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Blog Alan Seale, Oct 14, 2019 | Society, Culture, and Government

At the CNN Democratic Primary Town Hall on October 11th, U.S. presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg was asked a question about human rights and equality. He concluded his thoughtful response with these words:

The greatest thing that any of us has to offer is Love.

In that same Town Hall as well as in a campaign advertisement, candidate Cory Booker passionately stated:

We are a nation of love of all people.
You can’t lead the people
if you don’t love the people.
All of the people.
Love is not a sentiment.
It is not saccharine.
It is not anemic.
Love demands sacrifice and service
and the understanding that
if your rights are denied,
then my rights are compromised.

In an interview after the July Democratic primary debates, Cory Booker said:

People may say that Love
is not a political strategy.
But I really think it is.
It’s the most fearsome, tough, strong emotion
that we can talk about.
Patriotism is about love of country.
You cannot love your country
unless you love
your fellow countrymen and women.

Twice on the Democratic Primary Debate stage, candidate Marianne Williamson has also spoken eloquently about the power of love over fear.

Something extraordinary is happening. Love is breaking through in American politics. Love is being spoken out loud on debate stages, in interviews, and in campaign advertisements. Not sentimental love, not romantic love, not sweet love. No, Love is being spoken out in a much bigger context—as the fundamental source of life, as a power to be reckoned with, as a force for creation. Even if it’s only a crack, something is shifting. In my memory, this has never happened before in a U.S. presidential campaign.

As a contemporary spiritual teacher and speaker, “choosing love over fear” has been Marianne Williamson’s core message since her early days. It’s a familiar topic in the world she comes from. So her followers expected this to be her message in the 2020 campaign.

However, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Senator Cory Booker have spent their careers in the American political and service arenas. They have each made their mark serving communities with big challenges. Buttigieg also served as an intelligence officer in the Navy Reserve in Afghanistan. They both came of age professionally in a world where Love was rarely, if ever, a part of the mainstream conversation, let alone the political conversation.

While not yet at the top of the polls, both Buttigieg and Booker are recognized nationally as serious candidates in the race. They both have an impressive grasp of the issues and speak clearly about what is happening in all levels of society, from small towns and small business to foreign relations and the global economy. They both have a vision for our country. They are each making an impact. People are listening. Yet at the heart of who they are—their core messages, their policy statements, and their visions and dreams for America and the world—is Love. Love.

More than 50 years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was also not afraid to speak openly about Love. He, too, understood Love as a power and a force. Could it be that we are finding our way back to the truth he spoke so long ago? In his words:

One of the great problems of history
is that the concepts of love and power
have usually been contrasted as opposites –
polar opposites –
so that love is identified with
resignation of power,
and power with
denial of love.
What is needed is a realization
that power without love
is reckless and abusive,
and love without power
is sentimental and anemic.

In his poem, “Legacy,” contemporary word artist Brian Andreas calls us into action from this same truth:

I promise you
not a moment will be lost
as long as I have
heart & voice
to speak
& we will walk together again
with a thousand others
& a thousand more
& on and on
until there is no one among us
who does not know
the truth:
there is no future without Love.

Deep in our heart of hearts, many of us know that nothing else matters if there is not Love. And yet we have been afraid to say that word out loud in our national conversation. Until now. Three candidates for President of the United States have broken the taboo. There is now a crack in the façade. There is now at least a small opening in the national conversation for the Light to shine through.

I am not naïve enough to think that love will now be front and center in the 2020 presidential campaign. There remains an abundance of fear in our national psyche—fear from all sides of the political argument that our country will not look the way we personally want it to look, that our communities might change, that things will never be the same again. And yet Love has now been given a voice in the political arena. Something has shifted in the mass consciousness. May it be a first step towards:

…walking together again
with a thousand others
& a thousand more
& on and on
until there is no one among us
who does not know
the truth:
there is no future without Love.

~ ~ ~