities will change, then our behavior will change, and then our world will change. Things will be possible that seem impossible now. We will transcend the powers of undemocratic forces in the same way that generations before us have transcended them: not with money or traditional political power, but with a better idea…a more democratic idea…a more enlightened idea. The conviction in our hearts will be the force multiplier that propels us forward. And then, as is often said: First they will ignore us. Then they will laugh at us. Then they will fight us. And then we will win.