There is now so much conflict between Republicans and Democrats, between vaunted conservatives and progressives, that talk abounds in the U.S. about a brewing 'new' civil war in the country -- an actual war not a metaphorical one. I see nothing strange about this turn of events; Americans are only doing to each other what we've been doing in other countries: foment as much division as possible in the name of social justice.
Those who'd argue that the American instigations aren't really about social justice, that they're about getting control of a foreign government, are ignoring the psychological outcome of always seeking to exploit differences for any reason.
The outcome is that we now have a generation of Americans who can't think outside the 'divide and save' mindset. That's only natural because repeated actions always create an entrenched way of thinking. The mindset gets hard to overcome when it spreads throughout a society. And so American politicians, many of whom are old enough to know how to think outside the box of divide and save, have gone along with the tide of a younger generation's thinking.
One upshot is the prospect of another civil war in the United States. Another prospect would be actual or de-facto balkanization of the United States, which is exactly what Americans have been trying to do to Syria since our instigations in the name of social justice didn't work to get control of Syria's government.
There is a funny aspect to the situation for those always looking for ironies. The Saudi monarchy, which President Trump and his friend Israeli PM Netanyahu want to keep doing business with, isn't terribly fond of the concept of social justice. And so U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been castigating the Iranian ruling class for not being "normal." We just want them to act like normal members of the international community, he explained.
From social justice to normalcy. I wonder if Mr Pompeo has noticed that Americans are always calling each other crazy. Then again, crazy may be the new normal in the USA.
Is there any way at this stage for large numbers of Americans to wake up enough to avert the worst for themselves -- and halt yet more 'divide and save' tactics in other societies? I'll put it this way. If the two men shown in this photo can work together, just about anything is possible for the human race.
Claimants to title of 17th Karmapa: Thaye Dorje (L) and Ogyen Trinley Dorje
Work together is exactly what the two have agreed to do during a meeting in France this October that stunned Buddhists as well as China's government not to mention India's.
A magazine for Buddhists called Tricycle reported on the first meeting between the two. But there is no way for anyone who is not already very familiar with the background to understand the import of the meeting just from the report. To get Americans in the ballpark, the differences between Trump supporters and the Obama camp are nothing, next to the divide that arose in Vajrayana Buddhism over which of two men is the 'real' Karmapa.
So while it's late in the day for Americans to work to shake off a habitual pattern of thought, late is always better than never.