These are times that really provoke reflection about what is going on in our world, particularly our political world. It has been my experience that the tone of our political leadership impacts my sense of well-being, as well as my sense of discomfort in life.

If I experience our political leaders as having a sense of regard, respect and compassion, and as supportive of programs for the welfare of our citizens: for our children, for families, for all of us having equal rights before the law; for the infirmed, the elderly and our veterans who have been wounded in mind and body; I feel as though my world is safe and caring and I have a sense of well-being.

There but for the grace of God

If I experience our political leaders as having a sense of disregard for members of our American family, I feel anxious, insecure and angry. Now, we can see this disregard in the following ways:

  • We’re being lied to and are unable to trust what we are being told
  • We’re living in a climate where people are being played off against one another, where we have gutted programs that were to meet the needs of children who have little or no food (or the needs of families who work more than one job and are still living under the poverty line)
  • Some of us are being forced to live on the street, are being prevented from voting and are being treated unequally by our police and judicial systems
  • Those among us in need of medical care are unable to afford such care
  • Our senior citizens have no guarantees of a life after work and may have to resort to eating out of garbage cans
  • Our veterans’ emotional and physical needs are going unmet

I look at life as a matter of seeing others who are struggling, who are facing life and health difficulties, with the belief that “there but for the grace of God, go I.”

Any one of us could be that someone else whose skin colour has promoted abuse arising from systemic racism. Any one of us could be ill without the financial means to purchase necessary medicine or medical care, and without shelter, food or anyone giving a damn about what happens to us.

Compassion and kindness

I also believe, in my heart of hearts and in my experience of a life lived for 75 years, the simple solution to such inequalities and unmet needs is to treat others as we would like to be treated.

None of us is immune from hardship and suffering, but what we can do is reach out and assist others, as we would want others to assist us in our times of need.

None of us is immune from hardship and suffering, but what we can do is reach out and assist others, as we would want others to assist us in our times of need. This is not socialism, it is the expression of compassion and kindness towards those members of our American family who are in need.

We can elect public officials who care about people and who understand that the means of achieving political ends are as important as the ends themselves, rather than approaching life from the notion that the ends justify any means necessary.

How we approach our solutions for problems to achieve an end impacts how we treat members of our community. Are people important in their own right, or are they a means to an end, regardless of how the achieving of that end impacts their lives?

Our political winds

We have regressed as a society to the point at which the only political focus is on winning. No matter what it takes, the number one goal is to win.

During the past 10 years, the conservatives have played that hand: first, with the pledge to foil any and all Obama-administration proposals to craft legislation that would address the needs of the American people, then with John Boehner’s assertion that “the word compromise does not exist in my vocabulary,” and finally, with Mitch McConnell’s vow to make Obama a one-term president.

The enthusiasm that carried Obama’s ‘Yes We Can’ into office was met with the reply, “No, we won’t.” The political goal of the conservatives was to make Obama’s administration a failure. Such is the state of our political environment today.

Trump’s add-on to this political climate is a layer of delusional thinking, where lies are commonplace and where the denying of facts has given way to the assertion of alternative facts. In this environment, there is no way that members of our American family can trust our political leaders.

How does such a political climate cultivate the assurance that ‘We the People’ will realize that “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that All men and women are created equal, that We are endowed, by our Creator, with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness and fulfillment”?

Our political winds blow fresh and foul. Our future is in our hands, as the results of the recent midterm election suggest. The lessons of Karma and Life are that we reap what we sow.

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