I think the problem between the Liberals and Conservatives and what separates them is that we have not fundamentally defined what it means to be patriotic, or more succinctly what compromises our nation. This philosophical divide is no more better illustrated than in the reactions towards the taking a knee by Colin Kaepernick. The right wing see it as an attack on its nation, for them the idea of nation is rooted in tradition and symbolism and in its worship yet, the left sees an an act of extreme devotion to nation, of patriotism, for the idea of nation resides in the humanity living in it and in the drive toward their betterment. I cannot speak to which is true and false, but what I can say is that particular issue will be no doubt inform the greater struggles of our era.
Making impossibilities possibilities is but the very purpose of progress.
Religion is as much a symptom of injustice as a cause of it. Why else would people place faith in an unseen being that will help them? Perhaps because they cannot place faith in their fellow man to help them, to believe in a divine justice rather than one of human origin. Rather ironic that the very thing religion thrives on, is the very thing it seeks to eliminate. Religion is as much a reminder of the failure of a society as it is of its virtues.
I remember doing seva in langar as a kid, while doing it the only time you looked at another persons plate was to see if it was if it was empty and if it was you made sure it was filled but if it was filled you never took it away. While I don’t spend as much time there, nor am I as religious that particular concept always resonated with me. That governing belief I have carried throughout of my life in that the only time you should look at others to see if they have enough, if not, see to it they do.
It seems to many that Sikhs in politics is a brand new development a product of the 21st century, with our recent migration to the west. I frankly disagree with that assessment. We are Sikhs, to the word Sikh means to learn, and only the way to learn is to question, to question those in power and their beliefs is very a political act. Sikhism from its very foundation with Guru Nanak in questioned the logic of the caste system when in his eyes all humans were the same, the idea that women are equal and that money should be earned honestly or not at all, ideas radical then and in many ways still are now. These challenges to power formalized after the execution of the Fifth Guru Arjan, his son Guru Hargobind set aside the seli topi (caps of holy men) asked for a sword i and the kalgi of a king instead. He was given one but it was put on the wrong side, so he asked for another as well. Those two swords would represent Miri and Piri, the need to be powerful in the spiritual world so as to know injustice, and the physical world so as to have the means to actively oppose it. With that Sikhism challenged the might of the Mughal empire and opposed the religious intolerance of it. Time and time again our faith challenged those that sought to oppress whether they were the Afghan kings or the British empire. To say being political is in conflict with our beliefs would ignore that long history of active opposition to injustice and oppression. No, to be political is a consequence of who we are, where we come from and what we believe.
The beautiful among us do not have it wasted upon their faces, to be fed upon by lustful eyes, to be faded by the ravaged of time and age. They impart theirs differently,weaving it within their words and actions to enrich minds and hearts,to which time the great destroyer of feebleness, is compelled to aid its greatness through memory.
Throughout human history there is there was an element of untouchability that we applied to our fellow human beings, the belief that certain people were beneath others the fact their mere touch would be polluting. Such a system existed in India through caste, in japan as Burakumin, and often was culturally socially and religiously enforced. While this system was wrong, that is not to say untouchables do not exist. The true untouchable is not born as such, nor made to be. The true untouchable pollutes not with his body but with his mind his surroundings, he who chooses to divide our beautiful humanity, defiles the ideologies of unity to ones of division. The true untouchable is a product of choice, for he who is the one who chooses to hate.
Marx once spoke that religion is the opium of the masses, in that assessment, I would not disagree with him, A fakir and an addict do not differ much in existence or appearance. Like any addict worth his salt, must have dabbled in various drugs, so to must the fakir in dabble in various beliefs before finding his form of ecstasy.
Yet the greatest temple in existence is not one found on a mountain top or in a jungle, it is far more simple than that, for there is no greater temple than one of the heart and mind. For what resides in it is constantly what is truly worshiped by a man, in feeling for it and reflecting on is what he prostates himself upon. Yet such a thing differs from man to man, for some have created temples of wealth, enslaving themselves to the idea of money, others to a lover devoting themselves to another, and yet others to a cause, binding their beings to a purpose greater themselves.