Are Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump the only choice? Part Two of Two
Part Two of Two
In Israel in September, 2016, I received an email recommending that I read a memoir of Stefan Zweig, a remarkable Jewish author (1883 – to 1942). The very next email in the daily long list of emails, I also received another encouragement for me to look at the writings of Stefan Zweig.
I bought his book: The World of Yesterday: Memoirs of a European upon my return home to Totnes, England.
It is one of the most remarkable memoirs of the early decades of the 29th century.
Like Obama, Stefan Zweig communicates with an eloquent optimism around hope and change but Zweig writes in the first decade of the 20th century in Europe. He sees the period from the turn of the 20th century to around 1914 as the beginning of a new era with science, progress, the rational mind and culture setting the tone for a new Europe.
He applauds the progress and integration of the Jewish community in the Austrian-German speaking world and the contribution the Jewish intelligentsia makes towards civilisation through science, psychology and the arts.
Undercurrents of greed and violence were swelling in Europe that led to launch of two World Wars in the space of 25 years.
He then witnesses the unfolding apocalyptic nightmare.
Zweig refused to take sides in the nightmare that engulfed Europe. Intellectuals failed to grasp his non-dual perspective. He knew that heaping fear and blame upon Hitler and the Nazis only fuelled the conflict. He maintained a noble dignity while writing of what he knew and witnessed. A true man of culture.
On the day after Stefan Zweig posted his manuscript off to his publishers, he and his wife committed suicide in their forest home in Brazil. In his suicide note, he wrote:
“I thus prefer to end my life at the right time, upright, as a man for whom cultural work has always been his purest happiness and personal freedom – the most precious of possessions on this earth. I send greetings to all my friends: May they live to see the dawn after this long night. I, who am most impatient, go before them.”
Hope and Change
The glorification of hope and change in contemporary politics still belongs to 19th century Anglo/German romanticism rather than the realities of the early years of the 20th and 21st century.
I read daily messages of apocalyptic alarm of the election of Donald Trump, the ageing son of a Scottish immigrant. I cannot feel such fear and terror of him. Besides, the power in the USA does not rest in the hands of the so-called Commander- in -Chief but with the Senate and the Congress.
In terms of foreign and domestic policy, the current President offered much in the way of style with his capacity for oratory but very little in the way of substance. For example, we cannot see change. Ask Afro-Americans. For many, their hopes have turned to disappointment after eight years of a black President.
We learnt one thing from Obama. He was powerless to make real change. The documentaries about his time in office keep making this point again and again. This powerlessness rendered his belief in hope as meaningless. The next incumbent will lack style and substance and will find themselves as powerless as the previous president.
The Middle Way represents the exploration of a substantial ground that does not fall into the extremes.
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton belong to the extremes. Various commentators have adopted the view that the electorate only has two choices, namely the ‘mad’ and the ‘bad’ in terms of their politics and probably their flawed personalities. Greed, anger and lust for power appears to drive both.
If you claim to be concerned about the state of democracy, and cannot stomach voting for either Clinton or Trump, then explore and develop the middle way.
Here are 10 choices from the middle way.
Appreciate and respond to the reasons why millions of citizens have lost interest in the voting system. Campaign for true democracy which represents the diversity of people in society.
Be fearless. Take risks. Act to support others, near and far, animals and various habitats.
Change your lifestyle. Live with moderation. Develop a sustainable way of life. And promote it.
Find your caring voice through the spoken, written, the arts, meetings and in the committee rooms of institutions.
Join a non-violent, non-abusive campaign for personal/social/political/global change Dedicate yourself to the campaign. Inspire others to campaign.
Organise events in your local community which show empathy and compassion.
Remember the power of non-party politics and support politics that stress non-harm, non-exploitation and the incorruptible.
Remember to reflect on the future of the young and future generations. If you just sit around and complain, you are part of the problem.
Use your knowledge and experience to implement a fresh approach and initiatives to a healthy and sustainable way of life.
Reflect, meditate, expand the heart, develop the mind and act with conviction.
Write regular letters to politicians, corporate leaders, businesses and all forms of social media to inform them of their civic duties to live in ethical and responsible ways.
Remember a simple tick besides a name does not confirm a belief in democracy. It could be a tick to support the distasteful. On going Right Action confirms a trust in democratic processes.
If you sit on your hands and do nothing, you are wasting your life.
You may also be wasting the life of current and future generations.
Authentic spiritual teachings call upon citizens to engage in Right Action.
May all beings live a noble way of life
May all beings be dedicated to the welfare of others.
May all beings live with wisdom and compassion