"Buddha’s first teaching was about the ending of suffering. We want a government that is dedicated to ending suffering, not only in our country but globally and for all species. That is why it is so important for us to vote from a base of principled compassion. If you have not voted today, we urge you to take the forward step and protect our future" ~ Joan Halifax
First let me say that I voted earlier today and lent my one-ballot support to the democratic process as it exists in 2012. I could not "not vote."
But -- saying that -- we are so very far from having a governmental structure that understands the importance of ending suffering (locally, nationally, internationally, and/or for all species). Worse still, I am afraid that we lack a citizenry that understands the importance of such a dedication.
If I sound sad about this, I am.
If I sound nostalgic and invoke the 1960s Camelot mentality of service/compassion in which JFK began his term in office with the admonition that we ask not what this country can do for us but what we can do for this country, I plead shamelessly guilty.
I will never forget his booming Boston-accent making this moral imperative crystal clear and programs like the international and domestic peace corps that were established.
November 2012 is a dark contrast to those times. We citizens live in that famous cave that Plato talked about in The Republic.
We see shadows and believe they are real.
We slowly forget about the light and believe the dark, damp, cave air is normal.
We see only our own needs and compassion isn't on our "to-do" list.
I am sad that I couldn't vote for a candidate who dared to center his or her campaign on compassion and not power. But I do know that whatever the outcome of this election, I will dedicate my efforts to put out the word about the importance of compassion-driven politics with whatever time I have left on this planet.
I hope others will join me in this effort.
At least this is how it feels here in deceptively sunny and cobalt-blue sky Central New Jersey on an Election Day in November in which we all are keeping a weather-eye on the nor'easter creeping up the coast towards us (once again, wind).
Be safe everyone!
Copyright 2012 Judy Shepps Battle.