Religion and Politics, part 1: R.I.P. Amerika, Drowning in Democracy and Conspiracy…

img_0996When I got on the plane a week or so ago in Thailand, bound for Amerika, I had a feeling of impending doom that I couldn’t explain, so I begged my wife Tang not to go, assuming that it was about personal doom, and my instinct was to protect her. Now that I know what that feeling was really all about, at least I can rest easier for those I care about. What I can’t do is rest easier about the fate of the USA…

America is now a Third World country, uneducated and proud. Welcome to Thailand and the tyranny of the majority, who just love a populist peddling pathos . We used to vote for our hopes, now we vote for our fears. We vote for the candidate who appeals to our lowest common denominators, not our highest. We build walls, not bridges. The ideas that inspire us now close doors, not open them. But the Big Winner here was not Donald Trump…

img_1068The Big Winner here was the seductive lure of Conspiracy, that vast unplowed field of predetermined outcomes that can never be proven nor disproven. That’s the beauty of it. It’s like a religion that anyone can join, no membership fees required. It started this election season with Bernie Sanders and his ‘rigged system’ before being picked up by Donald Trump and his ‘rigged system’, no matter that the two systems referred to here are entirely different. That’s the beauty of it…

For most voters the most important thing is not policy, but ‘gut feeling’, the feeling of being right, and being on the right side of history. Unfortunately history only proves itself in the long run, and even then is subject to revision(s). Equally unfortunately, the main problem with Donald Trump is his personality, not his policies, of which he has very few. Of the few policy positions he has, many are less objectionable than many of his Republican counterparts, for whom he is too liberal—go figure…

Mexican walls and Islamophobia are more jingoistic sloganeering than policy positions, designed to appeal to voters’ emotions, not their sense of reason. Voters didn’t vote for Donald Trump. They voted for pompous BS. They didn’t vote for conservative policies. They voted for bluff and buster. Trump doesn’t even deny it; he calls himself a cheerleader. Far more ominous are the two Republican houses of Congress now with no Presidential veto…

That this follows closely on the heels of the UK’s ‘Brexit’ is no accident. This is the politics of dying empires, trying to hold on to what they had, or at least what they think they had, vastly inflated by imagination, circumstance, and the retrofit of logic. The Industrial Revolution was a one-off phenomenon, just like the taming of the horse and the invention of his stirrups long before. What follows next is anyone’s guess, but the US role in the world will likely be severely reduced, whether by accident or design, just like the UK before it…

And US Democrats hold no small part of the blame for the current debacle, smugly reminiscing over Obama’s golden years which were anything but, while quibbling over the peccadilloes of the current candidate, rather than uniting behind her. The irony is that Trump may inadvertently be the best candidate in the fight against global warming, simply because the world economy may tank in the glow of his inept leadership and protectionist policies. Global warming is an economic problem, not an environmental one…

Strangely I feel almost nothing about the election. Maybe that’s because I’m numb, or maybe it’s because I’ve already left–the US, that is. More likely it’s because this ‘ballot-proof monk’ sh*t really works! Maybe I can’t control the world—and never will—but if I can control my own mind and feelings toward it, to whatever extent I’m capable, then it matters little in the world of samsara! For the rest of you: good luck. The beauty of Buddhism is the beauty of conspiracy theory: you can feel right and good regardless of who wins political elections. It’s a no-lose/no-lose situation…

To be continued…

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