Wisconsin’s greatest governor, Robert M. La Follette, declared:

“We have long rested comfortably in this country upon the assumption that because our form of government was democratic, it was therefore automatically producing democratic results. Now, there is nothing mysteriously potent about the forms and names of democratic institutions that should make them self-operative. Tyranny and oppression are just as possible under democratic forms as under any other. We are slow to realize that democracy is a life; and involves continual struggle. It is only as those of every generation who love democracy resist with all their might the encroachments of its enemies that the ideals of representative government can even be nearly approximated.” (From a John Nichols column in The Nation.)

Fighting Bob’s actually applies more broadly. What it takes for healthy politics is no different, really, from what is required of spiritual practice or any meaningful responsibility. Of course, we need to discern when a “duty” is imposed by illegitimate or unethical authority. This requires taking our own personal stands, best with others of integrity, as well as being willing to seek the integrity of those we seemingly oppose.

In Ajahn Buddhadasa’s words, “Dhamma is Duty, Duty is Dhamma.”

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2 Responses to Wisconsin’s greatest governor, Robert M. La Follette, declared:

  1. Bil says:

    Amen to that Santikaro:)

    I thought this was interesting. Abe Lincoln climbed out a second floor window to escape a quorum vote.


    Santikaro, are those lichens? A symbiotic NOT parasitic relationship as I recall; the rocks just a host but photogenically benefit.

  2. Bil says:

    Lichens yes…I donated my copy of “Twelve Moons” to the permanent traveling collection of a buddhist monk…but found it also in my Newer “New & Selected Poems”…

    Sleeping in the Forest

    I thought the earth remembered me,
    she took me back so tenderly,
    arranging her dark skirts, her pockets
    full of lichens and seeds.
    I slept as never before, a stone on the river bed,
    nothing between me and the white fire of the stars
    but my thoughts, and they floated light as moths
    among the branches of the perfect trees.
    All night I heard the small kingdoms
    breathing around me, the insects,
    and the birds who do their work in the darkness.
    All night I rose and fell, as if in water,
    grappling with a luminous doom. By morning
    I had vanished at least a dozen times
    into something better.

    from Sleeping In The Forest by Mary Oliver
    © Mary Oliver

    be well.

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