2016 Elections: Spiritual Bankruptcy: What are your Core Values? – Insights from the Wilderness #264


There is deep anger in our country. Anger over political gridlock created by rigid ideological thinking. Anger that our middle-class is disappearing. Anger that the wealthy 1% are using their wealth to purchase our democracy and our political process. Anger at the greed we see on Wall Street and in our nation’s corporations. Anger over the growing poverty in our country. Anger that the “system” labels the poor as lazy and unmotivated despite a lifetime of working at low paying jobs. Anger watching much of the money American’s saved for retirement disappear in 2000 recession  and then again in 2008.

Spiritual Bankruptcy

There is deep fear and anger in our nation’s voters as we head into the November elections. Fear of Muslims. Fear of immigrants. Fear of blacks. Fear of terrorists. Fear of poverty. Fear they will not have enough money to retire or survive in their retirement.

Voters are frightened, and they are angry. They have lost hope. They have lost faith in the system. They are searching frantically for someone to blame for the anger and fear they are feeling.

Politicians like Trump and others are playing on those fears and anger. They are manipulating people in preparation to the November elections. They get it! They know when humans are fearful or angry; when people have lost their spiritual grounding, they move into fight/flight survival mode…..not rational thinking. They know if they can play on those fears and anger they can shut down the voter’s ability to think rationally. They know that angry or frightened, humans are hard-wired to focus on their emotions. They know that strong emotions shut down rational thinking. They turn people into sheep that can be easily manipulated to abandon their sacred values.

Trump and other ultra-conservative right wing Tea Party politicians are intentionally attempting to capitalize on the high levels of fear and anger in our nation so they can emotionally manipulate the voting public. They know the more they can stoke the fear and anger , the less rational the voting public will be when they enter the voting booth. We saw that in Hitler’s rise to power in Germany in the 1930’s. We know that Trump and other ultra-conservative, ideologically rigid politicians are intentionally using the same strategy in their bid for political power.

They are counting on the spiritual bankruptcy created by fear, anger, and loss of hope that’s rapidly taking over our nation as we head into the 2016 elections. In their bid for power, they are counting on voters abandoning the sacred values that have guided our nation since its founding.

What are your Core Values?

The spiritual bankruptcy I’m referring to is not about religion. In fact, we have far too much “religion” in our political dialogue. I define spiritual bankruptcy as the growing tendency to take the sacred out of our political discourse. We are so focused on anger, fear, and hatred of “other”  we’ve lost touch with those things we have always held as sacred and non-negotiable in our nation…. those guiding principles which have always been untouchable, protected, defended, secure, deeply honored, deeply respected, and deeply valued. The values we have held as sacred for over 200 years. The values that define us as a nation, and as a people. The values we hold at the core of who we are and what we stand for. The values that our nation was founded on.

As we move into these last few days leading up to the 2016 election, we each need to ask ourselves…even in the presence of fear and anger, what principles and values are sacred to “me”? Why do I define them as sacred? What needs to be sacred if my life is to have meaning? What principles and values do I want my children to grow up knowing are sacred and non-negotiable for their children? Free speech? Diversity? Equality? Freedom? Human rights? Justice? Nature? Other living species? Our planet?

And most importantly, we need to ask ourselves if we answer these questions based on a self-focused…..what’s in it for “me”? Or did we answer them with a collective focus on “we” and what’s in it for “us”? And who is the “us”? Every person in America? Or just those people who look and think like us and believe the same things we believe in?

Did we include every living creature on the planet? Or did we see ourselves as “separate and elite….focused on me, my, mine”?  Stated differently, did we unconsciously label the rest of the world as “other”? Or did we think in terms of “we” and “us”……..”our” nation?


When we unconsciously embrace the illusion of separateness and see ourselves as a separate person; a separate “me”……there is a high probability that our self-focus will unconsciously create a sense of entitlement that makes us privileged and special”. An unhealthy belief in our own importance. It quickly turns the rest of the world into categories of  “other”, or  “them”. The “enemy” to be feared.

The illusion that we are a separate “i” also tends to unconsciously breed arrogance and the never-ending need to be right that is so corrosive in our relationships with “others”. It unconsciously creates the judgmental labels we use to define those included in our never-ending categories of “others” or “them”. And this illusion of special and privileged is especially true in our religious beliefs and our ultra-patriotism.

Are we going to enter the 2016 elections spiritually wealthy? Will we protect the values that made our nation great, or will we be spiritually bankrupt and abandon our sacred values?  Everyone needs to answer that question for themselves……because bottom line, that’s what we are really voting for.

When we pull the lever in the voting booth in November…..who is going to be inside our sacred values circle, and who is going to be excluded? Who will be included in our compassion…..and even more importantly, who will we exclude from our compassion?

How big will our sacred values circle be? Who will we include? Who will we exclude as “other”? And most importantly, will it be large enough to include everyone in the human community? If not, who will we exclude? Why will we exclude them? What label have we put on them? Bottom line…..what sacred principles and values will our vote protect for those struggling to survive in the years to come? Because our vote will create their future.

And finally, do our sacred values include the concept of mutual benefit and compassion for all living systems? How about nature? Will we vote to include our planet (our birth mother) inside our circle of those things we hold to be sacred? Will we vote to include all living beings on our planet and all future generations of our birth mother’s children? Or will it include only a self-focused “us” and “our” generation?

Our vote in November will; more than any other time in recent memory, determine and define the sacred values of our nation. We can give into the blind emotions of hate, fear, anger and spiritual bankruptcy, or we can embrace the sacred values that our country has was founded on.

Your children and grandchildren will want to know how you voted someday. You created their future. What will you tell them?
















No comments yet.

Would love to hear your thoughts on this blog article