The Real Real Politik

I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of the Buddhist practice of painting a circle with a paintbrush. When painting the circle, one is supposed to think as steadfastly as one can muster on the act of painting the circle, and paint the circle with one stroke. The reason for this is to hone the mind, to make it a clearer tool for any task at hand.

When I contrast this with a kind of typical state of affairs, I think of how we have to muddle through and get stuff accomplished regardless of whether we are single-minded about it, regardless of whether the tools we have at hand are completely ethical and well-thought-out.

We must. We move and we work on making things better and more ethical, but we must work with what we are able to work with in the immediate vicinity, and we must live. We do not starve ourselves for want of completely ethically produced food. We do not stop working for want of completely ethical work. We make stands as we can.

We can practice on making things better, and work on things bit by bit and sometimes even in huge quick chunks, but meanwhile there is all this stuff to be done just to exist.

I think about this situation in the context of the environment and our politicians and the people running for office. I am not a fan of scrapping everything and starting all over. What I am in favor of is hard work, seeing what I want, what society wants, and the hard work of retrofitting the attitudes people in the system so that they have a role in the future that we are working on building, a future that relies much more on renewable, safer energy based on wind and solar energy and safer means of farming and laboring. It’s hard work. It’s complex. It’s also simple.

When one moves to a new order, one doesn’t just execute everyone (at least not usually). And I wouldn’t want to be part of a revolution that creates a new society based on bloodshed–that’s not ideal–that’s moving away from the horizons of ideals towards which we are to set sail.

What I’m saying is that in the new order that we are working on, there’s a transition period, and that transition period involves the same people (although maybe with different attitudes) and the product which we are to achieve includes the same people, too. These people are everyone–you, me, police, pacifists, CEOs, bankers, organic farmers–everyone. We are to win and work on winning the hearts and minds of most people and include good places for all in our vision.

So there’s this mixed bag of people and obsolete ideas from the old order still kicking around and mixing with the new. There’s President Obama saying that he supports a renewable energy future, meanwhile he makes way for fracking. There’s Sherrod Brown being attacked for supporting coal jobs, but meanwhile he’s one of the primary people advocating a renewable energy tax credit, one that was in place and might expire (but hopefully will be extended instead at the end of this year).

It’s a mixed bag, folks, and the Sierra Club has endorsed these candidates and I think some real politik is OK while recognizing that the real real politik is acknowledging that we simply can not continue to abuse Mother Earth so much anymore. Even rich people are finding that out from the backlash of how Hurricane Sandy hit their pocketbooks. We cannot continue to abuse Mother Earth so much anymore. We cannot. Real real politik.

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Tomorrow morning, Sunday Nov. 3 at 10:30 a.m. people can watch the 18 minute Josh Fox film “The Sky is Pink” at West Shore UU Church in Rocky River. West Shore is a great host venue for the anti-fracking cause and we’ll be meeting there again Nov. 11 at 12:15 for the FACT meeting, “Faith Communities Together Against Fracking.” FACT meets there every 2nd & 4th Sunday.