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Deepak Chopra and Intent

Deepak Chopra and Intent

Obama and the Tragedy of Apathy

posted by dchopra

Listening to Barack Obama’s acceptance speech, I got two messages. The first was tactical. Like a general mapping out a battle strategy, Obama has listened carefully to his critics, and in the speech he rolled out rebuttals, one by one, to the charge that he must announce plans and solutions to the country’s nagging problems. His trademark eloquence mostly had to wait until the last few moments, but when it came, the giant stadium audience was moved. Yet for all its effectiveness in terms of tactics, the speech didn’t dispel the specter that hung over it, and over the Obama campaign as a whole. The second message I heard was one of doubt and bewilderment. Can it really be true that a vast swath of the electorate thinks that Obama isn’t an American or Christian, that he’s a Muslim who wants to raise their taxes? A wiffle ball celebrity who has no real ideas?
At the root of this specter is apathy and indifference. By now, the country should know who Obama is and what he stands for. Most people do, in fact, and they have picked sides. They probably picked sides months ago, since the better informed a voter is, the more likely they are to make their decisions in the opening months of an election. The least informed and most apathetic voters make up their minds late, and it’s these whom Obama must persuade. Can he?
For the past eight years the Republican machine has counted on the power of apathy to win elections. The effect works on several fronts:
–Appeal to bias and prejudice: Tell the voter that he’s right to distrust Obama and all black men in general. If you’re lucky, no new thinking or attitudes will pierce the shield of fixed opinions.
–Paint easy stereotypes: In Obama’s case, the stereotype is of the snob and outsider, the elitist who isn’t like you and me.
–Appeal to patriotism: Imply that Obama doesn’t love the flag and therefore is inclined to cut and run, give in to foreign enemies, and neglect security.
–Fabricate falsehoods and never back down from your lies: Swift boating is the classic example, but calling Obama a Muslim competes on the same level of sleaze and dishonesty.
–Doubt your opponent’s masculinity: This goes along with branding Obama a snob and an elitist but takes a subtle turn with the suggestion that he isn’t experienced enough to run a war: he’s a green youth sent to do a soldier’s job.
–Fan the flames of fear: A tactic that won over the security moms for Bush in 2004 but has since weakened its punch. Fear could easily rise again if there is a major security threat between now and the election.
–Tell the public that everything is fine and not to worry. This is the opposite of the last point, but a certain segment of the population isn’t bothered by contradictions. If Obama can be a Muslim and have a crazy Christian preacher at the same time, people might buy that the economy is tanking but there’s no need to rock the boat.
It’s tragic that these simple, low tactics have been so thoroughly effective since Reagan’s rise in 1980, became perfected when the first George Bush slimed Michael Dukakis, and reached an apogee under Karl Rove. It’s not an absolute truth that appealing to the most indifferent and least informed voters wins elections. But in an environment where two or three percentage points can shift the Presidency, playing the apathy card seems to work. What Obama has on his side is powerful: higher registration among Democrats, a surge of charisma and optimism, intelligence, a widespread sense that the Bush administration has been a massive failure, all the blunders in Iraq, a sagging economy, soaring gas pries, a mass perception that the country is headed in the wrong direction, and a workable vision for getting America back on track. In ordinary times, these advantages would overwhelm the Republicans and their none-too-strong candidate. Then you look at the polls and ask yourself, If Obama is so obviously superior by almost any measure, why isn’t he ahead already?
I don’t think anyone knows. We can speak of hidden racism and a need, as yet unfilled, for the average person to find out more about Obama, who remains, oddly, an enigma to many on Main Street. But the larger truth is that we have lived in the post-Watergate era with apathy and cynicism as the common denominator of politics. It would be a greater tragedy if this sad tradition continues, yet it will take nothing less than a sea change to end it.
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Deepak Chopra: We Are One Being

posted by akornfeld

Is your neighbor yourself? Sitting in the airport I had a moment of recognition that because we share molecules, we are part of one consciousness. Everyone here is recycling their thoughts, emotions, and molecules with me.

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Michelle Obama – A Role Model for My Daughters (By Mallika Chopra)

posted by Mallika Chopra

Every night before we go to bed, my daughters and I talk about our worst and best parts of the day. Today, we all agreed that the best part was watching Michelle Obama’s warm and passionate speech, and then seeing her girls come onto the stage. As a mom, I felt we were experiencing a piece of history together…
The fact that today a smart, articulate, beautiful and accomplished black woman from the South side of Chicago stood before seasoned politicians, an audience of men and women, of whites, blacks, Latinos (and did you see the Indian sardar on CNN!), and addressed the world on national television, to celebrate the accomplishments of American society through her own story, is something to be proud about.
When she spoke about being at the crossroads of a woman’s right to vote and the anniversary of Martin Luther Kings “I Have a Dream” speech, Michelle Obama recognized the accomplishments of the so many leaders that came before her. Most importantly, she set a tone of dignity and a reminder of what we are capable of as a humanity.
“And as I tuck that little girl and her little sister into bed at night, I think about how one day, they’ll have families of their own. And one day, they – and your sons and daughters – will tell their own children about what we did together in this election. They’ll tell them how this time, we listened to our hopes, instead of our fears. How this time, we decided to stop doubting and to start dreaming. How this time, in this great country – where a girl from the South Side of Chicago can go to college and law school, and the son of a single mother from Hawaii can go all the way to the White House – we committed ourselves to building the world as it should be.”
As a mom, I was grateful that my daughters heard the words of gratitude, hope, and pride from Michelle Obama. As I tucked my daughters in tonight, Michelle Obama’s powerful, personal words indeed echoed in our home…

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Silence of the Lamb

posted by dchopra

An article in the Washington Post On Faith section in response to their question: Advise John McCain and Barack Obama on the role religion should play in their presidential campaigns.
This will be a short response: I’d advise both candidates the same way. Don’t mention religion a single time in the upcoming campaign. Various reverends and pastors have already embarrassed both McCain and Obama, proving that the clergy is even more fickle than the general public. (The fact that these reverends and pastors throw in their private brand of anti-Semitism, reverse racism, social paranoia, apocalyptic fantasies, and other flavors of kookism is even more embarrassing and offensive.) Courting the Christian right worked for the Republican party because the Democrats largely left the field open. Their distaste for wooing fundamentalists was well-founded and remains well-founded.
Religion is a divisive subject, and the founding fathers were wise to dampen its effect on government. Obama had every right to expect a smooth endorsement from his pastor, whom he regarded as a mentor and a friend, but the Rev. Jeremiah Wright was so dazzled by the limelight — and the scent of political influence — that he grossly overstepped the bounds of the pulpit. On the right, preachers overstep that boundary and regularly get away with it. They shouldn’t. God does not send a signal through any messenger that one candidate is more worthy than another, and anyone who claims to be such a messenger is a fraud. As for Jesus, the Lamb of God is silent on political matters. Take your cue from him, if you need one.
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http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/deepak_chopra/

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