The November election of Tulsi Gabbard as the first Hindu U.S. Representative got my feeling a little Utopian. I over-react. Often. But I couldn’t help thinking about a country in which our leaders were guided by true dharma. The exhausting wars of words I saw play out (and took part in, sadly) during the Election season, and the embarrassing stalemate which almost lead our economy into financial collapse, or “over the fiscal cliff” as it was infamously put, had me in the mood for a change.
The utopian part comes in that, person to person, even dharma can be a very different matter. We think it is universal, and there are things written to guide as as to what dharma is, but when it comes down to it, anyone can say “I did that because I was guided by my own dharma.” So, you can say, rightly “you’re dreaming, pal.”
So how does one ever expect to achieve such a dharma-guided society? The answer is simple, but it’s complicated, see? I thought that the definition of the portmanteau word in the title of this post would be a government run by people who lived dharma. I have already shown how this does not work.
Then I decided that the problem with our version of democracy was that it was run by representatives, who are people (well…). And people have egos. Even in a true democracy where decisions were made by the public for real (unlike our flawed, highly-lobbied system), this would lead to chaos, because no matter how much dharma the public says it is running on, you’d have more egos involved than in a representative system. Nothing would ever get done.
I fiddled with the idea of a dharmonarchy, if you follow me. A monarchy informed by dharma. But, again, how do you ever really know?
So, my bleeding utopian heart was forced to face a grim reality. We can trust that our leaders are guided by some semblance of dharma all we want. But in the end, what has to happen is this: We, the people, have to be informed. We have to use viveka, discrimination, in forming the political opinions which turn the gears of this country. We are the people who run the place, after all. If we truly use discrimination, we will cease to be so closed-minded in our thoughts. We will cease to be a country mostly of people who vote by party lines. We need to be guided less by emotion, and more by reason.
I no longer feel the two party system works. I know, I am late to the (third) party.
In this election season and it’s fallout, I have seen more well-reasoned arguments by Libertarians that I had a hard time disagreeing with, but my emotion got involved and the whole thing fell apart. I spoke too soon many times. I am still a Liberal. But if there is anything I have learned in the past few months, it is that holding fast to your tried and true beliefs is not always the best way. Because there again, “tried and true” is a matter of opinion, just like the dharma I wrote of above. And holding fast to these beliefs is not participation. A true dharmocracy, in my view, would be more participatory and less standoffish than what I have seen (and participated in) of late.