Thursday, November 4, 2010

A New Bottom Line

Rabbi Michael Lerner, the editor of Tikkun magazine (a Jewish and Interfaith Critique of Politics, Culture and Society) has put forth a list of ten commandments for progressives after tuesday's election, though there are two of those items I'd like to highlight that apply to us all, most especially his call for a New Bottom Line in American Society.

This one, I believe, is the essential shift waiting for us all, no matter what our political party or ideological bent:

"6. Build a unified political movement that calls for A New Bottom Line in American society so that instead of judging institutions, legislation or policies rational or productive only to the extent that they maximize money and power, they are judged by how much they maximize love and caring, kindness and generosity, ethical and ecological behavior and awareness, and the extent to which they tend to encourage us to be more caring toward each other and the earth and more able to respond to the universe with awe, wonder and radical amazement at the grandeur of being and consciousness and to experience true gratitude at being alive."

I've been findining that my ideas have been seeming less and less realistic to me in recent years–I'm becoming impractical, and disillusioned with narrowly defined instrumentality, so I was also quite heartened by the tenth item in Rabbi Lerner's list:

"10. Don't be realistic! The powers that be in the media, politics and economics define "realism." The most important changes in our country have come about because people were willing to fight for what everyone supposedly knew to be "unrealistic" (e.g. ending segregation, ending ten thousand years of unchallenged male supremacy and sexism, legitimating gay and lesbian lives, building an environmental movement, and the list goes on). 

Realism is idolatry -- believing in God is believing that there is some Force in the Universe (some of us call it God) that makes possible the transformation from "that which is" to "that which could and should be." Support a Global Marshall Plan to once and for all end global poverty, hunger, homelessness, insufficient education or health care -- and pay for it through a Tobin tax on all international financial transactions of over $1 million. End the domination of money in politics and challenge the irresponsible environmental policies of corporations -- through the ESRA -- the Environmental and Social Responsibility Amendment to the U.S. Constitution."

You can read the full article here.

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