“We’ve passed the first round here, but we’ve got more tests coming down the pike, and I think the contemplative community has a huge role to play in this”
Dena Merriam, a founding member of the Contemplative Alliance, talks to Lion’s Roar editor-in-chief Melvin McLeod about Roy Moore’s loss in Alabama, and what it means for contemplative practitioners country-wide.
Dena Merriam: This seemed to be almost like a trial of the country. Are we such a country that we’re going to elect such a man, simply because he’s going to vote for tax cuts? Are we going to do that as a country? If he had won, that would’ve been a very sad state. We would’ve voted for a man with all of these shameful qualities just because he belonged to a particular party. And the American people said, “No. Character does matter.” Character and the qualities of a man do matter.
I think what we see with resignations going on, and even with the call now to investigate sexual misdeeds of Trump, is that character does matter. I think we’re going to see that come up in the 2018 and 2020 elections. That’s a sign that perhaps spiritual qualities are going to be more important than belief in doctrine or holding to a particular worldview.
Melvin McLeod: And what would you define as those spiritual beliefs that the American people may be bringing to the fore now?
Dena Merriam: The belief that all people have to be respected, that women and men should be treated equally, that all races have to be respected, and that we have to treat people with compassion. And we’ll see how this plays out now with the tax thing, which is going to create a lot of suffering among the disadvantaged communities, and even among the middle class. Are we going to tolerate that as a country? Are we going to allow the small handful of people who will benefit to do so at the expense of the majority of people? That’s going to be a big test for us now. We’ve passed the first round here, but we’ve got more tests coming down the pike.
And I think the contemplative community has a huge role to play in this, because if we don’t speak out, if we don’t take a lead, then who’s going to do it? If we can speak from a place of integrity, and a place of compassion, and not a polarizing one… It’s not Democrats against Republicans. It’s who’s got the moral ground, who’s got the moral fiber, to really speak truth to power. That’s what’s at stake now.