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There is one experience that brings joy or happiness to every living being. The experience of love.

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Books

Soul of Leadership (Hardcover)

Soul of Leadership (Hardcover)
ABOUT THIS BOOK Leadership is the most crucial choice one can make—it is the decision to step out of darkness into the light.      Bestselling author and spiritual guide Deepak Chopra invites...

Super Brain by Deepak Chopra, MD & Rudy Tanzi, MD (Hardcover)

Super Brain by Deepak Chopra, MD & Rudy Tanzi, MD (Hardcover)
Learn about Deepak Chopra and the Chopra Center's Super Brain dietary supplement - Ayurvedic Brain Support NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER Super Brain by Deepak Chopra, MD & Rudy...

Creating Sacred Space with Feng Shui

Creating Sacred Space with Feng Shui
ABOUT THE BOOK: Feng Shui is the ancient oriental art of enhancing and harmonizing the flow of energy in your surroundings.  Over the last twenty years, Karen Kingston has pioneered the study...

Book Of Secrets

Book Of Secrets
2005 Nautilus Book Award Grand Prize Winner! New York Times Best Seller! Every life is a book of secrets, ready to be opened. The secret of perfect love is found there, along with the secrets...

GOD: A Story of Revelation (Hardcover)

GOD: A Story of Revelation (Hardcover)
“God is an empty term except through the revelations of all the saints, prophets, and mystics of history. They exist to plant the seeds of spirituality as a direct experience rather than a...

Brotherhood - by Deepak & Sanjiv Chopra (Hardcover)

Brotherhood - by Deepak & Sanjiv Chopra (Hardcover)
BROTHERHOOD Dharma, Destiny, and the American Dream DEEPAK & SANJIV CHOPRA   “BROTHERHOOD is an uplifting account of sibling affection and success, and of the promise and infinite...

Ten Poems to Change Your Life

Ten Poems to Change Your Life
ABOUT THE BOOK: This is a dangerous book. Great poetry calls into question not less than everything. It dares us to break free from the safe strategies of the cautious mind. It opens us to pain...

Joyful Wisdom

Joyful Wisdom
ABOUT THEBOOK: Yongey Mingyur is one of the most celebrated among the new generation of Tibetan meditation masters, whose teachings have touched people of all faiths around the world. His first...

NEW Spiritual Solutions by Deepak Chopra(Hardcover)

NEW Spiritual Solutions by Deepak Chopra(Hardcover)
Spiritual Solutions: Answers to Life's Greatest Challenges ( AUDIOBOOK Available )  "Great advice directly from the master on virtually any subject, it just doesn't get any better...

Events

 
 
 
November 18 2012

Why Gridlock Is Good (If You're a Progressive)

Category:  SF Gate

Deepak Chopra, MD is the author of more than 65 books with numerous New York Times bestsellers and co-author with Rudolph Tanzi of Super Brain: Unleashing the Explosive Power of Your Mind to Maximize Health, Happiness, and Spiritual Well-being. (Harmony)

There is widespread lamentation over the current gridlock in politics. After a quick shot of elation for Democrats - which I wholeheartedly shared in - Washington went back to the status quo. Commentators point out that the same players are sitting in the same seats. The chances for tax reform and a solution to immigration may have improved slightly, we are told, but with more than fifty Tea Party members in the House and battle lines drawn everywhere on ideological lines, the news isn't good for successful negotiations.

I accept all of that, but it seems to me that gridlock is good for the progressive side, and liberals shouldn't join the general lamentation. Gridlock is the political equivalent of a medically induced coma. Basic life functions continue while a critical disease runs its course. Being in a coma isn't good for anyone, but when the disease is worse, a coma may be the only way to return to health.

In Washington's case, the disease is right-wing reaction. Its effects have been dire already: drastic economic unfairness, the Iraq war, control of Congress by lobbyists, intractable ideologues infecting the democratic process, and a draconian war on drugs that has filled our prisons comparably to what Stalin did in the Gulag (according to Fareed Zakaria, America's prison population has tripled since 1980, almost totally due to drug convictions, and we now incarcerate people at ten times the rate of other developed countries).

To halt the spread of reactionary policies, gridlock brings a coma-like stasis. But the other part of an induced coma is that nature takes its course to heal the patient. That is happening, too. The re-election of President Obama held back the worst aspects of the right that Romney pandered to. It allowed four more years for demographics to continue to outnumber the Republican base (the party has already lost the popular vote in five of the last six elections). Less noticed but still good is the rise of a younger generation of Christian fundamentalists who do not share their parents' rigid Bible belief.

When all these forces have come to fruition, the state of gridlock should have run its course in twenty years, ten if we are lucky. It took thirty years for the electorate to swing right, gradually driving out better candidates because they were unwilling to be vilified and face Willie Horton tactics. Ten years is only a fraction of that. Scorched-earth tactics didn't defeat Obama. Good candidates may take heart and start to return. For the time being, the crystal ball isn't clear. Human nature is stubborn, and there is no viable reason for the intractable right wing to cede power in Congress. They suffered pain in the last election, but pain doesn't create change, as history abundantly shows us. Situations that contain implacable divisions (Sunni versus Shiite, Israel versus the Palestinians, slave-owners versus abolitionists) don't heal; they fracture.

Why Gridlock Is Good (If You're a Progressive)
The good news for our body politic is that we have already broken the fever. Not in the way that Joe Biden called for when he foresaw the House accepting compromise after Obama won. They won't, just as the Republican Party won't become less radical through defeat. At best the two sides will lurch toward partial solutions with teeth grinding all the way. The rise of reactionary forces over thirty years has depended on legitimizing the worst in human nature, the side where irrational prejudice, resentment, and fear are lurking. If we are honest with ourselves, each of us feels these impulses.

But the essence of progressivism is to resist the worst and nurture the best through idealism and fair-mindedness. By acting like an adult and never giving way to revenge, Obama has used the patient tactic of leaning against a wall until it moves. He is counting on the electorate to wake up to its better nature. If he succeeds - and I think he will - Lincoln won't be the only President from Illinois who was a man of destiny. Obama is presiding over a shift in consciousness that will restore American uniqueness by curing us of a malady that was heading toward disaster.



Top comments

  • I like you very much Mr. Chopra, but I sense a dangerous hubris in the line where you say Obama is waiting for us to wake up to our better nature. Obama is not our spiritual leader. If anything, Obama could learn from us.

    Reneepainter99 // 2012-11-19 01:23:42 // //
  • Wow...Namaste Deepak...far out man...a hit on the nails head!!!!!!Wanting to stay out of politics usually...yet feeling like these times are so important to try at least to say something or communicate to try and facilitate some awareness or change and your` article is holistic and healing for me! LOL

    indieside // 2012-11-19 04:23:23 // //

 

 

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All comments

  • Right on!

    Runhild Roeder // 2012-11-24 00:36:07 // //
  • So glad I'm not the only one with that perspective - and not afraid to voice it in a public forum

    Marie Klaszky // 2012-11-24 00:16:17 // //
  • Great insight, Deepak!

    Barry S. Naiditch // 2012-11-23 22:32:22 // //
  • Hard to do, still very important for personal growth, which leads to growth to other people as well:)

    Rune Bekkelund // 2012-11-23 20:26:19 // //
  • I love all your books, you are LOV333 DEEPAK¡¡¡

    Marianaxzc Spears Jackson // 2012-11-23 20:22:48 // //
  • Currently reading your book Super Brain

    Janet Savage Valadez // 2012-11-23 19:49:18 // //
  • maybe, but have to wonder sometimes if the patient will survive the coma. peace. https://apps.facebook.com/theguardian/environment/2012/nov/21/emissions-cuts-climate-change-un

    Bob Martin // 2012-11-23 19:15:14 // //
  • Tried to go on your site Deepak but the net keeps cutting me off.

    Rosemarie Venose // 2012-11-23 18:39:30 // //
  • Thank You Deepak wow what an amazing day .. I have to say just going to the mall here in Rockford , Illinois... I just posted Black and white here ... What is this a Brain connection ... Parallell universe ... quite amazing how I have this gift to others ... gosh did I see lots of people from India today and the 1 I thought was from India and no Bangladesh and she had this huge silver necklace of Jesus ... Amazing to me I see India people in the USA and immediately friends from India came on my phone posting ... The one posted my God is not perfect... You know what ... I have even saw these words today too ... God Bless ...

    Marlene Wood // 2012-11-23 18:38:54 // //
  • And the world is our mirror ...

    Jana C. Uhlik // 2012-11-21 11:01:04 // //
  • The more enlightened I become, the more dysfunction I see in others, and the world.

    Jay B. Lawrence // 2012-11-20 14:31:32 // //
  • Deepak, you should be all presidents 1st adviser, you are the only one with creative aptitudes and fundamental knowledge that can guide us to a better world. A new world can only be formed if the ones directing it are doing it through consciousness.

    NewWorld // 2012-11-19 06:40:06 // //
  • Wow...Namaste Deepak...far out man...a hit on the nails head!!!!!!Wanting to stay out of politics usually...yet feeling like these times are so important to try at least to say something or communicate to try and facilitate some awareness or change and your` article is holistic and healing for me! LOL

    indieside // 2012-11-19 04:23:23 // //
  • My apologies. I meant Dr. Chopra!

    Reneepainter99 // 2012-11-19 01:39:04 // //
  • I like you very much Mr. Chopra, but I sense a dangerous hubris in the line where you say Obama is waiting for us to wake up to our better nature. Obama is not our spiritual leader. If anything, Obama could learn from us.

    Reneepainter99 // 2012-11-19 01:23:42 // //
  • thanx deepack..

    Ree-Roshan Ros // 2012-11-18 23:42:20 // //
  • Thank you for shining the light on this. We need to be the change we want to see.

    Eileen Madigan // 2012-11-18 23:26:55 // //
  • Thank you Deepak :-)

    Pamela Chewning Goode // 2012-11-18 19:29:34 // //
  • You have been my spiritual mentor for many years, it is disappointing you have stepped down to the level of politics, why?

    Emmy L. Taylor // 2012-11-18 19:12:03 // //
  • Well analyzed and stated, Dr. Chopra.

    Leslie Eastman // 2012-11-18 18:49:46 // //
  • That's optimistic of you

    Eileen Day McKusick // 2012-11-18 18:18:22 // //
  • I have always admired you. Just finished a cup of Pita Tea. But I am disappointed that you feel the need to involve us in your political opinions.

    Jessica Vance // 2012-11-18 18:08:29 // //
  • Humble as U R always, Deepak. :)

    Desmond FLechner // 2012-11-18 18:07:34 // //
  • This is exactly my position. Thank you Deepak for your own life process and the enormous good and sharing you have done. I so appreciate it all.

    Ellen J Myers // 2012-11-18 18:07:28 // //
  • U are nice : )

    موسيقار هادئ // 2012-11-18 18:05:21 // //