I am looking forward to drumming with you this Friday. I feel like I have been “away” for a long time because of recuperating from surgery to repair a detached retina. All seems to be well with my eye although as any of you know who have had to be patient while healing, it takes far longer than you wish.
So with one good eye and one terribly blurry eye, I have watched the presidential campaign sink into the expected malodorousness, and have wondered why we all – left to right, anarchist to wing nut –claim distaste at swimming in the sewer yet we all so happily jump in every election. I wonder how the mobs of wingnuts can love the eliminator of sin while hyukking it up at Limbaugh’s racist quips, and I wonder how the lefties can decry hate mongers while stretching truth as weirdly as possible to paint political opponents as wholly demonic.
Don’t get me wrong—I live firmly on the angry left; I believe the current administration is full of actual criminals and I believe the GOP was taken over 30 years ago by cynical strategists who understood that because so few people vote in America, all you need to do to snatch the presidency is to turn out everybody in a subset of the populace. They targeted radical evangelicals, people with only a passing understanding of Christianity, and it worked. Their tactic was to create division and righteous anger at “the other” and it worked as it has throughout history. In the world of Celtic shamanism, this strategy would be called an incredibly powerful glamoury- a spell that covers the ugly truth with a dazzling sheen. George Bush, compassionate Christian hero, is a triumphant glam.
I saw Bill Maher’s new movie Religulous yesterday – his rant against religion as dumb people believing in dumb fairy tales. I admired the movie but like all political strategists, Hollywood writers and pyromaniacs his goal is merely to set a fire, not explore the nuanced human condition. Nuance is virtually dead in our public sphere and this is the root of such vast soul loss. Nuance is the place of subtlety, of shade, or as the Celts would say, the “between places.” It is in the between places that, in religions’ dumb myths, we meet God. And this is what unites both Maher’s movie and those he ridicules, and what oddly aligns Maher with the Karl Roves of the political world: all stay away from the between places in order to “win.”