The Wisdom of Deepak
Evidently Deepak Chopra has gone from writing insipid self-help schlock to becoming a political pundit. He isn’t much better in his second career, but he is good for a laugh.
Chopra’s argument is that the President is doing the right thing by being a mature adult, rising above the partisan fray, refusing to engage in verbal warfare with the right. No, seriously, he really believes this.
Maybe it’s possible to raise the level of the discussion. One way is to see that the level of the solution isn’t found on the same as the level of the problem. Obama has taken that view as his long-term strategy. His position is that acrimonious divisions in government, the problem, can’t be solved by being even more acrimonious. His call for compromise, balance and a reasoned approach to our difficult challenges is a sane adult’s way of rising above the level of the problem.
Read that paragraph. Soak it in. Let Deepak’s words register with you for a moment. Now that you’re done laughing, let’s think about this for a moment. We have a president who, far from being a dispassionate non-partisan just looking for an honest solution to our country’s woes, is probably the most deeply partisan chief executive this country has seen at least since Richard Nixon. Smug condescension just drips from every policy address that this man has made. He draws from the same playbook every time. First, discuss the divisions that are hampering progress on a given issue. Then, sarcastically and smugly dismiss your opponent’s ideas, often by glibly mischaracterizing what they actually want. The template is usually something like this: “Now my opponents don’t see it that way. They want to cut taxes for billionaire jet owners while relegating the middle class to a life of perpetual servitude. They think that it’s fine if people slave away in the coal mines with no mask 20 hours a day making fifteen cents an hour, just so long as billionaire jet owners are left alone. Well, they can stand up for the billionaire jet owner, but I will continue to fight on behalf of the middle class. By the way, did I mention that Republicans are all billionaire jet owners?”
So having described Republicans as Dickensian characters who relish the thought of feasting on the entrails of hard working Americans while flying on their corporate jets – fueled either by oil or by the burned up carcasses of the lower classes – he will then make some pronouncement about how we all have to work together as Americans to develop solutions for tomorrow. Just ignore the fact that the ultimate solution to whatever problem under discussion always seems to involve spending lots and lots and lots of money while expanding an already bloated bureaucracy. You see, it’s all about compromise. Deepak said so.
His adversaries on the right love this strategy because they have succeeded with distortion and demagoguery for a long time.
Again, he is presumably not writing satire. I can’t be sure of this. For all I know Deepak Chopra is the greatest satirist in the history of the world, and everything he has said and written up to this point is a put-on. Hey, I’m trying to be charitable here.
Now, having wasted precious minutes of all our lives talking about how Barack Obama is the only sane adult in the room and rising above the partisan fray, he writes this:
An intolerant faction like the Tea Party cannot be tolerated. They must be stopped with harsh, combative measures. A crazy minority is running rough shod over the executive branch and shows no sign of relenting. Fighting for your principles is more honorable than compromise with immorality and injustice. Reason is a foolish, impotent guide when you are under constant attack. The bad guys should be named in public and opposed with all necessary force. Compromise is a nice word for lack of leadership, and lack of leadership will sink us all.
Charming. Admittedly Chopra is arguing what the position of those opposed to Obama’s tendency to “compromise” should be, and he dismisses this. No, we shouldn’t mock our enemies like this.
While branding the Tea Party as villains may provide some emotional satisfaction to the left, it is not clear it would lead to a better functioning Congress, without which we are well and truly sunk. The villains of the piece are part of our social fabric, and the right course is to try and make no one a villain, I think. Even if its edges are frayed, “we are all in this together,” is the right story.
Ah, such deep and meaningful insight. I can see why the man is world famous. Funny though, because not too long ago he didn’t seem so hestitant about making a leading figure a villainous figure.
Since Wall Street’s recklessness plunged us into a national nightmare from which we are trying to awaken, it’s hurtful to say, as some do, that Sarah is the national nightmare. Not true. She is historically inevitable. First there was Teddy Roosevelt’s Bull Moose Party, now there is Sarah’s Shoot Moose Party. And she’s amazingly cheerful about this recession (of course, her own checkbook has fattened, but she has spread the wealth by buying a free shotgun shell reloader for every voter in Alaska).
I have some personal atonement to perform, because in the 2008 election I posted an article saying that Sarah Palin stood for our collective shadow, the pent-up bigotry, hatred, and anger that was suddenly being vented. She was Joe the Plumber’s calendar girl. She was the secret hero of Alcoholics Anonymous, whose slogan is that you can’t recover until you hit rock bottom. President Palin would show us that we haven’t remotely hit bottom yet.
The mistake was mine, though. Sarah would smile her way into the presidency and then show pointy-head critics the error of their ways. Not that she would ask Americans to turn on one another in vicious divisiveness — been there, done that. With 70% of the public so misguided as to consider her unqualified to be president, she has a bigger job to do than fomenting discord and calling anyone who disagrees with the Tea Party a socialist.
And on and on and on. Hmmm, if I didn’t know any better it sure sounds like Deepak is engaging in a cathartic venting in an effort to provide himself some emotional satisfaction. I must be mistaken, because he just said that we shouldn’t treat those whom we disagree with as villains. Maybe he just had an off day when he wrote that Huffington Post piece, or he forgot a couple of those spiritual laws of success.
Anyway, I look forward to President Obama and Deepak Chopra continuing to lead us in more adult conversations – so long as the people they disagree with never actually get a chance to speak.