The Silver Lining

Polarity and peace.  In the context of the upcoming electoral college vote and the discussion regarding outside influence on the election, I feel like it is very important to understand both history and political science.  Sometimes, I wonder if what is being asked of us is the question: under what conditions would we … for example, sacrifice a democratic election?  Is it the most sacred value?  We worry about the stability of our system, its resilience to atrocity and human rights abuse.  I think the relevant considerations for someone who is nonviolent are what are the critical moral questions and how will we confront them?

  1. Do we think it is moral to separate families or communities by deportation?
  2. Do we think that a wall like the Berlin Wall is a good way?
  3. Do we think that it is moral to require people to register their faith?
  4. How will we ensure that lives are not lost to preventable wars?
  5. At what point will our environmental debt to the world be too great?
  6. If policies are enacted that reflect some of the insensitive things that have been said in the transition of power, how will we react?
  7. Will we decide as a country that our wealth is more important than the lives of those among us who suffer from chronic illnesses?
  8. Are we really going to allow torture to be used under any circumstance?

So, I’m thinking…  Let’s say for a moment that there was outside influence on the election.  It would be somewhat naive to say that this doesn’t happen within a global intelligence community.  All it would take is for a few key players to use their knowledge to the instrument of a more powerful foreign party who takes the other side. It would be pretty erroneous for this (or any other major) country to believe that we haven’t been on the “more powerful foreign party” side of the equation.  What is new for us, perhaps, is the idea that someone foreign to us could be strong enough to put us in this position.  So, if we have been put in this position, the question is whether it is “a power grab”, or whether it is “an accounting”.  There are at least a couple of possible ways of analyzing this: 1) is it unilateral or does it occur through established rules in the international community? 2) is there an ethical dimension?  that is, suppose that there exists a system that has decided that it is to be the universal order of the world (this could be religious, or political) and that a political power aligns itself with this desire for universality, at what point does freedom depend on having multiple poles of power?

So, if there has been a little “coup” (with military dimensions), the silver lining is that the new power carries enough of ambition, opportunity, and being “one of us” to make it palatable.  Assuming that we believe in a 2-party system, it will be fortifying for our country and values, to have the other party from the one that has been in power for the last 8 years, assume leadership and allow them to achieve or manage the progress in values in a new way.  They may undo some of what was accomplished, but they are also likely to be influenced by their position of authority to accept some of the values.  The highest imperatives will be ensuring that they consider “all of us” to be “one of us”, that they remain politically restrained by our own system, and that we are not forced into the puppethood that formerly subjected many foreign countries.  Let’s keep an eye on political history.  Let’s be more forgiving of those who have been on the other side.  Let’s understand how to help, rather than destroy – individuals, families, countries like Syria.  And let’s retain our right to polarity at the same time that we acknowledge and thank Russia for the military escort of rebels out of indefensible positions (Aleppo).  I’m ok with that, but not ok with puppet governments.


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