Beliefnet
Progressive Revival

To all Text Messengers: Help get out the vote in the upcoming presidential election. In Korea, text messages sent to millions of cell phones significantly influenced a national election; Switzerland too is experimenting with direct communication to the Thumb Generation. If millions of committed Boomers joined with the TextGen (text message generation), we could create a voting bloc that could make a significant difference toward caring for our fragile planet and our humanity.

Many of us, young and old, feel we don’t have much power to shape public policy. People today are not voting or joining civic groups as we did in the past. Do we think it doesn’t matter? American democracy is at risk because of our withdrawal from public life. Yeats’ famous line continues to haunt us: “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity?” Like fanaticism, apathy comes at great cost. No one can do it all, alone, but no one is exempt from participating.

Today we have the enhanced ability to mobilize swiftly as a group through new technology. Are we wise enough to use these new means of communication for good, beyond self-interest, provincialism and greed? If millions of disillusioned Boomers could be regenerated by the TextGen and form a voting bloc, we could make a significant difference. We already vote every day by what we think, do, say, and purchase. We already have a huge impact on the outcome of things, whether or not we know it. With this in mind, we ourselves must carefully decide who our leaders will be and then hold them accountable to a higher standard. Let’s step up to leadership ourselves instead of falling into mere followership.

Find your own authentic concerns and voice them. ‘Text message’, using new technology or in an old fashioned way. Pass this direct action idea around. Exhort people to discuss core issues, reflect deeply, and vote intelligently. The system is broken, and not being an entrenched part of it may be an asset when it comes to repairing it; this is where young people and those with fresh vision come in. If we can set aside the tired partisanship of hawks and doves, right and left, we might be able to find new ways to proceed. 

We are at a tipping point in our great country’s world leadership. Now we have the opportunity and necessity to rethink our global role as well as the character of our increasingly pluralistic society. In this instant-communications age, spiritual seekers have greater mobility and can more easily link personal beliefs and practices to broader political, social engagement and intelligent, nonviolent activism to make a difference in today’s volatile world. Famed for our individualism and future orientation, we Americans are not good at historical sensibility or mindful reflection. But don’t we love our homeland and each other enough to learn how to take better care of it? Can we ignore the poverty, illiteracy and insufficient health care in our society today? Can we ignore our excessive use of our world’s natural resources?  The world is our hands, head and heart, body and soul. Use it, don’t abuse it. It’s now or never-as always.

It is as crucial to be knowledgeable and aware as to act. Let’s not be distracted by expedient, carefully crafted election campaign sound bites– such as about religion, freedom and a narrow band of values- which are intent upon nothing but vote-getting. To find genuine freedom, we must relinquish many of our unfulfilling habits and fixed ways of thinking. We need to look deeper and reflect further in order to get to the heart of the matter, including the evergreen issues of concern for those who are less fortunate, love, tolerance, equality, faith and wisdom. These timeless values offer universal guidance and lasting nourishment. Spirituality should be a uniting rather than a divisive force.

Let us link our deeply held beliefs about humanity and the environment to broader political engagement and activism. As a spiritual teacher, I am requesting everyone in good faith to encourage friends and acquaintances to vote and become engaged in this important upcoming presidential election. If you can actively promote your candidate and your good causes in other ways, even better! The present and future – of both ourselves and our planet – depend on it. A small margin of votes has made the difference in our national elections.
Every day, in every moment, we are voting for how the world will be and become-voting with our deeds and words, thoughts, wishes, prayers, and intentions. Everything we do, however small, makes a difference. If we don’t pull together we will be pulled apart. Al Gore, in his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, quoted this African saying: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” In our shrinking, interconnected, and interdependent world, is there any other choice? 

Here’s my Text Message: Vote carefully. Give yourself to the future by taking action now. Consider the kind of world we’re leaving for our children and future generations. We all want to change and help things change for the better; but who among us is actually ready, willing and able to do so? And yet– “If not you, who? And if not now, when?” 

May the Text Generation become the MoveOn.org Generation!

Pass it on.

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