Only Love will Save America
One of the nasty things about conventional politics is the idea people can be reduced to a set of views. No room is given for ambiguity or intuition. But of course that’s not how people actually work. We all have a bunch of contradictory stuff going around in our heads. I have some intuitions about what happened in Washington two days ago I would like to share. Don’t panic they are intuitions not considered statements on my essential being!
So first, when I saw the rioters, a bit of me was going “fair enough”. I think it was an optics thing – our eyes create our thoughts. A lot of the people looked pretty ordinary – and ordinary people have been taken for a ride for a good long time now by the elites. And second the elites – all those guys hiding under their seats in their suits – have allowed and benefited from the takeover of American politics by the billionaire class. It had a turning over the tables in the temple feel about it.
The disaster of the official Left is that it cannot understand that if people are screwed over for a generation or two, they will follow whatever guy speaks their language and says nice stuff about them, like “I love you”. “Educated” people think this is dumb and thinking this is the heart of the problem. They just don’t get how it feels to be treated like shit for decades. And they are pretty dumb themselves (how many times a year to do they get on a plane and shit on the next generation just because they can). A little humility about our common human fallenness would go a long way.
Lots of people in America seem so set on being totally right – so set in their ideologies, that it’s as if they want the civil war that cool analysts see coming down the line. After all it’s ideology that will stop the Biden administration from bringing the country together. It won’t stop the polarisation caused by social media, and it is not going to stop the destruction of the country by the greed of the business class. And within 5 years the Paris Agreement is going to collapse because no one in corporate controlled governments is going slash carbon emissions. In the 2008 financial crash the governing elites lost the trust of the people; with the collapse of Paris the disillusionment will be complete. Ecological collapse, Covid being a first taste, will bring on social breakdown. And the American “experiment” will be over.
If there is a way out of this, my intuition is that only love will save the country (in the militant biblical sense of the word). Love in speech, means to forgive your enemies. I would bring the rioters into mediation spaces so they can speak their truth. Give them the recognition and attention they so obviously need. Maybe someone should give Trump a big hug. He is clearly a troubled man. He’s at the end of his life – let him alone to deal with his demons before he dies. Making a martyr out of him is beyond dumb. Love is not sentimental, it’s smart.
Love in action means Revolution at this point in history. Those of good will need to exit the entire corrupted party system and engage in civil resistance in the Martin Luther King and Gandhi tradition. Entrenched power is only overcome by going to the street. The demand has to be for equality for all and respect for nature upon which we and our kids all depend. These demands have to be rooted in a celebration of the gift of Life, an expression of the strength and courage which is rooted in an understanding that death comes to us all soon enough, and so to live a good life is all we can wish for.
Love in action then means to cause maximum disruption and then to engage in maximum love towards the opponent. Only material transgression creates the opportunity for genuine dialogue and thus reconciliation. This will involve mass arrests, mass imprisonments and some people will lose their lives. Evil can only triumph when we delay determined resistance and remain in comfort of righteous self-pity. It always was the case and is again today. Life is dangerous and nothing ever changes that. Unless we start to live and act in truth then in a few years the ecological crisis will destroy civilised life, and our societies will enter the endless darkness of rape, slaughter and starvation. What will destroy us will not be the darkness itself but the self-contempt that we did not step up to stop it.
Realism now demands that we come together through love in speech and love in action. And this coming together requires the central demand for citizens’ assemblies. Love is manifested in free dialogue between ordinary people selected randomly to deliberate on the what constitutes the common good. This is what true humanity looks like. Only such assemblies will stop the corporate class and their political administrators from destroying America. Only when these traitors lose their power will the people at last be able to join together and fulfil the dream: rule by all the people for all the people.
That’s my intuition. Could be wrong. Don’t shoot the messenger. It’s what Burning Pink is about. It’s the true meaning of Beyond Politics.