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All our political candidates need to be sent back to compassion school. They need to take vows before they run for office that they will have compassion for we the people, for each other, for our global family, for the earth. These candidates need to become more than talk show hosts or master of ceremonies trying to woo us for votes. We condone such terrible behavior on television, candidates attacking each other, doing anything to win. Politicians shouldn’t be allowed to act so hatefully anymore.
I miss the time of the Philosopher Kings, creative thinkers with a conscience who were connected to the mysteries of human life and the universe. People who could get beyond their egos to see there is a greater meaning and purpose to leadership than grandiosity or power.
As a physician, I have devoted my life to helping patients heal hatred, self-loathing, and fear to get beyond their egos to experience the power of their hearts. True wellness can never occur if compassion isn’t a key ingredient to how we lead our lives. In my book “Emotional Freedom,” which proposes an ongoing experiment in compassion, I stress how mental, physical, and spiritual health is contingent on it. Compassion is the ability to put yourself in other people’s shoes, to have empathy for their feelings–even if you don’t like someone, even if you disagree with every word they say. This doesn’t make you a doormat or a pushover. It gives you the clarity of heart to make positive, smart decisions whether you stay in a relationship or not. When you can see where someone else is coming from, not through judgment but a desire to improve communication, we have a chance of transforming the world.
There are many arguments to perpetuate the bad behavior of politicians. These all break my heart. For instance, the argument that “attack ads work.” When this is cited as a good reason why candidates use them, it makes many people want to give up on human nature. Who cares if they “work” or not except for power hunger egomaniacs? Hatred begets hatred. There is no compassion here. There is no respect for the honor of the political process or the human beings engaged in it. Why would we ever want someone to be our leader who is hateful, vindictive, and lusts only for the aphrodisiac of power? Many people tell me, “It’s too late. Our system is broken.” I believe compassion is so powerful it can heal even broken systems.
I propose that every prospective candidate sign these vows of compassion before they are even allowed to run. They must be committed to national and international wellness. If they don’t fulfill these vows they need to be called on it with the same vehemence of any candidate who betrays their campaign promises. Compassion is one key factor that makes a candidate fit to run. It’s really not as complicated as everyone is making it. Compassion is a vow that can change everything, for us as individuals and for the political process.
7 Compassionate Vows for Political Candidates
It’s vital that we keep it simple and not give lofty intellectual excuses for why we and the candidates can’t try to be good, loving people in all our affairs. You can call me naïve, but I believe that to save the human race and this magnificent planet we are on, compassion must be part of our daily prayer. Some days we many achieve it, other days we won’t. But we have to want compassion, to fight for it, to vote for leaders who are committed to it. Leaders must earn our trust with the compassion they show. World leaders can be compassionate and also be strong, intelligent, and make decisions based on the welfare of all our human family.
Adapted from Dr. Judith Orloff’s NY Times bestseller “Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself From Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life” (Three Rivers Press, 2011)