Sunday, February 26, 2017

Creating Real Security

There's been lots of talk about security in our country lately. The greatest security apparatus ever invented by humans is healthy community.

Wall-building, law-and-order types have the cause and effect exactly backwards on this. Healthy community creates law and order, not the other way around. When we get this backward and try to impose law and order by force, threats, punishment and turning people against each other, we destroy the only source of sustainable security we have and lock ourselves into a never-ending spiral of insecurity.

If this sounds familiar, don't be surprised. Those selling protection love this destructive cycle, and one strain of American politics has embraced it wholeheartedly over the past 40 years. They've waged endless wars, built the largest prison system in the world with some of the most draconian sentences, — but where is the security each generation of them has promised?

All we hear from them is more of the same. "We're in danger, the world is falling apart. We need more law and order, more prisons, harsher sentences, a bigger military."

If you really want security and aren't just an angry person who likes hurting and villainizing people, start building community now.

Let your first act be to shut down the protection salesmen. Overcome the fear they are sowing and reject their absurd claim that we have to violate our values to save them.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Resistance vs Displacement: Finding Sanity in a Difficult Time

What's the difference between resistance and displacement? Here are some things we've been resisting for a long time: violence, drugs, gun violence, bacteria, terrorism and of course stupidity.

All have been strengthened.

When we go into a dark room we don't resist the darkness; we displace it with the flip of a switch. We're learning that the only way to sustainably deal with bad bacteria is to displace it with good bacteria.

In the same way, the only way to deal with broken community is to displace it with good community. (We can replace the word "community" in that sentence with the word "culture," "economics," "justice," and many others and it is just as true.)

If we don't like where our country is going, we have to remember that Trump is as much a product of our resistance as he is of his supporters' support. If we continue with, or even double down on that strategy, we will simply strengthen the fears that produced him in the first place.

What vision will displace this fear-based vision? Figure that out and begin building it now. I call for a vision of wholism because it's the only thing with the power to truly and completely displace the dysfunction and fragmentation plaguing us.

Here's a trick: when you hear the word "partisan," think "part-ism." We talk like bipartisanism (two-partism) is some grand accomplishment. Do we really think there are only two parts to our world?

How about we think a little bigger and strive for all-partism, aka, "wholism"?

The first act of a wholistic politics would be to really listen to those we are now trying to strongarm and drive out. The people we disagree with, whether on the left or the right, matter.

The first principle of wholism is that everything is part of everything else, thus "they" are part of "us." Not just "connected" to us, not just "related" to us, but part of us. If they are part of us, we need each other to be whole in order for all of us to be whole. We have to figure this out.

Find someone on the opposite side of things — your "they" — and talk to them. If you can't talk, just listen. But before you try to listen or talk, care about them, because if we can't find that in ourselves we can't get anything else right.