Without a vision, the people will perish!
...So said a prophet ages ago... and that ancient insight provides a clue as to why we can't seem to really get moving as a nation any longer. Oh, I know, Republicans will respond with their well-rehearsed lines blaming "the government" and "too many taxes" -- and Democrats reply with their standard "we need shared sacrifice" and the government was created for "active leadership"... Isolated from both context and "reality", both sides might possess aspects of truth... but to be in possession of "aspects of truth" does not truthfully qualify anyone with the responsibility of leadership. This Congress has proven, beyond even a shadow of doubt, that this is true. Both sides have abandoned as a matter of philosophical principle a belief in the virtue of honest negotiation and compromise -- and so we the people are abandoned by our elected leaders.
"Without a vision, the people perish"... This is the crux of the matter. This nation has become a collection of special interests -- with no remaining interest in the "other". We have become a collection of competing "absolutes". "You either agree with me or you are fair game. I will bludgeon you to death with distortions, manipulations, and outright lies. There is no connection between means and ends. My opinions justify any means I can get away with -- and if I can't get away with it, I'll try to buy or pack the courts to serve me and my opinions." This is the sad fact of the state of our Union.
If we had even a remnant of consciousness or of conscience left, we could pick up a quote like this one from R. Buckminster Fuller: "We have the know-it-all to feed everybody, clothe everybody, give every human on earth a chance. We dwell instead on petty things... What a waste of time. Think of it. What a chance we have..." AND WE COULD RUN WITH IT!
We could adopt a vision that would compel us to climb out of our very small-minded opinions and embrace an existence of infinite possibilities! We could IN FACT create paradise on this precious blue Planet, but we are choosing to hunker-down into the black hole of self-orientation, self-congratulation, and self-religion. This worship of our small "selves", bleak with visionlessness, is the new American identity (and of course, like the good capitalists that we are, we are putting this on the global "free-trade" market for everyone to buy into).
The obvious way forward, at least for anyone not yet bought by "this filthy rotten system" (Dorothy Day), is the adoption of a national, international, PLANETARY VISION! We could start with Fuller's... it's pretty simple and clear... It is time to get real: we take this step or we perish. And make no mistake about it, the rich will go down with the rest of us. There is no other Planet that would put up with them.
Robert Daniel Smith was privileged to serve the homeless and marginalized for 30 years in Salinas, California. Together with his wife, Michelle, they founded an intentional community called the 'Companions of the Way', also in Salinas. Robert and Michelle are community organizers, Catholic Worker renegades, sacred activists, writers, poets, artists, Divine Mother devotees, and practitioners of Kriya Yoga as taught by Rev. Ellen Grace O'Brian of the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment. Michelle is also a Montessori public school teacher. Robert is also an ordained Interfaith Minister.