Sunday, January 5, 2020

Good Versus Evil

                                                                                              written 31 December 2019
                                                                                                published 5 January 2020

            Last week I saw the latest Star Wars film, episode 9, "The Rise Of Skywalker".  I still remember the impact of seeing the first Star Wars movie, episode 4, "A New Hope", in 1977.  Lines stretched all around the theater and people went back multiple times.  As is typical of this kind of a series, episode 9 was adequate, but a pale version of the first film. 
            In 2002, three blockbuster movies opened for the holiday season.  The second episode of "Harry Potter", the second episode of "Lord Of The Rings", and the fifth of the "Star Wars" series.  All were mythic stories of the hero's journey, facing challenges, coming to power, and prevailing.  Small groups of people fight against the apparently insurmountable force of evil in order to preserve their society.  The fact that all three series were financial successes shows the appeal of such a story to the larger community.
            All three series end with similar crescendo.  Lord Voldemort has regained power and gathered a great army to destroy Hogwarts and dominate the wizarding world.  Sauron has regained power and gathered a great army to dominate and enslave Middle Earth.  The Sith Lord Palpatine has regained power and gathered a great army to dominate and destroy the free Republic.  Each is overthrown at the last minute by the valor, skill, and fortitude of the hero or heroine in the story.  The moral is that good overcomes evil eventually, a story that is as relevant today as it was "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away".  
            Much like the "Force" in Star Wars, there is a connective energy that underlies all manifested reality.  The foundation of evil is the denial of that fundamental connection, and the illusion of exclusive gain.  I believe there is more going on in the world than we have been led to believe so far. One of the sources of hope and inspiration for me is a website called  Their most recent email included this thought from Amber Mucjanko. 
            "Courage is being in moments of darkness, yet never losing sight of the light, a courageous heart knows that darkness is simply the absence of light. A wise heart uses the power of light to see through the dark."   
            The national election this year is a test of our capacity to hold the image of light in the face of apparently overwhelming darkness.  Most Americans are not misogynistic pigs.  Most Americans are not racist bigots or white supremacists.  Most Americans are not corrupt or greedy.  Most Americans believe that corporations have too much economic and political power.  Most Americans want good education for their kids, and responsible gun regulation.  Most Americans don't believe corporations should poison us for short term profit, and want clean air, food, and water.  Most Americans believe climate change must be addressed while we still may have a chance.
            There are about 235M Americans eligible to vote, but 20%, 47M, are not even registered.  Most of them have never even been asked to get registered.  In the 2016 election, 58% of registered voters actually went to the polls, meaning almost 100M Americans didn't think it was important enough to vote for president.  Of the 136M American who did vote, most (54.1%) voted for someone other than Trump. His voter margins in three states, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania totaled 77K people, 0.06% of the total number of voters nationally, giving him 46 electoral votes, and the majority in the Electoral College, so he was sworn in as president.
            We know that voting roll purges, and other voter suppression tactics in Republican controlled states, combined with Russian disinformation campaigns, helped sway the vote.  Trump was impeached for trying to bribe foreign influence in the 2020 election, and Republicans are unrepentant, so we should expect election problems this year as well. However, these tactics only win when the race is close.  Massive voter turnout everywhere is what shifted the House from Republican control in 2018, and that is the solution for 2020.  If you care about the future of our country, make sure you are registered, and then actually vote.  Talk with everyone you know, particularly in other states, encouraging them to register, vote, and spread the word.  
            May the Force be with you.