by: Roger S. Gottlieb on October 24th, 2012 | 4 Comments »
A tough question, this one. Certainly there are a number of responses which are not particularly spiritual, as tempting as they might be. For if we think of spirituality as the simple but extraordinarily difficult attempt to respond to life’s difficulties with mindfulness, equanimity, gratitude, compassion, and love, then the natural tendency towards revulsion at the lies, panic at the thought of the “other guy” winning, or contempt for the stupidity of the confused citizens who might vote against our candidate – well, such responses don’t really fit the bill.
Nor, sad to say, does the religious understanding of one candidate being absolutely closer to God’s commands than the other. And this is equally as true for conservatives as it is for liberals: for those who are sure that Romney will keep the faith for religious freedom, heterosexuality, fetus rights, and a strong military; as for voters who believe Obama serves the Golden Rule and the Sermon on the Mount far better than any Republican could ever do.
What I’m looking for is a spiritual response that can coexist with very different political views; providing, of course, that the different political views don’t depend on outright group hatred, violent aggression, or brute selfishness. Given that condition, I believe it is possible for people of spiritual good will to disagree about (for example) tax policy, responses to conflicts in the Middle East, energy policy, and even abortion rights. (And I say this as someone with highly defined politics, views so far to the left I fall off the planet occasionally.) Such spirituality is compatible with organized religion, with no religion, with reverence for God, goddesses, spirits, nature, or simply life.