There’s never been a better time to seek enlightenment—the state that frees you from gut-shredding despair every time McCain/Palin snarls at Obama and Barack doesn’t rip right back and raise the stakes. True enlightenment, of course, also requires moving past the delight you feel when Obama gives as good as he gets.
The ultimate goal is equanimity—reacting to triumph the same as to tragedy. Examples: equanimous behavior—Barack Obama; non-equanimous behavior— John McCain.
There is only one directive. Be mindful.
When you hear NPR meticulously devote equal time to an absurd McCain sound bite and a reasonable one from Obama, go online and replay that clip six or seven times. Do the same when CNN offers its classic “on the one hand… on the other hand” treatment to a situation where there’s obviously a right and a wrong.
When you notice yourself cringing or starting to yell at the screen, say to yourself “cringing” or “yelling.” You’ve just taken a micro-step away from your feelings, and you’re on your way to transcendence.
Next, spend time at YouTube reliving the nastiest moments from the campaign archives. How about— Tom Tancredo’s rants against illegal immigrants, Mitt Romney’s mockery of the “liberalism” he espoused as Massachusetts governor, and Rudy Giuliani’s— well, pretty much everything out of Giuliani’s mouth.
Watch reruns of the recent debates, particularly McCain’s barely concealed contempt toward Obama and Palin’s winks/snarkisms. Watch Fox News.
Then, to tame your enthusiasm, revisit the Kennedys’ endorsement of Obama or Hillary’s New Hampshire primary victory. The second you feel happy, say “happiness.”
Remember Dennis Kucinich’s calls on the House floor for impeachment, and his rousing appeal to Democratic convention delegates in Denver. As you notice nostalgia or appreciation start to fill your soul, consciously think “nostalgia” or “appreciation.”
Immediately thereafter, you might get angry as you recall the mainstream media’s dismissive treatment of Kucinich, if they covered him at all. But it’ll be easier to quiet the negative reaction because you just noted the positive.
It’s that simple. Be mindful of all your reactions to everything political all day long.
. After a short holiday break, your mindfulness training will help you survive the next four years herding Democrats toward progressivism..
Wendy Block is a writer and political activist — a delegate to the California Democratic Party, Recording Secretary of the proudly liberal/progressive Valley Democrats United club, and of her state assembly district group. She’s on the Kitchen Cabinet of the non-partisan Kitchen Table Democracy, a speaker/advocate for full public funding of elections, and a Barack Obama fundraiser and campaign volunteer. In addition to The LA Progressive, her writing appears in the Valley Democrats United newsletter, and on other sites.