On Gratitude, Politics, Staying Sane and Human Consciousness
by Seeta Persaud
“I believe our future depends powerfully on how well we understand this Cosmos in which we float like a mote of dust in the morning sky.” — Carl Sagan
Happy New Year friends! I hope you had a glorious and restful holiday season. 2011 was a year rife with many personal changes and challenges, for which I am grateful. Though the economy is showing some signs of recovery, poverty in America has been on the rise as a result of GOP economic terrorism in the form of de-regulation, an epidemic of white-collar crime, the foreclosure crisis, the for-profit prison system and voter disenfranchisement, and an economic system premised on race stratification.
As 2012 is a presidential election year, the darkest side of humanity will make itself prominent and loud in the form of the GOP political party — a party opposed to the evolution of human consciousness, good governance, an economic system based on abundance, and a socio-economic system based on solidarity rather than fear of the other.
I believe that the GOP is a party seeing its last days. The GOP embodies everything that is antithetical to gratitude, love, humanity, and oneness. Instead, the GOP chooses to embrace greed, oligarchy, hate, dehumanization, power and domination over other groups of people.
The Democratic party is not without its own problems, mind you, but it is the most viable progressive political party, one that is evolving to reflect America’s demographics and one that more sincerely embraces the aspirational goals codified in the Constitution and Bill of Rights.
There is no doubt that we must do everything to GOTV and fight against GOP voter suppression efforts this year. And we must do everything possible to keep our sanity as this presidential election season gets underway.
One way to access our higher selves is to practice the act of gratitude for the interrelated nature of life. As MLK said:
It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. We are made to live together because of the interrelated structure of reality.
Did you ever stop to think that you can’t leave for your job in the morning without being dependent on most of the world? You get up in the morning and go to the bathroom and reach over for the sponge, and that’s handed to you by a Pacific islander. You reach for a bar of soap, and that’s given to you at the hands of a Frenchman. And then you go into the kitchen to drink your coffee for the morning, and that’s poured into your cup by a South American. And maybe you want tea: that’s poured into your cup by a Chinese. Or maybe you’re desirous of having cocoa for breakfast, and that’s poured into your cup by a West African. And then you reach over for your toast, and that’s given to you at the hands of an English-speaking farmer, not to mention the baker. And before you finish eating breakfast in the morning, you’ve depended on more than half the world.
This is the way our universe is structured; this is its interrelated quality. We aren’t going to have peace on Earth until we recognize this basic fact of the interrelated structure of all reality.”
~ Martin Luther King Jr.
From a Christmas Sermon on Peace, 1967
I don’t think I understand what makes those who embrace GOP ideologies so angry, so fearful, and so entitled. It must be a tiring tirade. I’ve seen some GOP folks evolve and some stubbornly stand their ground — all in the name of what? Ego? Perhaps.
That is why practicing gratitude is so important — it tames the ego, changes your mentality and your reality.
Melody Beattie says: “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
Practicing gratitude can be revolutionary and transformational. As we forge ahead this election season, practicing the act of gratitude can be a simple way to keep our sanity and remember each other’s humanity.
The entire world is watching America as poverty continues to rise, the racial and generational wealth gaps increase, the GOP party continues its attempts to undermine the presidency of the first black president of the U.S., and Congress continues to distance itself from the reality of daily life for less privileged Americans.
We must brace ourselves and pace ourselves, folks. It’s going to be a revelatory year. I think Obama can get a tremendous amount done in the next five years. And it’s been amazing how much his administration has done notwithstanding the unique challenges no other president has ever encountered, not to mention the virulent racism hurled at him by the GOP and the GOP’s financiers like the Koch brothers.
We’ve seen a whole lotta ugly these past three years. We’ve also seen a whole lotta good. 2012 is going to be a good year. Let’s make it so. Happy New Year!