This past weekend, good friends listened to me ranting about political parties that feel they can only succeed with “majority rule”, and using such rationale to call an election with two years of their mandate still remaining. What happened to the skillful cultivation of collaboration in which all voices are heard and heard again until peaceful win-win solutions bubble up from out of the dialogue. Isn’t this how Canada got its global reputation as a peace-building nation? How did we, in this beautiful peace-loving nation, allow ourselves to get embroiled in the politics of power?
Alas, the cult of politics seeks dominance through democracy. One definition of democracy specifies, “the control of an organization or group by the majority of its members.” A second definition declares, “the practice or principles of social equality.” Regardless of which definition you favour, “control” and “social equality” are not adjacent elements on a democracy continuum. Arguably, they could be the extreme poles. In case any of you reading this blog think Canada has succeeded in “equivalent treatment of and opportunity for members of different groups within society regardless of individual distinctions of race, ethnicity, gender, age, social class, sexual orientation, or other characteristics or circumstances”, then you have ignored the current plight of black, indigenous, metis, elderly, female, LGBTQ+ members in this society. We’re definitely not there yet, and having a majority government is not what it takes to achieve social equality.
Regardless of political party or nation-state, governance systems based on control (democracy included) are broken, and frankly, they are not fixable. It seems obvious to me that we need a new balanced and collaborative world order — economic, ecological, social. Historically, we have given power and war the go-ahead, and look where that got us. How about voting for loving-kindness this time? What do you have to lose! Please make your vote truly count for social equality.
And there ends my rant on power. Well almost, below is my poem on the subject from Mad Woman Laughing.
The Politics of Power
Hungering after power, wanting its might,
is the bomb of self-destruction.
Abusive power dons many masks, thus
taking us a lifetime to know them all.
Its forked tongue of syrupy coercion
beguiles with a cunningly seductive tune.
Masterminding dominance is never peaceful.
Always, complexity and despair circle.
Arrogance and accommodation shelter
fuming violence and fuming silence.
Neither tap into one’s wisdom source.
Left mindless, clouded with delusion,
abuser and abused remain impenetrable to truth.
Only the sip of sweet surrender unencumbers
so we may know the strength of needing nothing.
May we release control and coercion and embrace the power of love. Namaste.