Tuesday, March 5, 2013

An Open Letter From Laozi to CPAC

Trey Smith

To the members of CPAC,

I recently have noted that it has become a badge of honor amongst conservative politicians never to compromise. No matter the circumstances and regardless of the issues at hand, you take a stand and then refuse to budge even a smidge. You view this rigid inflexibility as a strength without realizing that, in a strong storm, the tree that refuses to bend eventually breaks.

In my writings, I have written about taking the middle road, the path that avoids the extreme edges on either side. The reason for this avoidance is commonsense. People who live their lives on the edge frequently fall off! With no buffer between them and the ditch along the side of the road, one misstep and they find themselves face down in the mud.

As with all things in life, politics is about compromise. You start with two or more extreme perspectives and then try to meet in the middle. Neither side gets everything they want, but all sides get some of what they want. This process allows the common people to spend their days knotting rope. When their leaders are not demanding too much tribute, the people go about their routine lives in a state of contentment and peace will rule the land.

Do you see where I am going with this? Your intransigence leads to unrest and causes the people to distrust everyone around them. This distrust is the engine for the fracturing of the sense of community and the people fighting amongst themselves. They do things that are injurious to their own bodies and minds. A seething anger begins to build and no one can be sure how it will manifest itself.

While it is true that we each want what we want, the sages of old learned that the tempering of egoic desire was the best mechanism for leading a productive life. When we temper our own desires, it unclouds our vision and allows us to see the needs of others. As we each originate from the same source, we are each a manifestation of the One. Consequently, as an extension of each other, if we want to find contentment in our own individual lives, we will seek to provide that same opportunity to everyone else.

In the common vernacular, the "secret" to life is to walk the middle path. You will be unable to keep to the center line IF you steadfastly refuse to budge from the edge.


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