The Yoga Community Must Shelve Both Idealism and Politeness to Loudly and Publicly Endorse Obama. Right Now. Who’s In?

Via yoga 2.0 lab
on Nov 1, 2012
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by Matthew Remski

Approaching the eve of this critical election, I’ve been bothered by two political stances within the yoga demographic. One is etheric to the point of dissociation: “Whatever change we desire will only come through a change in consciousness.” The other is flaccid and polite to the point of meaninglessness: “Yogis can use the political process to express their values, off the mat.”

Here’s the problem: neither are adequately muscular to the task of preventing a hateful, mendacious plutocrat who evades taxes to tithe to a racist jabberwocky church from seizing the reins of power. My question to the yoga community at large is: why have we not seen a single prominent teacher or yoga organization formally and publicly endorse the Obama-Biden ticket? Do we not want to get our hands too dirty? Are we too busy pretending It’s All Good? Are we even a community at all?

 

The etheric-dissociative posture

The first stance – the etheric-dissociative – was called out recently by Derek Beres in a critique of a Marianne Williamson’s pseudo-political tweet: “No matter who wins the election, we need a collective leap in consciousness in order to take our country and our world in the direction of peace and love.” Williamson isn’t a yoga person per se, but according to my Facebook feed, she ranks high amongst many yogis’ oft-quoted sources of inspiration, along with the catatonic Eckhart Tolle and the insanely prolific Rumi. Beres does a great job in taking down her vague, apolitical, high-ground cop-out, and demanding that she and other prominent voices stop obscuring the real with the ideal, and show a little pragmatic leadership with regard to what we can do with the votes we have.

I’m afraid Beres wasted a little digital ink on his critique, because Williamson is not actually speaking politically at all. She is appropriating the language of a “political moment” to advance her brand of holier-than-thou dissociation that only people blind to their privilege can afford. Simply replace the phrase “wins the election” with any other verbal clause, and my point is clear:

“No matter who guides our foreign policy, we need a collective leap in consciousness…”

“No matter who wins American Idol, we need a collective leap in consciousness…”

“No matter who controls our food supply, we need a collective leap in consciousness…”

“No matter who walks the dog, we need a collective leap in consciousness…”

Williamson has but one Course-in-Miracles-inflected song, and she’ll sing it in the same key before and after November 6th. There is no room for history when you’re high on the power of now. Her job is not to rally political consciousness, but to maintain her constituents’ dissociation through the emotional onslaught of a very dirty campaign in an increasingly desperate political landscape. Her job is distinctly anti-political, and she’s doing it quite well. Douglas Brooks indirectly describes how she rolls in his recent critique of the nivrtti posture in spirituality:

In contemporary yoga such voices of nivrtti often resort to two strategies of criticism meant to proffer the superiority of taking a “higher” and “spiritual” path that contrasts with the conflicting views and uncertainties of a mundane human reality.  The two strategies are covertly (or not) coupled with certain logic of superiority.  It goes like this: any effort to express views that might be contentious, disputed, or cause conflict are deemed (1) the work of the “lower” features of an Ego—n.b., the capital “E” works a certain magic meant to express the authority of the claim that Ego=culprit in the equation that affirms (2) silence in the role of our better angel for “spiritual” accomplishment.  So, it is implied, to become silent and so serene beyond measurable response is set apart as the higher path of a “true” yogin.  The “spiritual” then becomes the apolitical.  But even a little more candor reveals that this apolitical spiritual path—revered as superior is more an effort to keep one’s politics private, to silence the process of a more honest conversation precisely because it could complicate or challenge relationships.  The next bit of legerdemain is to assert that this unifying view of the “true” nature of reality not only transcends any contentions but also manages to render everyone’s individual opinions equally true so that there is no need to have the challenging conversations in the open.  Just go inside and everything will be better.

 

The flaccid-polite posture

Off the Mat, Into the World has set itself up as a 501(c)3 non-profit, which means it cannot engage in political speech. This is an effective structure for fundraising, and for broadcasting the non-denominational brand of yogic self-regulation and empathy-building tools to the broadest audience. But it also creates a kind of hamstrung speech that wastes a lot of time in stating the obvious and avoiding the necessary conflict of the day. This is painfully clear in OTM’s affiliate programme, YogaVotes, which duplicates the efforts of other non-partisan voting-drive initiatives, like the League of Women Voters, which themselves court a predominantly progressive demographic, but can never call a spade a spade. Watching the intelligent and strong representatives of YogaVotes contort themselves around their deep internal desire to bury Romney under a thousand gallons of Kali’s flaming bile makes me squirm. (Please correct me, YV-ers if this is my projection.)

Do we really need, as YogaVotes claims on its homepage, to “awaken a new demographic of mindful voters—sparking higher voter turnout among the 20 million Americans who practice yoga”? Is yoga culture some ninth-grade classroom sleeping through Civics? Not from what I’ve seen. The vast majority of studio owners and practitioners I know are firmly progressive in their politics. And while progressivism does not translate into votes for Obama without a lot of kicking and screaming, it does translate into a strategic voting stance against regressive chaos. So why, I ask, with our sentiments and our privileged economic status and all of us hanging around the studio water cooler after class worried about reversals in health care coverage and women’s rights and environmental hooliganism, is the most visible political arm of yoga culture this toothless display of bendy niceness?

Be Scofield has done a great job of pointing out how there is nothing inherently progressive about mindfulness culture, and that OTM has accomplished its strongest branding success (providing quickie asana-snacks at both Republican and Democrat conventions) precisely by playing on the political neutrality of transcendent practices. He goes further to show that practicing yoga doesn’t necessarily make one progressive, citing the fact that corporate structures from Goldman Sachs to the U.S. military are using yoga to improve imperial efficiency. And of course we know that yoga culture itself is dotted by some very loud-mouthed libertarians like Lululemon owner Chip Wilson, who spouts as much Ayn Rand nonsense as Paul Ryan does, but whose power, thankfully, is limited to no-chafe gusset-design. Oops – and hiring conditions in his Chinese factories.

I don’t have a survey, but anecdotally it feels like Wilson and Republican flunkies who enjoy backbends are a small and self-absorbed minority in contemporary yoga. I’d say about 20%. Scofield may be right that yoga doesn’t make you a good person, but I’m willing to bet that there are far more genuinely good people than narcissist plutocrats practicing yoga. So I think we can stand a lot more than breathless requests to actually vote. That bar is way too low for what we’re capable of. We need our own Yoga Super PAC, so we can throw the fire with the best of them. The times call for a lot more Arjuna; a lot less Patanjali.

 

The Editorials of Yoga Culture are Blog Posts: Endorse Now

There is no broader organizing structure for contemporary yoga culture than the blogosphere. Popular yoga blogs have upwards of 50K regular readers each. While it would be great to hear that prominent teachers (let’s say: everyone on the faculty list for the next Yoga Journal Conference) were all actively endorsing an Anyone-but-Romney position, this would hold less democratic sway than if bloggers endorsed in the same way that the print newspapers do.

Here’s my suggested platform, which I think makes sense for the majority of the yoga demographic:

— Given that Mitt Romney’s discernible platform stands to set socio-economic justice, women’s rights, ecological stewardship, scientific research and foreign relations back by several generations, and

— Given that much more of his platform is actually indiscernible due to his pathological lying and opportunism, and

— Given that he is an ordained operative in an exclusionary religious institution rife with the anti-rationalism, anti-environmentalism, and magical thinking that is anathema to the culture of yogic inquiry:

— Incumbent President Obama remains the better and at least known choice, and should be passionately supported by yoga practitioners.

Simple, no? Anyone disagree? I know: I apologize to third-party advocates. Obama is not a perfect choice, given his mediocre record on human rights, upholding international law, and environmental progress. But the immediate legislative impact of a Romney administration is a far heavier price to pay than the ground we lose in reshaping the electoral landscape. Remember Nader, 2000, Florida. It’s not worth it.

I call on all yoga news outlets, magazines, blogs and bloggers, including those who publish and post to this site, to use your soapboxes in these last days to do what we haven’t been brave enough to do so far, caught as we have been between transcendent and politeness reflexes: weave our politics and practice into a bright braid of passion:

1.    Please reply below if you intend to endorse.

2.    Endorse Obama on your blog or online publication. Two sentences would do it.

3.    Provide the link to your endorsement in a follow-up comment to this post.

Make one post, between now and Monday. One brief but firm endorsement for the obvious choice. One single gesture that will mark the beginning of a shift in yoga culture towards greater courage, participation, and the dirty work of integrity.

 

Matthew Remski is an author, yoga teacher, ayurvedic therapist and educator, co-founder of Yoga Community Toronto, and a new papa. He is a co-contributor to 21st Century Yoga. His new “remix” translation of Patanjali  –threads of yoga– is going to print right now. Mark Singleton, author of Yoga Body:The Origins of Modern Posture Practice, says of the book: “I don’t know of any reading of the yoga sutras as wildly creative, as impassioned and as earnest as this. it engages Patanjali and the reader in an urgent, electrified conversation that weaves philosophy, symbolist poetry, psychoanalysis and cultural history. There’s a kind of delight and freshness in this book that is very rare in writing on yoga, and especially rare in writing on the yoga sutras. This is a Patanjali for postmoderns, less a translation than a startlingly relevant report on our current condition, through the prism of this ancient text.” Please check out Matthew’s site for more writings on Ayurveda and Yoga.

 

 


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About yoga 2.0 lab

Matthew Remski is an Ayurvedic practitioner and Yoga Teacher Trainer in Toronto. His latest book, Threads of Yoga, is gathering international acclaim. He's teaching this online course starting 1/7/14. It's currently full, but there is a reduced-tuition option for auditing. The 12 weekly lessons will be available online for six months following the course. Participants receive a 130-page manual of notes.

Comments

179 Responses to “The Yoga Community Must Shelve Both Idealism and Politeness to Loudly and Publicly Endorse Obama. Right Now. Who’s In?”

  1. matthew says:

    What's bullying? Writing an endorsement piece and defending it?

    I voted by absentee to Wisconsin, straight Democrat ticket. Arguing third-party high ground from a blue state is simplistic. Would I rather vote Green than against the Scott Walkers of the world? Yes. Would I rather vote Stein instead of Obama? Yes. But I care about people's health care before 2016, among a host of other immediate and palpable humanitarian concerns.

  2. Truth says:

    Yes, yes, yes. So can a yogi look past that and still vote Obama?

  3. matthew says:

    "Matthew Remski is now the most dangerous man in yoga."

    Wow. That was so easy. Truth — can I use that as a promo tag-line?

    I'm not going to argue Romney/Obama merits with you. But I will say: religious tolerance does not imply an absence of critique. I can't abide Romney's Yahweh telling him to trash the environment any more than I can abide Ryan's Virgin Mary telling him that he knows what's best for my partner's uterus.

  4. Truth says:

    You are stuck in fear mode. Romney admin will be same as Obama on foreign policy. Obama has been foreign disaster because of his economic policy of print print print.

  5. Truth says:

    Yes vote 3rd party. If you live in swing state, do what you think is best. Yogis should give informed endorsements. I'd have more respect if you listed Obama's facts I just posted, then say I'm still going to vote for him because I think Romney will be worse. That I could respect. I just can't stand this bullshit that Obama is a saint. If it was true, this election wouldn't be close. It's close because the real Obama, compared to the 2008 Obama, is pretty shocking to independents.

  6. matthew says:

    What post are you reading, Truth? I didn't canonize Obama. In fact I didn't glorify his record at all, and briefly alluded to his failings. I spend most of the post discussing the yoga community's strained, if not dysfunctional, relationship to political speech.

  7. Timmy_Robins says:

    Who wins this election affects not only America but the entire world. The world cant afford 4 or 8 years of Republican rule.

  8. matthew says:

    Yogis also get passionate about healthcare, pay equity, renewable energy, gardening on the White House lawn, and women's right to choose.

    Yogi: consider this. Beyond the questions of what a president can and cannot do within 4 years or even 8 given the weight of history, the gears of the global machine and orders of magnitude beyond comprehension, what is the pranic effect of a "more honest, centered, intellectual" presence, broadcast throughout the world in HD? This alone should endorse the man. I'll save my symbolism for poetry.

  9. Auki says:

    YES TO OBAMA! NO TO ROMNEY! NO TO THROWING AWAY MY VOTE ON A NO-WIN THIRD PARTY CANDIDATE!

    The obnoxious commenter above that calls himself (or herself) "Truth" is insane to argue for a pathological liar like Romney. It is entirely obvious to anyone with more than half a wit that Romney is incapable of representing facts or truth.

  10. Truth says:

    Yes, you can have it. I think it's true. The old breed developed their own brands, you're creating a new dogma. Yoga 2.0, re-framing the sutras, now trying to deliver yoga to the democratic party. Yoga needs it's own super-pac, how about a constitutional admendment getting money out of politics? You've psycho-analyzed people in public and now are lambasting spiritual leaders like williamson outside your enclave.

    I'm pretty sure Romney and his Mormonism have given more to charity than all of the yoga community. Is there any teeth to the critique, or you just repost what the Obama truth team tells you.

    Real teachers help their students learn. You're trying to tell me what to believe. That's why you are dangerous and that's why it hit a nerve.

  11. Truth says:

    The idea of throwing your vote away on 3rd party is the essence of why we keep making the same mistakes. Ever think about if your living in a real democracy if there are only two parties? What happens when there are no swing-states left.

  12. Truth says:

    More honest is laughable. You must get your news solely from the huffington post. Have you never heard of Glenn Greenwald? Obama's lies are so slick you accept them as truth. He sold you. 2008 was an advertising campaign. Make excuses for all the broken promises.

    Centered and intellectual. Damn, we don't need an intellectual as the most powerful man in the world. We need a bumbling idiot to create a real opposition. Obama gets away with too much because the progressives have been silenced. There is no opposition left in america. Tea party has been coopted and Occupy fissiled.

    People like you, the educated liberals don't fucking do anything when a dem is in office. Then all we're left with is the heartland totally mindfucked by fox news. I want Romney as prez and all you fuckers in the streets actually doing something. Protest, form picket lines, civil disobediance, strikes. That's how you build community.

    That's why the corps keep getting away with murder. That's why income disparity is highest it's been since depression. You think raising taxes will change things. It's a rigged game. You got rich off a rigged game, who cares if your taxed more.

  13. Auki says:

    I don't think we are living in a real democracy. The USA is a Plutocracy: rule by the ultra-rich. As usual we have a moral and civic responsibility to discern the lesser of the two evils and cast our vote accordingly.

  14. Truth says:

    I'm not convinced. You make some gestures to progressives and 3rd party, but this idea that Romney would be regressive is just partisan bullshit. He was progressive gov. He panders to regressives same way Obama pandered to progressives. Either way, they both pretty much do the same as prez.

    Oh, and your precious supreme court appointee argument. Bush's John Roberts voted for obamacare. The enlightened endorsement would be vote 3rd party or Obama in swing state.

  15. matthew says:

    I'm not telling anyone what to believe, and I never have. I'm opining on how we might act most intelligently in a complex and trying situation.

  16. matthew says:

    You might be right on your last point. But "Either way, they both pretty much do the same as prez"? Are you viewing parallel universes in which they are dual presidents of 2 Americas? Is that in Vibhuti Pada?

  17. Truth says:

    How is going negative on Romney suppose to be an intelligent Obama endorsement? Vote for Obama, or this guy may get in office. That's not an argument, that's a threat.

    "Here’s my suggested platform, which I think makes sense for the majority of the yoga demographic:" We are campaigning now?

    It's really brave of you to stand up and endorse obama while asking people to link to your blog post. Lets take advantage of this unique political opportunity for a little self-promotion. People can't blame me for endorsing Obama when Romney is so bad.

  18. Truth says:

    No, but here's a little secret on yoga powers: They were give to students as a practice to deal with attachment issues.

  19. Timmy_Robins says:

    Or just to become indifferent fools.

  20. Timmy_Robins says:

    And then there is the undeniable fact that republicans love mixing politics and religion . That might be business as usual in Arab countries but in the west it shouldnt be tolerated.

  21. Timmy_Robins says:

    We already had a bumbling idiot and nothing happened. Remember Seattle 99'? nothing happened then either. Huge protests , totally useless.

  22. paul says:

    He is a likely shoe in according to polls and gamblers, not me.

    I did not vote Stein as protest. Obama doesn't have my values, and Stein does. Who is going to push peace, not Obama, not Romney, but maybe Stein. If Obama has your values in enough quantity, then vote for him on those merits. But according to you, yoga bloggers should have a platform that endorses Obama for being the not-Romeny you know, while Romney is a pathological bad man who will send the country in a tailspin. In other words, be scared of Romney, and remembering this fear, vote this fear, vote Obama.

  23. paul says:

    You did not write an endorsement piece but an anti-Romney piece. You wrote to tell yoga bloggers to endorse Obama because that's the yoga thing to do, because Romney is bad.

    In several places of the commentaries you use "yoga terms" to try and further your arguemnt, while at the same time rejecting much of the "yoga world" because it doesn't fit your own understandings- it's yogier than thou bullying, where if it's not the Remski take, it's not yoga, and a those who aren't are a bad person to boot. To you I become a spoiler and magical thinker, practically leading girls to the alley, hanger in hand.

    Patanjali says that even mildly endorsing another's harmful act, whatever the reason, is an act supporting ignorance, but this doesn't fit your narrative of what yoga ought to be, so you'd throw it out, and instead have everyone vote by svadharma, the one you've decided everyone has, one that not to sharing is keeping "yoga culture" in the dark ages.

  24. paul says:

    I wouldn't presume to think for the "yogi" but I see only gestures from Obama when it comes to ahimsa, satya, etc, so to me, I don't think so.

  25. matthew says:

    Now you're just making stuff up. Given? By whom? Source, please.

  26. matthew says:

    The post doesn't say: "If you don't vote for Obama, Matthew will make sure Romney wins." That would be a threat.

    It's not a threat but a fact: one of these two men will definitely be in office on Wednesday. I'm saying one would be better than the other. That's how endorsing works.

    The link is a standard part of any writer's bio. If you had your own blog, you'd get your own link, featuring your own name, hometown, professional reputation, etc, publicly known.

  27. matthew says:

    Interesting? This takes the cake. A man-child stuck in prepubescent missionary mode, defending the indefensible, shaky, easily stung, self-split in a thousand ways. As Richard Dawkins says: listen to how he says as much as what he says.

  28. Speaking of Dawkins; here he is on Romney and Mormonism:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KN4M8PvpmW4&fe

  29. Ah the ripe stench of cynicism! "Both the GOP and the DEMS are beholden to the corporate/military/industrial complex and there's no real difference between the two." How ironic that a statement can be both so blandly true and so blindly false! READ THE FUCKING PLATFORMS! And now, with the evidence of the response to Sandy compared to Katrina? This is directly correlated to Bush's gutting of FEMA and Obama reinstating its funding. Just one example of a distinction that is making a huge difference to those impacted by the storm.

    If you read the GOP platform, you'll see how they call Obama out for ignoring the "Defense of Marriage Act." You can bet ole Mormon Moron Romney will see to it that the Act is fully enacted. AND he's vowed to take away the measly aid of Obama's health care 'reform' and to work for the repeal of Roe Vs. Wade and with three supremes in their 70s that's a real possibility if Romney is elected.

    So, get real and hold your nose and vote for the lesser of two evils. If you voted for Obama the first time around expecting more from him, then you only have yourself to blame for drinking the "Audacity" kool-aid! Now, with bitter pragmatic sense, vote for him and then HOLD HIS FEET TO THE FIRE! Continue to work actively for what you really want to see in US politics. But ignoring the election or taking the 'idealistic' route if you live in a swing state is only going to make you feel more self-righteously good about yourself while the elderly, the poor, the immigrants, the uninsured, the gay and the raped are the ones who will pay for your feel-good vibes!

  30. Slippery slope, slippery slope. I think if individual teachers want to be politically and socially active on their personal time then more power to them. Likewise, I choose to do both on my personal time. But to call out teachers who want to keep long standing boundaries in place and request that they use their position in ways which benefit a particular party or politician, which YogaVotes CLEARLY does, is just lame. Politics, like religion, is a deeply personal matter. A matter which is best left with each person, yogi, yoga teacher to choose.

  31. I am not throwing away my vote on a third party. I am CONSCIOUSLY choosing to not endorse the miserable candidates from the two party system. The only way it will change is if and when MORE people start to voice support for third party options. You are playing right into the limitations purposely built into the system by continually voting against a person or voting for someone you don't like because the other option is more evil.

    The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results… I voted third party last election and have been quite satisfied that my vote did not go to support expanded war, increased Patriot Act provisions, and curbing of civil rights. If you are happy supporting those things then more power to you. I got tired of throwing away something so valuable on people so unworthy of my vote.

  32. Or refuse to settle and be aparty to continued dysfunction which will only change when enough people choose not to settle.

  33. Truth says:

    I'm a little concerned you equate the support of evil as moral duty. You are doing your duty as a slave. Forgive me for trying to give you the tools of breaking free of your brain chains. Stop being a slave and supporting the system by doing what everyone has done for the last 50 years, voting for the lesser of two evils, the idea that resulted in the Plutocracy we have today.

  34. Truth says:

    YYYYYYYYYYYYYYEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!! WHAT THEY SAID!!!!

  35. Truth says:

    Bush appointed Roberts to supreme, voted for Obamacare. You are a partisan. You give the same lines as Obama truth team. Yoga is suppose to be about seeing things from multiple view points. Vidya. Do you not see Obama as he really is? Don't just go negative on Romney and tell me that's a reason to vote Obama. Don't promote an anti Romney platform as being representative of the yoga community.

  36. matthew says:

    It sounds like splitting yourself and professionalizing your practice has given you some relief. For me, yoga is not a job with a public aspect distinct from my "personal time".

    Let me ask you this: we're so far speaking of boundaries with regard to candidate endorsements. Would it be equally unappealing to you for practitioners in mentorship positions to take public and activist stances on issues in the hopes of influencing their constituents? As in Jivamukti and veganism? As in Aadil Palkivala and shielding Indian agriculture from Monsanto?

    How thick do you want this boundary to be? Should a studio owner not have an aggressive ecological policy?

    Or how about Krishnamacharya being a supporter of the RSS in his day?

  37. matthew says:

    I'll repeat myself one more time. Obama is flawed, Romney is worse. I refuse to make perfection the enemy of the good. Yoga is absolutely about multiple views. And multiple methods for various times. Tuesday, it's pragmatism time. "Yoga is skill in action" — BG — we are both interpreting Krishna here according to our own lights.

  38. Before I answer that, you live in Canada. Are you an American citizen or naturalized citizen and still registered to vote here?

  39. […] The Yoga Community Must Shelve Both Idealism and Politeness to Loudly and Publicly Endorse Obama. Ri…. […]

  40. Malcolm says:

    First, let me say that in a Democracy we need to respect the right of everyone to vote their conscience, no matter how despicable we personally find it.

    If people continue to choose the "lesser of two evils", they are still choosing evil. Therefore, if you are going to vote for a candidate, make sure you do it with complete confidence. If you are going to vote for Obama, does so because you think it is right, not "a lesser of two evils".

    Now, Obama has for been a "good" American president in that he has taken to his duties and responsibilities vigorously and has not shirked them. However, we should to understand is that Obama, and the position of any ruler, is worldly. Their job running a state and defending it against its [perceived or otherwise] enemies. This being the case, any ruler is forced to make decisions which will seem, on the face of it, unethical and anti-democratic.

    We would all hope that our rulers were of the caliber of Pasenadi, rather than Ajatasatru. Or at the very least, repentant like Ashoka. However, America is not a country imbued in Dharma culture.

    But since we here are followers of Dharma systems, should our political values be based on the platorms of the GOP and the Democrats?I think not.

    We need to recognize that a well-organized Evangelical Right has driven both Parties, the GOP and the Democrats, very far to the right of where they both were in the 1950's, despite the strident anti-communism of the day.

    So, the question a yogi or yogini ought to ask themselves is, from my perspective, "Which political affiliation is the most consistent with Dharma?"

    I feel there is only one reasonable choice for those who hold Dharma Values: The Green Party.

    US Greens: http://www.gp.org
    Canada: http://www.greenparty.ca

    If you hold Dharma as the bedrock of your ethical system, then it is pretty clear that only rational choice consistent with this is voting for Green candidates whenever possible.

    Voting for the Democrat and the Repulican canditates is a voting for this or that vision for American power in the world.

    Voting for and supporting Green candidates is a vote for the whole world, one in which corporate greed is fettered; in which GMO's are severly restricted, in which fossil fuels become obsolete, in which the Northern Hemisphere ceases to exploit the South, in which world security is acheived through equitable sharing of the abundance of world resources and so on.

    So, if you like the status quo, vote for Obama, or Romney, etc. But if you want to see a culture predicated on Dharma values, then vote for Greens.

  41. I'm in brother! Sending Shyam Dodge my 2 cents on the subject and will put it up on elephant as well.

  42. heatmort says:

    From one Canadian to another, I'm really proud you wrote this. I've been talking about this to many friends in Canada and they are not seeing or rather understanding just how important it is for Americans to vote…!! Even as a non-American we can still do our part.

    I may not agree with why Mitt should not be in….re: one really big reason is his view on gays. But what many folks may not consider is that Obama did a lot from where he started from.

    There have been, however, several teachers in the US posting their views and even linking to actors (Redford) wrote a piece in the Huff. But sadly as far as I can see often telling people to vote comes across as pushy and bossy.

    Still, I don't think the yoga community should be immune to it. And interestingly enough are the ones who can create change!

  43. Mark Ledbetter says:

    Matthew, compared to the war machine and the gulag, the potential govt contribution to healthcare, pay equity, renewable engergy, gardening on the White House lawn, and women's right to choose are trivial. And they're only a small fraction of trivial when you remember the prez cannot decide those things all by himself or get more than a fraction of what he wants, whether he is Obama or Romney. On the other hand, the prez actually CAN make a big and immediate difference on war and gulag, though neither is interested.

    A vote for Obama or Romney is a vote for war and the gulag. No way around it.

    I realize that Yogis in general are much more passionate about things that are part of their world like women's rights, and somewhat passionate about things too obvious to be missed like war. But the gulag is so much bigger than everything on your list all added together. If you or people you know were threatened with jail for a combination of lifestyle and race, you might not be so blase about an Obama vote.

    The pranic effect of putting a nice face on war and gulag could be the opposite of what you think. And symbolism for peace and freedom might do much more for the future if its extended beyond poetry.

  44. Rachel says:

    SO grateful that someone has finally said this out loud. Thank you, Matthew. Thank you. I endorsed: http://rawrach.blogspot.com/2012/11/raw-adjective… . And will continue to do so. Keep the fire!

  45. Scott Smith Miller says:

    Now Matthew (parental tone intended)
    don't be such an opportunist. Paul's "shoe-in" comment does not tell us "where he's coming from." He has made it completely clear that he would vote for Stein regardless of the numbers. You are obviously losing the debate here and reaching for ways to discredit Paul's opinion. Equating his arguments with what's in "The Secret" shows desperation on your part. So I'm actually starting to see where you're coming from here. "Fear mongering" is apt.

  46. Scott Smith Miller says:

    This was really great commenting on your part, Paul. I agree with everything you've written. If I'm not giving you too much credit, I think I can tell you that and still count on you being absolutely cool with the information that I will be voting for Obama. Well, maybe not "absolutely." Maybe just cool. That's because you're not a bully. Your understanding of these issues bespeak of an extremely wise person. I think I can also count on that compliment not going to your head.

  47. Scott Smith Miller says:

    Damn Mark,
    I was trying to forget those truths. Seriously. Now I'm back to fretting about my intension to vote for Obama. I've been telling people for the last couple years everything you wrote there. Damn.

  48. Finally gave the Elephant the $12 I owe it in order to log in and say:

    I ENDORSE.

    More pointy remarks reserved for the YogaBrains post coming out Sunday.

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