To the extent that each of us harbors, consents to or encourages self-centeredness, greed, selfishness, or other manifestation of pretending we are alone and can do as we want, we are each a traitor. Not to the state — that is trivial and mundane. But we are offenders of the common weal, enemies of our mutual survival and individual greatness.
We can see this in the excesses of Wall Street, in the recklessness of our over-spending, in our willingness to let the poor and sick suffer so we can enjoy lower taxes, in the search for "love" at the expense of family and spouse, in the simple act of going through that stop sign on a "California roll" instead of a fl stop.
It is too easy to let us off calling it a moral decline or a malaisse of the spirit. Call ias it is, each act that sacrifices the greater good for the excesses of personal greed is an act of treason against the body of humankind. But with no flag to fly over this body, no righteous loudmouths who have the guts to tell the truth about ourselves instead of finding boogeymen in one place or another.
We can get caught up in partisan politics as a way to hide this truth from ourselves. We can assume the cloak of religion, philosophy or distractions that entertain us in order to blind ourselves to our own venality. I do not advocate self criticsm or any form of introspection unattached to doing what is simply right.
Possibly we cannot make the adjustments required to right the ship of the human condition. Possibly this monstrous thinking apparatus we worship as reality is so pernicious, so persistent and so poisonous that we are just to weak to "put on the cross" and shed our treasonous ways in favor of being responsible, caring and gentle human beings.
As a hippie I thought that love would do the trick, that if we let love permeate ourselves and in turn society, we would, even if slowly, turn the mighty ship of state toward the ways of nature. How naive I was, yet of course also how right we were. But the idealistic notion of love that ran in our blood then is insufficient for the task. As is any other formula.
Can we use the economy to serve all of us at the same time as it rewards those who carry more than their weight, so to speak? Can we use our stewardship of the planet in a way as to conserve and preserve the gifts of life?
I do not point only at each of us as individuals in this screed, however. Those who we have given much power to lead the way have fallen so far short of that responsibility. They have empowered and continue to feed the war machine, the greedy captains of business and finance. We must insist they stop this and we must do so by taking part in politics rather than simply criticize them.
Those who claim to be progressive, liberal, leftist or such may have to "take up the crosss" of refusing to settle for marginal change and the crumbs some of us have put up with as "the best we can expect." We must take on the radicalism of both personal transformation and major changes in our ways of doing business to remove the sanctioning of greed, hatred and the robbery of the body of human kind.
The left in this country is too polite, too accomodating, to weak for our common good. But so is the right. We all need to put down the fratricide we call politics in favor of saving the family — the family of man.