“ When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time they seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it always.” — Gandhi
Looking back, it’s clear that we did figure out, quite early—even before the inauguration—what we needed to do to blunt the Boy Bully in his tracks. And, by grace, it turned out to be quite easy, natural, and oh so human, though it wasn’t quick. It was called, of course, the Gandalf Nuremberg Strategy.
Even before the inauguration, as the Boy Bully began naming his cabinet, the fear rose—fear for the dismantling of decades of progress in education , in environmental protections, in gender rights, minority rights, worker’s rights. It felt as if a pack of pit bulls had been turned loose on the school grounds. In those first months after the election, it seemed a very frightening picture to us all, or at least to a majority of us.
Only now, here in relative peace and quiet after the Boy Bully’s impeachment, with dozens of state and federal indictments filed against him and against his millionaire cohorts for their fox-in-the-hen-house approach to governing, with his personal passport confiscated, and being confined to his tower, only now can we recognize that the Gandalf Nuremberg Strategy —employed by The Boy Bully Vanquishers Secret Society—was successful beyond our wildest imagination. Order and sanity, beauty and truth, simple dignity and a hearty hey-ho have been restored to the land. Not to mention the rule of law which insists no man or woman is above the law. Once again, Lady Justice, standing proud with the flame of liberty still held high, we bow to your deep-rooted feet.
The Gandalf Nuremberg strategy— so obvious, so simple, so natural, and yet so radical that the Boy Bully could do nothing about it but huff and puff out his cheeks and tweet and threaten to deport us all—began to be employed even before the inauguration. The as-of-yet nameless strategy was so obvious and natural that it spontaneously and simultaneously sprouted up in literally thousands of places employed by 10’s of thousands of people all across the country. Once recognized, the strategy was quickly, and mostly quietly adopted with ever more practical artistry.
Although the strategy itself was natural, the name for the strategy, a name which quickly went viral, came about one evening shortly after the election when a number of us monk and nun artists at Heart Mountain Monastery were complaining to each other and bemoaning our fate and wondering what in the hell we could do.
As artist monks and nuns you might assume that we could hold ourselves above the political fray– that the election did not have the same effect on us as it did on the majority of the voters. Nothing could be further from the truth. As monks and nuns, and more especially as artists working to create beauty and wider consciousness in ourselves and our surroundings—a challenge we find more interesting and engaging than simply trying to create more money and fame and social personal power— we were, dare I say, perhaps even more devastated by the outcome of that bizarre race than many ordinary citizens. Yes, the race itself and its outcome did reaffirm our basic insight that here in the 21st century lasting leadership and inspiration and practical direction for fulfilling our purpose in life does not, generally, or even often, come from the political arena. Thus our quiet half-withdrawal from the political fray and our dedication to a different path. And yet, even though our faith is not in the political process, simply being here on the planet our attention is drawn time and time again into that old-millennium, rotting strew. So what to do?
On that late evening of complaint in the main lodge at the Monastery, when we were wondering what we could do about the political catastrophe, the Abbot reminded us of the words of Gandalf, the White Wizard in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. For some reason, the Abbot had Gandalf’s words memorized. Lifting his beer, the Abbot quoted: “Some believe it is only great power that can hold evil in check. But that is not what I have found. I have found that it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folks that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love.”
“Yea right, good luck with that,” Bruce Billingsly said. He voiced what a lot of us were thinking. Sometimes the Abbot gets a little starry–eyed.
“The folks I’m particularly thinking of,” the Abbot went on, “ are the 22 million people who work for the local, state and federal governments.”
“Government workers are not known for their small acts of kindness,” Lucille DeSantos chimed in. Everybody laughed.
“No,” Connie Estes said, “but they haven’t been tested this way either. My mother worked for the Department of Motor Vehicles. But she’s a good lady. Remember, a majority of people were denied their choice for president.”
“And it goes deeper than small acts of kindness,” the Abbot said, “though such acts, as Gandalf pointed out, are in fact the backbone of what we can do. But the principles for what we can do—we should do, we must do—were also laid out at Nuremberg.”
We all went quiet and looked at him.
“At Nuremberg,” he said, “It was determined—as an international principle, based on human dignity– that unjust and inhumane orders from above need not be followed. Should not be followed. At Nuremberg it was established as international law, that it is not only an individual’s right, but also a duty to refuse unjust and inhumane orders. Even if the top ranks have been temporarily taken over by the madness of crowds, the ordinary people who actually do the work can be trusted. They can resist, they can delay, they can refuse to follow orders.”
“Oh, wouldn’t that be nice.” Connie said again.
And as it turns out, that’s exactly what happened. Over the course of months, and then years, government workers, and people contracted with the government, on their own and in small groups, simply refused to be quick about fulfilling the Boy Bully’s agenda. Instead, they followed Gandalf, and the principles laid out at Nuremberg.
By refusing to obey unjust, inhumane orders, and simply being kind to the people who needed kindness, official letters were lost, communications were garbled, programming for new projects was delayed time and time again. File names were switched. People in need actually received the aid that the Boy Bully’s people were trying to withhold. More and more computer errors allowed for more and more services to continue. In a reversal of tides, mistakes happened in favor of the people, not of the system.
Illegals somehow became legals, as they did with Schindler’s list. Paradoxically, the borders became more open than ever before. And eventually, local, state and federal judges came on board, such that the Boy Bully’s policies and wishes were simply made mute.
Some workers were very brave and openly defied the new administration. They were quickly fired, of course, and others put in their place. But by their acts they inspired courage and direction for many who were not yet so brave.
Other workers were resistant to the Boy Bully’s policies, but were not so open. Still, their actions counted. It was a guerrilla campaign waged by secretaries and office managers, by area division heads.
The “secret password” by which we all recognized each other as members of the Boy Bully Vanquisher Society was the common phrase, “the majority rules.” Simply slipping that phrase into our ordinary daily communications alerted others of our true intents and feelings. The majority, after all, even within the government work force, were not supporters of the Boy Bully.
“These 22 million people who work for the local, state and federal governments are our brothers and sisters,” the Abbot had said. “They can recognize what is right and what is wrong. They are not blind. They are not robots. We can have faith in them.” And he was right.
In the end, the American people came together as they never had before. The people recognized that it had been the small, 1% who had somehow taken over the government, and had fooled the people into believing they were working for the good of all. It became apparent quite quickly after the Boy Bully took over that his loyalties were with the militaristic billionaire class.
But the American people were—are—good people, and showed that they did care passionately about our common land, about our shared water and our air, and most importantly about the welfare of our fellow citizens, fellow human beings.
In the end, the Boy Bully himself was the cause of his own destruction—as always happens. But the Gandalf-Nuremburg response of the people —engaging small, every day acts of kindness, of bravely extending deadlines, of forgiving penalties, of letting people follow their dreams and take care of their families and express their highest good— this could not be stopped. It was not stopped.
As Gandhi wrote, “ When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time they seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it always.” Gandhi, too, proved prescient.
So 2020 will be a much quieter election season, thank God. We have learned our lesson. We are once again ready to think for ourselves, act for ourselves. The principles were laid out at Nuremberg, and by Gandalf: So simple, so powerful. At the time, at the start of the Big Bully’s reign, we didn’t realize how powerful such simplicity could be. We needed to remind each other.