Sunday, February 28, 2016

A New Way To Think About Politics - "There are the protected and the unprotected."

In the United States Presidential primaries there are two candidates who are defying early expectations by remaining in the race and garnering significant support. They are Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump.

Though in some ways they are very different, they seem to both reflect important changes in the public participation and challenges to the Democrat and Republican party establishments.

Below is an interesting analysis of what these candidates and their strong public support may reflect:

"There are the protected and the unprotected. The protected make public policy. The unprotected live in it. The unprotected are starting to push back, powerfully.

The protected are the accomplished, the secure, the successful—those who have power or access to it. They are protected from much of the roughness of the world. More to the point, they are protected from the world they have created. Again, they make public policy and have for some time.

I want to call them the elite to load the rhetorical dice, but let’s stick with the protected.

They are figures in government, politics and media. They live in nice neighborhoods, safe ones. Their families function, their kids go to good schools, they’ve got some money. All of these things tend to isolate them, or provide buffers. Some of them—in Washington it is important officials in the executive branch or on the Hill; in Brussels, significant figures in the European Union—literally have their own security details.

Because they are protected they feel they can do pretty much anything, impose any reality. They’re insulated from many of the effects of their own decisions."

This analogy of "protected and  unprotected" in many ways can be seen in basic Dharma practice issues and human tendencies which we see in attachment, in reactions or responses to impermanence and self-centeredness, as well as in habits of body-mind desires and delusions. I will develop these thoughts further at a future time.

This analogy of "protected and unprotected" is also especially evident in politicians, former politicians and celebrities who propose rules for the general public in many areas included areas such as finances,  health care and the environment but then accept special health benefits for themselves while short-changing the VA, receive and even demand financial gifts from private foundations, corporate and financial institutions, or jet around the world, sometimes using governmental planes or funds, for their own pleasure and use governmental influences and resources to fund their extravagant lifestyles.

Recent very visible examples were the celebrity extravaganzas of a series of movie, sports and music awards culminating in the Oscars, which included many media and political figures who preached to the broader public about the need to limit the public's environmental and consumption footprint but did not exhibit this in their behavior both publicly visible, especially at the televised and photographed events; they did not walk the talk or abide by the rules they propose and support imposing on the public..

While the analysis quoted focuses more on Trump, it is relevant to Sanders and also to many broader political issues.

For the rest of this article by Peggy Noonan see the link below. See especially the comments to the article which offer a broad range of interesting responses and alternatives.