By Mary Summerbell
I feel bad about the outcome of our recent election in Wisconsin. Really bad. Downright depressed. It’s hard for me to grasp the reality of it; I’m still struggling to understand what’s happening, and why. Every day, in efforts to overcome my disbelief, I do my best to accept and adapt to all the recent and current political changes in my home state.
Although I know that multiple spiritual philosophies advocate detachment as a way to peace, and harmony and balance, I find detachment a very real challenge when personally involved in or affected by circumstances and events. The effects of recent changes to Wisconsin laws on me and my family have been direct, immediate and detrimental to our well-being. And it is doubtful that, in my lifetime, we will regain the benefits we lost.
People remind me that everything goes in cycles. Pendulums and politics swing back and forth over time. “This, too, shall pass.” All true, but not much consolation considering the impact of history on me right now. I know my little, personal part in this isn’t as important as the big picture. And I’m more than willing to sacrifice for a greater good. But I have serious doubts about what has happened being for, or with any consideration of, a greater good. I wonder about people’s intentions in all this. And that makes it difficult for me.
But I am determined that this will not change who I am, or who I aim to be, unless it’s for the better. That’s why I need to examine my thoughts and feelings, and sort things out before I go on.
I know I can be unrealistically naive in my perceptions of life. I have a very simplistic, childlike attitude sometimes that is inconsistent with the complexities and complications of reality. Part of this perspective is that, against all evidence to the contrary, I want to believe that people are basically good – that they care about each other, and want to help, not hurt one another. Even Republicans. Even Scott Walker. Even though that’s not what it looks like, not what it feels like to me, I want to believe it.
I wonder what it feels like to be inside Scott Walker. Does he really, truly care about all the citizens of Wisconsin? Does he seriously, sincerely believe that his policy changes are for the best overall? Do he and his cohorts consider, or even believe in a greater good? What is his true motivation in all this? Does he have a heart? What does he say to himself inside his head all day, as he goes about changing so many laws, so many lives? I know this is childish conjecture, but it’s part of my way of making sense of things – to put myself in someone else’s place and try to see what it looks like from there.
Unfortunately, in this case, I have no insights. Only confusion. Scott Walker. I don’t understand him. I still don’t like him. I still don’t respect him. Whatever his intentions are, I still don’t trust him. But none of that matters, really. What is important is that, from a spiritual perspective, Scott Walker has no power over me. My Higher Power is Love. So no one has power over me, except as they come to me in Love.
The question I need to answer is, “What can I do to come from love in this situation?” Taking a positive approach, I won’t fight against anyone or anything; I will only work for what I believe in, supporting what I value. I value honesty. I value teachers and teaching. I value public and community service. I value the labor of every individual in honest work. I value peace. I value myself, and family and friends. I support Education and the Arts. I support Universal Health Care and the Healing Arts. I support Human Rights, Equal Rights for all people.
Instead of letting myself feel defeated, I resolve to be ever more resilient and resourceful for the rest of my life. I will not live in fear, or anger, or sadness, although I surely will feel these passing emotions as part of being human. I will reinforce, within myself, the spiritual principles I believe in, being open to growth at all times. I will aspire especially to the virtues of Acceptance, Gratitude and Kindness.
In the spirit of my new resolutions, I have taken the “Scott Walker has gone too far” pamphlet down from my refrigerator and replaced it with a picture of a little kid in a super hero outfit, wearing a t-shirt that says “Live United.” I know it’s the slogan for United Way, but it suits my purpose as a reminder of my renewed commitment to the philosophy of the Higher Power of Love.