Progressive Values e-letter October 25, 2013 Ideas we need to talk about HTML version Searching America's Soul All of the various fields of human inquiry -- theology and philosophy and morality and psychology - meet rather beautifully in politics. And sometimes I wonder if politics isn't exactly that,it's the taking of all the sort of great ineffable and trying to make them have some meaning in the actually historical moment on earth in which we live. Tony Kushner - writer of the movie "Lincoln" - interview with Bill Moyers To all Americans - The shutdown debacle pulled back the curtain and revealed some deep dark issues at the core of our crisis in American democracy. There has been an outpouring of commentary from diverse voices on a broad range of topics within this complex scenario raising issues that have been under the radar until now. It's now indisputable that our American democracy is in the greatest peril since the Civil War and change must come effectively and rapidly from the grassroots up. Especially revealing was coverage, particularly via social media, of the values and ideas driving the political posturing and maneuvering. The shutdown had little to do with the actual debt or deficit and everything to do with a narrow ideology, toxic certitude, delusions of superiority and lust for power . Widespread consensus that this conservative extremist worldview is dangerous gives me the moral energy needed to continue seeking dialogue and understanding among the citizenry. It has been common knowledge for some time that the Republican Party is controlled by its Tea Party faction. An entrenched hatred for secular government and liberals is a major force in the Tea Party ideology. Ever-present racism and the threat of violence have grown exponentially since the election of Barack Obama as President. The passion of some in that fringe element is rooted in the conviction that America is a "Christian nation" and should be ruled by Biblical principles. This movement is called Dominionism or Reconstructionism and has been part of the culture for many years. "End times" theology is often a part of this mindset and came to the public's attention during the candidacies of Gov. Sarah Palin and Gov. Rick Perry. The fact that this faction calls themselves "Values Voters" while they help the rich to get richer and the poor to get poorer, is infuriating. Their false labeling of progressives as being "morally deficient" and "depraved" makes me furious. Close observers of the moral dimensions of politics have been concerned about this right wing movement since its emergence in the early 1980s. General awareness and alarm have been fairly low until recently. There are many individuals and organizations within the progressive movement and mainline Christians that are deeply involved in confronting the hypocrisy and cruelty of this extremist ideology but a cohesive strategy has not yet emerged. Liberals, Democrats and Progressives have long been inept at articulating the moral values grounding their political philosophy. Americans treasure their democracy (even when complaining about the government) and the principles upon which it founded. Freedom of, and freedom from, religion along with free speech are precious to us. Tolerance for a wide range of opinions and cultural diversity is an American characteristic. However, when a small faction - made up of big money, skilled operatives, "grassroots" organizing and Members of Congress who are motivated by this extremist right wing ideology - amasses enough power to shut down the government, a line has been crossed. (see Robert Reich's comments at left). It's critically important that citizens learn about this insurgency and organize to fight back so that American democracy stays firmly rooted in its inherently progressive values. There are many components of this crisis with faith and values playing a major role. The study of moral politics has been my priority for the past eight years. I've collected more information than I ever thought possible when this project began and have posted selected articles on the internet for citizen education. All are welcome to use this body of knowledge and those progressives with a bent for political philosophy are strongly urged to dig in. With audacious faith, Phyllis Stenerson We must move ahead with audacious faith. The moral arc of the universe is long but it bends toward justice. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. * * * There is such a thing as a crime against the soul of a nation. A person or a political party can deliberately incite actions that diminish the strength, the integrity, and the overall well-being of a nation's inner core. America's soul is in a fragile state...We see that in the near hatred between the Republicans and Democrats, between liberals and conservatives, between free-thinkers and evangelicals that continues to fester...we now have a public that cannot discern lies from truth... Crimes Against the Soul of America by Carolyn Myss, published on Huffington Post,September 5, 2009 Despite such terminology as "fiscal cliff" and "debt ceiling," the great debate taking place in Washington now has relatively little to do with financial issues. It is all about ideology. It is all about economic winners and losers in American society. It is all about the power of Big Money. It is all about the soul of America...We are entering a pivotal moment in the modern history of our country. Do the elected officials in Washington stand with ordinary Americans -- working families, children, the elderly, the poor -- or will the extraordinary power of billionaire campaign contributors and Big Money prevail? The American people, by the millions, must send Congress the answer to that question. The Soul of America by Senator Bernie Sanders, published by Common Dreams, January 9, 2013 * * * We acknowledge our transgressions, our shortcomings, our smugness, our selfishness and our pride. Deliver us from the hypocrisy of attempting to sound reasonable while being unreasonable. Chaplain Barry C. Black in one of his daily opening prayers in United States Senate, New York Times,October 7, 2013 Go to www.ProgressiveValues.org for articles, excerpts, quotations and more. To receive this e-letter directly, go to bottom left of home page and sign up. We are, or at least we used to be,a nation of moral ideals. Reclaiming America's Soul by Paul Krugman,New York Times, April 24, 2009 Politics is noble because it involves personal compromise for the public good. Why We Love Politics by David Brooks,New York Times, November 22, 2012 I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Do not retreat to the convenience of being overwhelmed. Ruth W. Messinger We can choose to use our lives for others to bring about a better and more just world for our children. CÉsar ChÁvez Politics is what we create out of what we do, what we hope for, what we dare to imagine. Paul Wellstone Religion without humanity is poor human stuff. Sojourner Truth From Robert Reich, posted on Facebook: Suppose a relatively small group financed by a handful of billionaires (1) takes over state governments in order to redistrict, gerrymander, require voter IDs, purge voter rolls, and otherwise suppress the votes of the majority; (2) secretly bankrolls candidates for these safe seats who pledge to shrink and dismember the government; (3) then, once these candidates are elected, has them shut down the government in order to repeal or amend laws the plotters dislike; (4) then forces the nation to default on its debts and thereby throws the economy into a tailspin in order to get their way; and (5) runs a vast PR campaign to convince the American public of big lies about laws the plotters dislike or policies they seek. Would you call this an attempted coup d'etat? If not, what would you call it? And what would you do about it? Robert Reich, Facebook, October 7, 2013 Articles posted by topic include - Seditious conspiracy - Shutdown crisis - Right wing religious extremism - America's Soul - Government's moral authority The Spiritual Crisis Underlying American Politics By John Amodeo, PsychCentral.com, October 14, 2013 - The shutdown of good governance by Fred Hiatt, Washington Post, October 6 , 2013 A Federal Budget Crisis Months in the Planning by Sheryl Gay Solberg and - Mike McIntire, New York Times, October 5, 2013 Meet the Evangelical Cabal Orchestrating the Shutdown, BillMoyers.com, October 9, 2013 - Ignore the Spin: This Debt Ceiling Crisis is Not Politics as Usual by John Light, BillMoyers.com, October 9, 2013 The Radicalization of the GOP is the Most Important Political Story Today by Joshua Holland, Bill Moyers.com, October 10, 2013 Many in G.O.P. Offer Theory: Default Wouldn't Be That Bad by Jonathan Weisman, New York Times, October 8, 2013 The American Public's Shocking Lack of Policy Knowledge is a Threat to Progress and Democracy By Justin Doolittle,Truthout, October 12, 2013 Racism and Cruelty Drive GOP Health Care Agenda By Robert Scheer, Truthdig, October 13, 2013 The Radical Christian Right and the War on Government by Chris Hedges, TruthDig.com, posted on CommonDreams.org, October 7, 2013 How Christian Delusions Are Driving the GOP Insane by Amanda Marcotte, AlterNet, October 9, 2013 Recent e-letters - Status quo or change? 9/19/13 - The battle for America's soul 10/4/13 Phyllis Stenerson, Paideia LLC 612.331.1929 - email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org - ProgressiveValues.org Paideia (pu-di'uh) is an ancient Greek philosophy of educating for citizenship to create an ideal society ______________________________________________________________________ Click to view this email in a browser http://hosted.vresp.com/817899/6b03b3c0da/TEST/TEST/ If you no longer wish to receive these emails, please reply to this message with "Unsubscribe" in the subject line or simply click on the following link: http://cts.vresp.com/u?6b03b3c0da/TEST/TEST ______________________________________________________________________ Click below to forward this email to a friend: http://oi.vresp.com/f2af/v4/send_to_friend.html?ch=6b03b3c0da ______________________________________________________________________ This message was sent by Phyllis Stenerson - Paideia LLC using Locus Interactive Phyllis Stenerson - Paideia LLC 3401 Colfax Avenue South #106 Minneapolis, Minnesota 55408
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