Thursday, April 13, 2006

Rabbi Michael Lerner - Religion on the Left

Many of us on the left have been hammering away at this theme for years. See Dennis Kucinich, for example, who ran a deeply spiritual campaign in 2004 and continues to put forth a vision of the future founded on moral precepts taught by Jesus and echoed in religions all across the globe.

From a recent Kucinich e-mail:

"Being a Democrat can no longer entail a laundry list of slightly less harmful policies than our opponents. The vision of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy as enunciated in the Book of Matthew must be returned to Congress. As you know, Fear Ends, Hope Begins was the theme of my campaign for the Democratic nomination for President in 2004. I continue to call not just for new policies, but a renewed vision of a politics of trust and compassion based on our most basic values of caring for one another.

Who ever imagined that we would live in an America where the "merciful" would be called soft on crime? Where those who "mourn" would be called whiners and where the "meek" would be told that arrogance is a virtue? Who ever imagined that the sacred role of "peacemaker" as described by Matthew in the Beatitudes would be recast as a traitor? The inversion of truth and the perversion of our basic values must be challenged.

The path for our renewal based on these sacred values is clear. Living Wages, Advocacy of Universal Health Care, a new WPA jobs program funded from military waste, Universal Pre-Kindergarten, tuition-free college, protection of Social Security and all pensions, the green energy of wind, solar, hydrogen, peaceful exploration of space, participation in the Kyoto Climate Change Treaty, and the International Criminal Court are part of a vision of the America that can be, if we are willing to take a stand. My call for a Department of Peace and Nonviolence has been attacked in a way that ironically proves its necessity..."

Despite Kucinich, the Progressive Caucus and others with a vision and an agenda strong enough to enter the ring with the Republican slash and burn vision, there is a huge disconnect (even on the left, which hammers away at corporate-owned media monopolies) between the grassroots and the media.

I think it's another manifestation of the strange results of modern medical care and longevity. There is no way for fresh voices to claim our places in the debate, because the entrenched who have already been there 20-25 years plan to stay there for the next 20-25 years. At least The Nation is printing religious essays now; three years ago, they returned my essays with curt notes about how such themes weren't appropriate for their needs at the current time.


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