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Eugene Weekly : Viewpoint : 3.18.10




Green Tea Party

Finding common ground

By Robert Bolman 

As I believe that most all humans are essentially good, I feel that there must be abundant common ground between the Tea Party and the progressives. In an effort to explore and develop this common ground, I’ll address each of the 9.12 Project’s nine principles below:

1. America is good.

While I feel that the American people are essentially good, we do ourselves a disservice by ignoring America’s very bad history. Our ancestors stole this country from the people who were here before us, slaughtering about 10 million Native Americans in the process. Not content to steal our home country, it is a matter of historical record that the U.S. has toppled democracies and supported dictators the world over in an effort to control resources and secure geopolitical advantage.

2. I believe in God and He is the center of my life.

Like many progressives, I am convinced that there is a field of intelligence that permeates the universe and ties us all together. I believe that Jesus Christ and others like him were fully in touch with that field and thus all their actions were informed by the love and compassion that I try to embody in my own life. I don’t believe that God is a tall, white man with a beard who would hurl anyone into the fiery depths of Hell.

3. I must always try to be a more honest person than I was yesterday.

Being honest means more than not telling lies. Being honest means not lying to one’s self — something that human beings are particularly adept at. Indeed, the politicians, bureaucrats and corporate executives whose behavior the Tea Party and progressives both object to are masters of self-delusion. It’s how they function in their world. Self-delusion is a broad human phenomenon and we should always place our own thoughts and beliefs under ever greater scrutiny.

4. The family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government.

The well-being of the community and the broader human family should be taken into consideration as they ultimately influence the well being of the family.

5. If you break the law, you pay the penalty. Justice is blind and no one is above it.

That should apply to those Wall Street bankers and politicians who crashed the economy and are still walking around free. Indeed, Bush and Cheney told bald-faced lies to drag the U.S. into Iraq. They shredded the Constitution in the process and yet they remain free.

6. I have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, but there is no guarantee of equal results.

When “equal results” are rendered more difficult to achieve by policies that favor the rich, there may be need for change.

7. I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable.

When large numbers of people live together in a city, state or society generally, there tends to be some form of government which raises revenue (typically) through taxation to provide services which are deemed necessary for the well being of the people. No one balks at police and fire protection being handled in this manner. Every other civilized country in the world has extended this reasoning to include a government-run national health care system. Those systems, from Canada to Europe to Japan provide quality health care for all their people at 40 to 50 percent less than what we pay in the U.S. Yet many in the Tea Party would deplore this sensible idea calling it “socialism.”

Moreover on the subject of charity, we should all embrace a degree of Christ-like love and compassion resulting in everyone enjoying a baseline level of food, shelter and health care.

8. It is not un-American for me to disagree with authority or to share my personal opinion.

Of course, and we should do it from a position of respect and humility.

9. The government works for me. I do not answer to them, they answer to me.

Under the genuinely democratic system that we would like to see, the government would truly represent the people. If money were removed from the process and if the people were educated, well informed, not overly influenced by polarizing, zealot talk show hosts and if the people were imbued with Christ-like love and compassion, the Tea Party and the progressives alike would build the positive world we’d all like to see.

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Robert Bolman is a designer, builder, and founding director of Maitreya EcoVillage in Eugene.