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November 7th, 2014

If you keep seeking the jewel of understanding

by Abu-Said Abil-Kheir

English version by Vraje Abramian
Original Language Persian/Farsi

If you keep seeking the jewel of understanding,
then you are a mine of understanding in the making.
If you live to reach the Essence one day,
then your life itself is an expression of the Essence.
Know that in the final analysis you are that
which you search for.


-- from Nobody, Son of Nobody: Poems of Shaikh Abu-Saeed Abil-Kheir, Translated by Vraje Abramian

Poetry Chaikhana | Abu-Said Abil-Kheir - If you keep seeking the jewel of understanding

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What Shall I Tell My Congressman?

The Congressman who represents the district i live in is considered a conservative Republican.  He has accepted tea party endorsement and money from the Koch brothers.  I find his agenda opposed to my interests, irrelevant to my interests, or just the usual political bullshit.  The only area in which we seem to share any common ground is on immigration -- perhaps because is a sort of "semi-immigrant" (Puerto Rican).

He was the incumbent in a district which has gone Republican in 21 our of 24 elections since 1967.  Before that time Democratic and Republican candidates tended to change off about every ten years.  The District has veered sharply to the right since the 1960s.  (Immigration from California??).  The only other district in the State has been more Mormon and more inclined to vote Republican; but the Republicans have been more moderate.  The one John Bircher was not renominated for  second term.

So what does a progressive tell "his" congressperson in this "reddest of red" States.  (It seems only yesterday that red was associated with the political left.  I have firm opinions, but i tend to be emotional, argumentative, and hostile when expressing them to people who don't share them.  I prefer, but have not yet successfully practiced, Buddhist communication which urges that statements be truthful, useful, helpful, kind, necessary, and terse.  Truthfulness is not that hard for me.  I only lie to family members and i have pretty much corrected that.  The other five qualities of "right speech" still pretty much elude me.

First, i would want to say that "the American people have not spoken" in  a clear voice.  My state had a very higfh voter turnout and the winners won by large margins, but still, most people did not vote for them.  My congressman got 65% of the vote in a state where 62% of elibible voters voted.  Pretty impressive, but that means (.65 x .62 = .403) that 59.7 percent of eligible voters did not vote for him.  In the county at large, i think,  the voting percentages were much smaller as were the margins  of victory.  So if a candidate got 55% of the vote and 33% of elibible persons voted, that candidate was affirmatively endorsed by only eighteen percent of potential voters, hardly a resounding show of support by any measure.

What can we say about the large majority of people who did not vote?  Almost nothing so far as i can tell.  They tend to be poor, young, members of minority groups, possibly less educated.  But that does not explain why they didn't vote.  Maybe it didn't matter how the vote went they would a) be okay, or b) get screwed over either way.  Maybe some were scared off by new voting restrictions or depressed by redistricting.  Maybe some refused to vote out of principle, maybe some were too busy trying to clean up the mess that we have made of this  failed experiment in  democracy.

We certainly can NOT say that the American people have spoken.  That would be an insult to the intelligence of any speaker of the English language.    (to be condinued...)

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