To say that this is an unsettled and turbulent time in the history of our planet would be an understatement. Hardly the worst of times as the doomsayers love to bleat, but still a time of unrest, anger, angst, fear and xenophobia.
There have been many other times very much like this in the world’s recent history. A good example is the French Revolution’s degeneration into the bloodbath of the Reign of Terror which brought Napoleon to power promising to “make France Great Again” and bring order and peace to the nation. He was “the Man on Horseback” as History dubs these pseudo saviors who appear just as unrest and fear are at their zenith. 2 million Frenchmen died in his endless wars.
These “men on horseback” promise glory, restoration of a “golden age” that was rarely golden and most importantly; safety and order. 20th Century examples of “men on horseback” are Vladimir Lenin in 1917 Russia, Benito Mussolini in 1921 Italy, Adolph Hitler in 1932 Germany, Francisco Franco in Spain in 1936, Juan Peron in Argentina in 1938, and recently Donald Trump in the USA.
Each of these “men on horseback” use virtually the same language and make the same vague promises that “only they can fulfill”. In reality, they bring only a loss of liberty and a climate of hatred and division. “The man on horseback” solution is akin to swallowing poison to cure an head cold.
Now even the UK, a relative island of civility, has voted to leave the European Union in a burst of nationalism, fear, anger and emotion. This will create a “little England” and destroy the global economic power of the UK and possibly the UK as we know it. Scotland and Northern Ireland are threatening to break away from the UK, even as I write this post. This dismembering of a great nation will leave England and perhaps Wales as a rump, rather pitiful remnant of the Empire upon which, in my childhood, the Sun never set.
What in the world is going on here? Can we see this from a spiritual perspective? Is there no hope for our nations, our planet and our civilization?
Yes, there is hope. This period is a bit like a case of the shingles in that it is extremely painful, hard to endure but rarely fatal.
Here is my diagnosis of the causes of this spiritual illness: 1. fear of loss of personal liberty, power and status 2. Nostalgia for the mythical country of our youth. 3. A feeling of loss of supremacy in our nation i.e. the angry old white men and women who want their country back, which was ever theirs only at the expense of others. 4. A feeling that things are in decline, that nothing works anymore.
This fear, unrest, xenophobia and misplaced nationalism is what has brought on the ludicrous choice Americans face in the 2016 Presidential Election. This angst is what has brought on the United Kingdom’s exit from the EU. In recent years the UK looks more and more like the US in diversity and not much like the jolly old England of yore.
The Brits are tired of being told what they can and cannot do by an alien super-government. By God we want our Bangers (that’s a sausage) made the way they should be, not the way Brussels decrees. We want the UK to look English and Scottish, Welsh and Irish not Pakistani, Indian, African, Polish, and whatever. There is widespread nostalgia for the the way it was and for a nation of rosy cheeked white folks.
Being a rosy cheeked white guy myself, I am not unsympathetic to the wistful nostalgia they are experiencing but they did conquer half the world without so much as a “by your leave”, so now they get to live with them and are the better for it; if they only knew it. Every savory dish needs spice and heaven knows English culture and their cuisine is often sadly lacking in spice.
Immigrants, as all Americans have proven by being immigrants or the sons, daughters and granddaughters of immigrants, refresh the tree of liberty with their energy, aspiration, and entrepreneurial spirit.
The dry cleaners that I patronize is owned by a delightful immigrant family from Cambodia. Not only do they now own 2 Dry Cleaners but 3 restaurants; all from virtually nothing but hard work over 20 years. They are a reminder for all Americans that the American Dream is alive and well. Nothing is ever given, it is the product of family pulling together and a lot of long hours and hard work. The American Dream was never guaranteed, it was earned through blood, sweat and tears.
Take back America, Britain for the British, make the UK or America Great Again. Keep those foreigners out! If we listen to this cant, the American Dream will die and so will all other aspirational dreams. Yes, you will hear this same rhetoric in every speech of the Republican Presidential nominee (sad, sad day for the Grand Old Party).
This is a sickness of the spirit and only a spiritual remedy will cure it. It is a retreat from love, a retreat from Brother and Sisterhood to us against them, fear of loss of that which you never really had, and nostalgia for an America which was a living hell for large groups of the population who were not of European descent.
This spiritual sickness is rooted in the fear of many that the country and our lives will never be the same again. They are right, our lives and our country will never be the same again. It just might be better if we get out of fear and make it so. Nothing is ever the same again. Change is the only constant in the Universe.
The lessons of the Master Teacher are being replaced by the dark philosophy of Niche. Globalization is in peril as Jingoism and xenophobia raises its ugly head. Love and Fear cannot exist in the same time and place. Love is the mother of peace, liberty and unity. Fear is the Father of hate, separation and oppression.
What will we choose? Can we learn from similar conditions in the 1930’s or will we walk down the road to hatred and destruction once again?
The solution is not to return to the religion of Christianity but to the Teachings of the Master Teacher for the Western world, Christ Jesus. Tolerance, acceptance, love, peace, forgiveness and empowerment of every human regardless of color, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. That is the path to a new Golden Age, not exclusion, fear or hatred. The solution is unity, not identity politics that divide us into warring camps.
We are all part and parcel of the Great Architect of the Universe, the Great I AM that Ground of Being that we nickname God. We are all literally brothers and sisters and our future as a species depends on understanding and living this basic truth.
As Franklin Roosevelt so wonderfully put it: We have nothing to fear but fear itself.
Until we are together again: Be well, think well and speak well.
Rev. Dore’ Jacques Patlian, Sarasota, FL visit my video podcast library at revore@YouTube.com/revdore