Wednesday, October 31, 2012

How Religious Liberalism does: (1)

What does a Religious Liberal do, or not do?

A Religious liberal doesn't demonize...

When a big storm comes along and governmental officials tell people evacuate a neighborhood or a community, some people won't go.  Maybe they had a good reason, maybe not.  Maybe they had no other choice, or no way to get anywhere else, or nowhere to go.  Or no cash to get there.  Maybe they screwed up.  Maybe they were screwed up at the time when they should have been thinking straight.

They may end up needing help, or rescue, or assistance, any of which cost money, and may place others in danger.

Public officials will need to point the objective and necessary actions over and over again.  The media will need to reinforce this message.

But a religious liberal doesn't demonize people who need help, even if they are not blameless.  They don't call them "jerks" or "stupid" or "ignorant" or "show-offs" or any of the other things that are thrown around by political figures or media people who consider themselves "tough talkers".

There is no need ever to demonize and disparage people who need help.

When people do things that seem irrational, or selfish, or dangerous, respect demands that you try to find out why, with some sympathy.  People are worthy of respect.

Religious liberals don't demonize; we humanize.  It's how we do.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Imaginative Leap -- Sermon October 14th

Oh My Gosh!  Last week was Columbus Day weekend, and I didn’t say anything about Columbus Day.  

By the time you get through the traditional Christian holidays-- Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Palm Sunday, Easter and Pentecost -- and you add in the National Holidays -- Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, Martin Luther King;s Birthday, Abraham Lincoln and/or George Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Flag Day, 4th of July and Labor Day, and then throw in Mother and Father’s Day -- you got a lot of the church year blocked out for you.  And don’t forget some of the newer days of observation that folks promote:  National Coming Out Day, Day of Transgender Remembrance, the Association Sunday, and don’t forget Pledge Sunday.  There are people emotionally attached to every one of these.

But do not fear, I will get to Columbus day today, which actually fell on October 12th -- Friday.  It is also the National Day of Solidarity with Indigenous Peoples.   A counter holiday.  You have perhaps seen that little poster that says “Let’s Celebrate Columbus Day by going into someone else’s house and saying that we live there now.”   I imagine that among some of the First Nation people (to use the Canadian phrase) it is also a day of solidarity against Illegal Immigration.

I am not going to talk about the absolutely disastrous result of the European conquest of the Americas has had on the peoples and nations that were there, here.  I am confident that like most educated Americans you know about it. By every contemporary standard of international law, it would illegal today.  It was genocidal in effect, and was intended to be so.  The effects of it carry onto today.  There is nobody now who defends it.  It is both indefensible and irreversible.  And, of course, since there doesn’t seem to be anything we can do about it, it is all that much easier to condemn it.

But today, I want to look at Christopher Columbus and the other explorers.  

While what they did was a disaster in the Americas, what they did was remarkable in Europe.  And for this overview, I am relying on Edwin H. Friedman, a rabbi and a student of systems thinking, especially as it applies beyond families to organizations, congregations, and even nations and civilization.

15th Century Europe (the 1400’s) was monolithically Catholic, recovering from the plague, and stuck.  It was the age of cathedrals -- the productive and innovative powers of the continent were directed toward building cathedrals. The cathedrals were magnificent architectural representations of the unchanging cosmic order of the Universe -- they were symbols of the medieval ways of thoughts.  There were scientific disputes over the shape of the cosmos, but the old systems of thinking were still in place and dominant.  

16th Century Europe  (the 1500‘s) saw the Reformation and the Renaissance, Michelangelo and Da Vinci and Copernicus and Galileo and Michael Servetus, one of those we claim among the first Unitarians. It was a time of new art and architecture, new science, new religion, new everything. The old medieval world view was swept away.  It is interesting that in the 16th century, no new Cathedrals were begun.

Europe had been imaginatively stuck and could not even absorb and use the new information it was receiving, and suddenly it wasn’t.

Friedman asks us to consider the explorers, including Columbus, as a precipitating factor, in what we would now call a European paradigm shift.  The explorers were leaders who took the risks to step outside the conventional thinking of their civilization and proved in practice that the old ways of understanding the world were just wrong.  

How does a civilization, a country, a congregation, a family get imaginatively stuck?  Friedman argues that it is not a lack of information, nor a lack of ideas, nor a lack of effort.  A system looks stuck because it is caught up in the same questions, in circular reasoning, inside the box thinking, unresolvable contradictions.  But the problem is not cognitive, its not in the thinking. 

A stuck system is, first of all, stuck emotionally.  It’s emotionally gridlocked.  The people and institutions that make up the system have developed a stasis, a balance, which appears as a set of unchangeable and unquestioned assumptions that cannot be changed.  And they are emotionally committed to some element of that stasis which makes it impossible to see outside of it.  An emotionally gridlocked system is one which is highly anxious, where everyone is very afraid that something terrible is about to happen

Families get like that; congregations get like that -- especially around all the important issues: worship, money, music, children -- 

Nations get like that: We are like that.  One sign of a stuck emotional system in the United States is that our politics gets so polarized.  Our assumptions of the system limit the number of options to a few unacceptable choices.  Just for example, and something to think about: the country is stuck on this question of should we tax some people more or should we cut benefits and spending. Either/Or?  Meanwhile every candidate for every office from almost every party ends every speech saying that the United States is the Greatest Nation on Earth.  That’s the unspoken, unquestioned assumption.  And it turns out that means for most people that the United States has the world’s most powerful and expensive military in the world.  So our parties argue over funding PBS but do not discuss the level of military might we need. 

Again, this is not a problem of thinking: everyone knows that the Pentagon spends a huge amount of money.  It’s that there is an emotional system at work here.  What we spend at the Pentagon is primarily an emotional issue.  It’s all tied up with pride and patriotism, with what we owe our service people and veterans and those who died in war; it’s tied up with our fears of being attacked, our pride at doing good in the world.  It’s tied up with the same emotions that have us believe that every service person is a hero and that every time we engage in conflict, they are fighting for our freedoms.  And it’s tied with all sorts of lesser emotions -- jobs and economic security.  And our resentments and feelings toward other Americans: their wealth or lack of it and on and on.  

And all those emotional factors are part of a much larger emotional system that is our politics and culture.  Which is emotionally gridlocked, which now takes the form of a paralyzed polarization or a polarized paralysis.  

Now, Friedman argues that it takes leaders to unstick a system. And here is the most important point:  A leader is not someone who has the best idea, or the most political skills, or is the most popular or is the most eloquent -- a leader is someone who has achieved emotional independence from the emotional system that is in gridlock.  That emotional independence shows up often as risk taking, but isn’t the risk taking, it is the lack of anxiety that makes for the leader to emerge.

So Europe feels stuck in the 15th century, and one of the reason that is stuck is that it feels that it cannot get to the Far East, which is wants to do.  All kinds of reasons for this sense of encirclement: the repulsion of the Crusades, the Moors in North Africa and South Europe.  Part of this has to be religious -- they are the homeland of the one true faith, Christianity and they are surrounded by heathens and infidels.  Blah-blah-blah says Christopher Columbus and the Explorers --let’s go the other way.  Never work.  They said -- let’s just go take a look. 

Now, I believe that it one of the callings of Liberal Religion is to create condition for each of us to become leaders -- by becoming emotionally detaching from the anxieties that are gridlocking the emotional systems in our families, in our organizations and in our country and culture.  That’s what I call “self-possession” and it is an essential part of liberal religion.  It’s thinking for yourself and it’s not being enslaved to the fears and anxieties are in the air and the water.  And by becoming detached, we become able to make an imaginative leap into new ways of thinking and being and being together.  

To bring this back around to Columbus Day.  This is why I am drawn to declaring myself a celebrant of the National Day of Solidarity with Indigenous Peoples rather than an observer of Columbus Day.  

You see there are a whole series of emotional claims on me that are leading me to identify with Christopher Columbus when he first sets foot on the Western Hemisphere and encounters the people living there.  Really, they just come down to the fact that he is the white guy in the picture.  He was not representing any country that I come from -- he does not even represent Italy because the Italy we know did not even exist then.  He does not represent any religion that I claim -- even his understanding of Catholicism is so different than current Catholicism.  He represents the feudal aristocracy, not even emerging capitalism in Europe.  He is not me and I am not him, except in this one ay -- he represent whites vs the non-whites.  Our identification with him is part of an emotional system of racism, that I think we ought to be leading people away from.  

Really there are just as many similarities between me and indigenous people who met Christopher Columbus as there the other way.  

They were born on this continent, as was I; as were most of you. They loved this land as their own, as do you and I.  They thought the people who walked the land here were more important than the gold that lay beneath the soil, as do I, and I hope you too.  They sought to meet the stranger with kindness and hospitality, as I hope I do and as I have seen you do.  Their home was here, as is mine, as is yours.

It is not petty, nor superficial, nor silly, nor politically correct to choose to observe this day in solidarity with the people of the First Nations.  It is declaring an independence from a whole emotional system of vanities that starts with the delusion that Europeans were bringing Christianity to the natives and goes through the errand into the wilderness and Manifest Destiny to the idea that America is God’s elected nation on Earth and ends with the concern that we, as a people, might be losing faith with the idea of American Exceptionalism.  Oh, to see ourselves as others see us. 

Yes, one must give credit to Christopher Columbus and the other explorers for making an imaginative leap that broke open the sclerotic 15th century and brought new life and creativity to Europe.  But we know that yesterday’s imaginative leap is tomorrows’ orthodoxy which must be overthrown.  500 years is long enough.

So, let us think again, and think anew, and think for ourselves and leap, leap, leap into the unknown future.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Reawakenings (Sermon October 7, 2012)

Psalm 100
1Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.
2Worship the Lord with gladness; come into his presence with singing.
3Know that the Lord is God. It is he that made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
4Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, bless his name.
5For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.

Modern Reading:

Pure Beauty, benediction: you are all I gathered
From a life that was bitter and confused,
In which I learned about evil, my own and not my own.
Wonder kept seizing me, and I recall only wonder,
Risings of the sun over endless green, a universe
Of grasses, and flowers opening to the first light,
Blue outlines of the mountains and a hosanna shout.
I asked, how many times, is this the truth of the earth?
How can laments and curses be turned into hymns?
What makes you need to pretend, when you know better?
But the lips praised on their own, on their own the feet ran;
The heart beat strongly; and the tongue proclaimed its adoration.

           Czeslaw Milosz, New and Collected Poems, 1931-2001, Ecco Press

How do you be a Unitarian Universalist?  

How do you BE a religious liberal?  

Not just GO to a UU church, or BELONG to some other religiously liberal institution, or DO some particular spiritual practice, but BE a religious liberal, and particularly BE a Unitarian Universalism.  Not just support some causes?  How do you live a life that embodies a generous, open-minded, self-possessed, committed spirit.  How do you have that influence on the people around you?  How do provide a liberal religious presence? 

Just to be clear, I think that religious liberalism is one of the great American religions these days -- right up there with evangelical Christianity, and Liturgical Orthodoxy, and Ethnic Solidarity. (Someday, I will explain that to you, but not today.)  Unitarian Universalism is one particular way of being a religious liberal.  Other religious liberals are liberal Christians, many Jews, many Catholics, many Buddhists and adherents of other world religions, and many who consider themselves to be unaffiliated -- the great ranks of the Spiritual but Not Religious.  

I believe that religious liberalism is a spirituality that equips people to live in this world, as it is, with the people who are here with us, with grace and with joy and in right relationship to others.  I believe that you will be happier and healthier and more at ease if you take this simple path to heart.  I believe that the world will be more just and compassionate if more people were religious liberals.

But what is this path?  How do you get on it?  

Last week, I said, to your great amusement, that you pay me to tell ridiculous and impractical things that you already believe, but need to be reminded of....things like that Life has great meaning and purpose and that is worthwhile to do the right thing, even there seems to be no advantage in it.  

You also pay me to make suggestions to you about how to live your life that are out of left field and from outside the box.  After all, I am not your financial advisor, looking at your retirement plan, and I am not your lawyer, looking at your will, and I am not the guy who is inspecting that state of your house wiring, and I am not your doctor, looking at your blood work.  I am your minister.

Folks, here is my message for today:  you need more REVERENCE in your life.    

No, not more REVERENDS, more REVERENCE.  

Reverence is a religious word, and like all religious words, it can confuse as much as clarify.  So let’s break this down.  Some poetry might help.

Milosz again, from today’s reading: He is looking back on his own life and the spiritual journey that he has taken.  He is a Roman Catholic, yet very materialist in his way.  He, like many of the Eastern European poets of the 20th century is a philosophical poet, not a lyricist.  He is not a transcendentalist -- he doesn’t see nature as being the evidence of God -- he does not hold nature as sacred -- in fact, he is the opposite -- to him Nature is the endless cycle of birth and death and predation-- he wonders what lies beyond nature -- what is eternal and merciful to us.

But yet, he feels wonder.

Wonder kept seizing me, and I recall only wonder,
Risings of the sun over endless green, a universe
Of grasses, and flowers opening to the first light,
Blue outlines of the mountains and a hosanna shout.
   (Four lines of wonder and appreciation of the beauties of the earth)
I asked, how many times, is this the truth of the earth?
How can laments and curses be turned into hymns?
What makes you need to pretend, when you know better?
   (Three lines that ask if this beauty is all there is.)
But the lips praised on their own, on their own the feet ran;
The heart beat strongly; and the tongue proclaimed its adoration

He celebrates the beauty of the Earth -- the endless green, the grasses, the flower, the blue outlines of Mountains -- but he wonders if this is really the truth of the earth, which is as often so marked with laments and curses than by hymns.  But yet, still, almost against his will, he moved to praise and adoration, to reverence. 

There are many people who cannot see the hand of God behind the world and all its things, but still they are moved to reverence, a reverence born of wonder and expressed in hymns of praise and adoration.  Today we are singing those hymns of praise and adoration.  (The hymns of the day were "Morning So Fair to See", "For the Beauty of the Earth" and "Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee."

What is it that we revere, when we are moved with wonder and delight.  

In a sense, it is not the object itself that calls forth reverence.  It is not the grass, the hills, the trees themselves.  It is something hidden within them.  

I read this poem in 1999 at my pre-candidate sermon in Littleton before I was called here .

At the Shore
Mary Oliver

This morning
wind that light-limbed dancer was all 
over the sky while
ocean slapped up against
the shore's black-beaked rocks
row after row of waves
humped and fringed and exactly
different from each other and
above them one white gull
whirled slant and fast then
dipped its wings turned
in a soft and descending decision its
leafy feet touched
pale water just beyond
breakage of waves it settled
shook itself opened
its spoony beak cranked
like a pump. Listen!
Here is the white and silky trumpet of nothing. 
Here is the beautiful Nothing, body of happy,
meaningless fire, wildfire, shaking the heart.

            West Wind, Beacon Press, 1999

After several lines of Mary Oliver doing what Mary Oliver does so well and so often -- carefully observing and describing some element of nature -- in this case, a sea gull, settling on the water just beyond the breaking waves, she ends: 

Here is the white and silky trumpet of nothing. 
Here is the beautiful Nothing, body of happy,
meaningless fire, wildfire, shaking the heart.

Yes, this is reverence, but it is not the worship of birds.  It a reverence for NO THING, but the body of happy, meaningless fire, wildfire, shaking the heart.  It is the raw and powerful life force that animates the bird -- that shakes the bird’s heart, that shakes her heart.  Spirit of Life, Come unto me, one might sing.

So putting these two poems together, what do we know of reverence, this way of being in the world, that I am saying is at the core of the way of life that is religious liberalism.  A religious liberal holds life, that mysterious energy of life, with reverence.  

Reverence comes from wonder, Milosz says.  It does not come from a philosophy or a theology or even a theory about the nature of reality.  Yes, the world is full of endless green grass -- yes, they have to be green because of the chlorophyll in them, and it is a function of way light travels over long distances and how our eyes process that light that makes the distant hills look blue -- it’s all explainable, it’s all just science, but yet, almost against our will, there is wonder, and hymns of praise, and eyes wet with tears.  

It’s not grass, nor the hills, nor the waves, nor the bird, adds Mary Oliver, -- what is wonderful, what shakes the heart is nothing, NO THING, but this energy, this wildfire, this powerful energy of is-ness that is in everything, even the rocks and hills and grass.  As Long as hills and mountains last, you could sing.  

We live in a world dominated by a pragmatic materialism.  

We live in a world where men look upon verdant hills and sunny valleys laid out like a quilt and ask themselves how many McMansions can be built here and what can we get for them?  

I am not trying to go all Wendell Berry on you, but I am trying to say that we shield ourselves from wonder, and fail to see the wildfire of energy, of is-ness shaking the heart of everything, and everybody around us.  We are pragmatic -- we ask what good is this?  what is useful here? and we are materialist.  it’s just rocks and hills and dirt and some plants and some little animals skulking around in the dirt, like vermin.  Pray to God that none are endangered species, because that will complicate our plans. 

And that’s how it is so easy to treat each other as is so often done. 

Let reverence happen with you.  Treat the world with the respect and joyful appreciation as a child’s picture brought home from school and hung on the refrigerator door. 

I said last week that love puts its foot in the closing door in our minds behind which we are letting others slip into our indifference.  The three most important words of Love are “wait a second.”   So, too, reverence.  Wait a second, look again.

Another poem about reverence, this one by Mark Doty, who channels his dog: 

Golden Retrievals.

Fetch? Balls and sticks capture my attention
seconds at a time. Catch? I don’t think so.
Bunny, tumbling leaf, a squirrel who’s—oh
joy—actually scared. Sniff the wind, then

I’m off again: muck, pond, ditch, residue
of any thrillingly dead thing. And you?
Either you’re sunk in the past, half our walk,
thinking of what you never can bring back,

or else you’re off in some fog concerning
—tomorrow, is that what you call it? My work:
to unsnare time’s warp (and woof!), retrieving,
my haze-headed friend, you. This shining bark,

a Zen master’s bronzy gong, calls you here,
entirely, now: bow-wow, bow-wow, bow-wow.
      Mark Doty, “Golden Retrievals” from Sweet Machine: Poems.

Perhaps, the two most important words of reverence are “bow-wow”

OK, when should we start this up:  Today, this afternoon, Monday?

My final words on reverence -- from William Stafford:

You Reading This, Be Ready
William Stafford
Starting here, what do you want to remember?
How sunlight creeps along a shining floor?
What scent of old wood hovers, what softened
sound from outside fills the air?
Will you ever bring a better gift for the world
than the breathing respect that you carry
wherever you go right now? Are you waiting
for time to show you some better thoughts?
When you turn around, starting here, lift this
new glimpse that you found; carry into evening
all that you want from this day. This interval you spent
reading or hearing this, keep it for life -
What can anyone give you greater than now,
starting here, right in this room, when you turn around
       (The Way It Is: New and Selected Poems, p. 45, 1996, Graywolf Press.)

Nothing more to say.  Are you waiting for time to show you some better thoughts? 

and "What anyone give you greater than now, starting here, right in this room, when you turn around."  

I have nothing more to say.

Thoughts on Freedom of the Pulpit Day

I have been talking about the conservative's Freedom of the Pulpit Day on Facebook.  Here are some of those posts. 

I may be the only religious liberal who supports Freedom of the Pulpit Day. The IRS regulation that prevents churches from direct involvement in the democratic process of the country is a violation of the rights of every person. Since when does receiving a tax preference preclude a person or institution from expressing their political views? 

Corporations can tell people how to vote and contribute to campaigns, but churches cannot? What are the tax breaks we are threatened with losing? Most churches do not make a profit. The real thing we would lose is our exemption from real estate taxes, which finance the communities that support us, and which we say we serve. 

Everybody has a price at which they will give up their freedom. Is the church's that low?

Colleagues discuss some of the tax implications of the IRS rulings and ways that 

Another way to do it is for the government to declare churches tax-exempt and NOT require them to be silent on political questions.

 If Corporations who make their money providing goods and services to the government can contribute and lobby and endorse candidates through their PACS, or even now directly; why should churches not be permitted? And those corporations get lots of tax benefits, preferences, deductions and credits. 

To be consistent, I believe that anyone who gets a mortgage interest deduction should be banned from putting a lawn sign in front of the house that is site of such largesse. [reductio ad absurdum]

More on Pulpit Freedom Day: the theory that churches need to be restrained from overt political speech is, in my opinion, based on class prejudice, probably rooted in anti-Catholic prejudice. It assumes an gullible ignorance on the part of some portion of the population who will be swayed by the authority of the preacher. The attitude shows up now in the efforts of the GOP to avoid early voting on Sundays, because the African American churches will "herd" their ignorant voters to the polls. The belief that evangelical protestants vote GOP because their preacher tells them to is insulting. Churches are usually culturally and politically cohesive; it doesn't mean that they are mindless.

A colleague says that the IRS has its business and [he] has his.

I reply: 

 Here is my problem: The IRS regulation on the political speech of non-profits establishes the norm that we are to be non-partisan and above that fray. However, in a polarized political environment, more and more of life's issues are viewed as partisan issues. To talk of climate change is seen as a partisan signal. To talk of marriage equality is seen as a partisan signal. To talk of compassion for the poor is seen as a partisan signal. 

The pushback starts long before I would make an endorsement. In fact, every time I preach on any social issue, I am reminded that the church is supposed to be non-partisan and politically neutral and that I am approaching some line over which I must not go. People who disagree with me use it as a substitute for substance. I laugh most of this off, of course. 

But the IRS regulation establishes the atmosphere that works constantly to herd churches away from real engagement. Yes, the IRS has its business and I have my mine. 

The problem is that in this area, the IRS business is regulating political speech.

A Polarized Politics: A Good Thing -- Get Used to It.

It’s a very polarized country.  Get over it.  In many ways, it is a sign of our growing political maturity.

Two very large political movements are contesting for political power right now.  I don't have to explain who they are.

It used to be that two political coalitions, in the forms of political parties, confronted each other.  Each party was a coalition of disparate elements; each contained both liberal and conservative wings.  There was some overlap.  In places in the country where the parties overlapped on policy, it was possible for a citizen “to vote the man, not the party.”    And it was possible for Congress to be governed by a bi-partisan majority.  In the old days, an independent was a moderate and a moderate was an independent.  The news media tried to occupy a middle moderate space.  There was this space above politics where the wise and educated looked down on the noisy propaganda of political factions, and determined what the best policy would be.  All of the powerful opinion-leading institutions, the church, the media, the columnists, business leaders aspired to be in this space above politics.

That political environment is gone. It was killed by quantity and quality of grassroot political information made possible by new media.  Everyone now can both spread and receive political information.  Freed from the constraints of non-partisan neutrality, information, argument, rumors, facts, pictures, memes, cartoon, essay, rants and diatribes now flow freely.  It is happening at every technological level: from the conservative oldsters sending around their chain emails to the radical hipsters tweeting away.  

The two political parties have morphed into grass roots movements that are far more self-conscious and self-aware than ever before.  Partisan political media, whether its Fox News or MSNBC, or blogs, or online magazines, now function as mass educators.  Fox News gives Archie Bunker all the arguments, facts and anecdotes that he can take to the dinner table.  However, the Meathead is equally well-equipped with information from Daily Kos and MSNBC. Partisan media is political education for the grass roots of a broader movement. 

If you look at this situation from above, from the lofty heights of the elite, you worry about these “epistemic bubbles” -- two separate intellectual universes.  Very few people read both sides of the story or channel surf between Rush Limbaugh and Rachel Maddow.   

But viewed from the bottom up, more people than ever in history are politically engaged, and informed.  I remember the situation when I was in high school.  The only sources of political information were the local newspaper (The Youngstown Vindicator), the three national networks which had 30 minutes of news every night, 5 minutes of news on the hour on the radio, ripped and read by the DJ and magazines, most of which tried desperately to avoid being caught on one or another side of a burning issue.  

It may have been the Golden Age of American television journalism for the elite, but the grass roots were not getting much information, analysis and argument.

The constant ferment of information and argument have transformed the two parties into two ideological movements.  It has forced an ideological coherence on the parties.  Witness the GOP primaries this year: policy diversity was discouraged because the GOP base had pretty much made up its collective mind on their party’s policy positions.  

The same is true among Democrats.

The Red Team and the Blue Team have become coalitions of people and communities united around policy, philosophy and narrative.  They have a common understanding of their own interests, policies and allies they need to advance those interests.

As a nation, we are getting serious about politics, moving beyond the happy thought that "we all the same things, but only differ about how to get them". 

In reality, people want different things and will ally with others who want what they want.  This is a good development.

It’s a new stage, and it is only going to get more interesting.