Wednesday, November 7, 2018

American Diwali

Today is Diwali. All over India and in Indian families worldwide, people are celebrating this Festival of Light by decorating their homes with candles, enjoying family feasts, worshipping the goddess Lakshmi and more. It is one of India’s most beloved holiday, symbolizing the spiritual victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance.

Today the results are in from mid-term elections. I purposefully avoided the news yesterday and last night, knowing I couldn’t bear to watch if the worst happened. But there was no fooling my own mind. I dreamt all last night of headlines like “Dems Take Back the House!” and “Beto wins in Texas!” only to wake up after each short dream disappointed that it was only a dream. Conversely, I dreamt of other less happy headlines and woke up relieved that it was only a dream and there was still hope. After writing this post, I will take several deep breaths and open to the actual news. Need I say that I hope it will represent a “victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance?” How auspicious would that be to receive such news on Diwali?

One story links this festival with the day that Rama, Sita, Lakshmana and Hanuman’s army of good defeated the demon king Ravana’s army of evil. Ravana had abducted Rama’s wife Sita and the story of the Ramayana, one of the most beloved stories in India, Thailand, Indonesia and beyond, is how Sita was freed, order was restored and good prevailed over evil.

Like all myths, the themes are universal. Trump and his cronies have indeed kidnapped the workings of a just and effective democracy and the land has fallen into darkness. Every day he tells lies from big to small and some citizens are outraged and others ignore or excuse them. Ignorance gets the same vote as knowledge and evil—from the recent synagogue hate crime to the Charlottesville KKK/ neo-Nazi invasion to the proposal to arm teachers with guns to appointing drunk misogynists to the Supreme Court—is afoot in the land. The army of Republican supporters in Congress serve their master without shame even as they don’t like him, hoping to protect their privilege of power.

So yesterday the armies of good-hearted souls hopefully gathered at the polls to turn us back towards decency, intelligence, justice and good fellow-feeling. How I wish that I could be confident that we did so! How I tremble to open the news knowing that I could be mightily disappointed yet again! Some part of me believes that if not this time, then the next, That people are continuing to wake-up and it’s only a matter of time before the numbers finally tumble in the favor of the light. Even as I know that with issues like climate change, we don’t have that much time to wait. You the reader, probably already knows how this turned out. I’ll join you soon.

Meanwhile, which way America? May Diwali’s victory prevail!

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