In his last and only filmed speech on December 10th 1968 at an interfaith conference in the suburbs of Bangkok Thailand, Thomas Merton argued that we can no longer rely upon institutions, for they have become entities prone to destruction at a moment’s notice. Institutions are irrelevant. He urged his audience to learn to stand upon your own two feet; an insight he gleaned from recent discussions with the Dalai Lama.
Politics is becoming irrelevant for many reasons. What is becoming relevant in its place is arguably questionable. You’re your best judge of that. Politics is virtual now. Democracy is being outrun, out-sourced, replaced by systems like autocracies (China is a good example); management models capable of turning policies on a dime. We really ache for efficient accountable city management not leadership. We need not vote for a city manager. We merely need to conduct a thorough hiring interview.
The body politic of the United States, such as it is, given the small percentage of it that casts a ballot or three at intervals, was never a body to begin with. It was an interesting cover to Hobbes’ Leviathan, perhaps. Listen and view the political rhetoric emanating from your digital devices. Relevant? Meaningful?
While some throw up their hands in frustration, disgust, and desperation, my recommendation is to consider Merton’s prophetic urging.
Sitting down? Stand upon your own two feet.