I am not making this up. In response to allegations of sexual misconduct against children by a Republican candidate, one of the candidate’s supporters wrote, “I would rather support a pedophile than a democrat any day.” Conversely, earlier this year, a former Democratic senator stated that “Republicans are Nazis.” Over the last 30 years, there has also been an ongoing departure from one of the country’s founding principles regarding the separation of church and state to the point that many religious views have now entered mainstream party politics. On the other side of the fence, however, there has been a vocal minority who have worked to eradicate all religious and spiritual principles from schools, public meetings, government offices, and so forth. Republicans label Democrats as the party who wants to give everything away, putting the burden on those who actually work. Democrats say that Republicans are inherently selfish and concerned only with themselves. We have collectively created “a house divided against itself.” Where can we possibly go from here?
One of the first written statements advising against the discussion of politics (or religion) appeared in print in 1840: “Never discuss religion or politics with those who hold opinions opposite to yours; they are subjects that heat in handling, until they burn your fingers.” It was one of twelve pieces of advice given to an individual sharing passage on a steamer. (The Letter-Bag of the Great Western: or, Life in a Steamer, Thomas Chandler Haliburton, pg. 184).
Although politics have always been divisive, the passage of time seems to heal our collective memory of how contentious they have been. As one example, dozens of surveys from every imaginable political ideology and scholastic background generally select the same three individuals (although not always in the same order) as the best presidents who have ever served the United States: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. And yet both Lincoln and Roosevelt were politically battered, insulted, and even hated while they were in office; whereas Washington became president before the creation of political parties. What is it about politics that separates us? Is there something innate that we might learn from both of our major political parties? Is there anything about politics that could actually bring us together? Surprisingly, the Edgar Cayce information offers insights about the potentials and pitfalls of politics and how they ultimately might be used to transform the world.
For several decades, the Edgar Cayce readings provided advice on both an individual and a national level regarding politics. Although generally providing advice as to how individuals could best use their political talents (or why they should avoid using them altogether), on at least one occasion the readings went so far as to recommend a specific individual for president.
Before Franklin Roosevelt had conclusively decided to take the unprecedented step of seeking a third presidential term, a question was asked in the spring of 1940, about the most “desirable” person to become the next U.S. President. Cayce’s response was that the most desirable was Republican Charles Hughes, then Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The reading added:
...but as this is out of the mind of Hughes … we find that there are few – or no other one – with the WHOLE purpose that is in Burton Wheeler.
-- Edgar Cayce reading 1151-25
Wheeler was the Democratic Senator from Montana who had appeared on the cover of Time magazine that year with the caption: “The Democratic Party Has a Great Future.” To the question, “Can Burton Wheeler be elected if the right plan is evolved for him?” Cayce responded:
He can. For, he is the ONLY one that may prevent more than the regular party candidates being in the field.
Later, it was asked if Roosevelt sought the Democratic nomination would it be “possible and advisable for Burton Wheeler to secure the Republican nomination?” Cayce replied: “Would be most advisable … it is possible.” Apparently, Wheeler had the potential of becoming President under either a Democratic or Republican nomination if he desired to seek the office. In the end, Wheeler apparently did not want to either undermine a Roosevelt reelection, as he thought aspects of the New Deal extremely important, nor did he want to be considered as a Roosevelt running mate when Roosevelt seemed intent on pulling the country into global war – a war Wheeler opposed at the time. Eventually, this opposition would label Wheeler “a pacifist” – a label which Cayce said was untrue. (reading 3435-1) What was true about Wheeler was that he apparently stood for principles above both power or political party.
It was this same commitment to principles that caused the readings to acknowledge President Woodrow Wilson as being so committed to global armistice after World War I that the Christ spirit had literally sat with Wilson during the Geneva conference as a means of helping to bring peace into the earth. (reading 364-8)
In 1943, when Colonel Edmund William Starling decided to retire after 30 years with the Secret Service and his role in guarding five consecutive presidents (Wilson, Harding, Coolidge, Hoover, and Roosevelt) advice was sought from Edgar Cayce in terms of a book about Starling’s life that was to be written regarding Starling’s experiences with five administrations. Cayce warned against letting the book become political: “DO NOT present ANY political factions.” Instead, it was suggested that the focus be on principle and how each President had directed “the affairs of a nation … to the glory of God.” Starling was also told to neither come across as praising or belittling any of those who had served in the office but to instead focus on “PRINCIPLE first! And it will be, then, not merely a Best Seller but – for many years – the ideal of many an American.” (reading 3182-1)
The book was published by Simon & Schuster in 1946, as Starling of the White House, after both Starling and Cayce had passed away. It would go on to become both a People’s Book Club and a Book of the Month Club selection and sell more than 200,000 copies.
The readings also suggested that there was an ideal attitudinal approach for anyone interested in pursuing a political future. When an 18-year-old student sought counsel as to his life’s purpose, he was told that he could excel in anything pertaining to national or international affairs, politics, and the government; the reading added:
Not merely as an idealist … but rather be right for a cause … prompted from a desire to be a channel through which blessings might come to the fellow man.
Forget not this: “As ye do it unto the least of thy fellow men, ye do it unto thy Maker,” and ye must give an answer in thy activities for that thou hast given or dost give in thy dealings with thy fellow men. For, “As ye sow, so shall ye reap.” This is not merely an axiom but a LAW that must be accomplished in the experience of each and every soul!
-- Edgar Cayce reading 2162-1
Another individual who possessed abilities in the social, economic, political, and business realms was told that he was a natural leader and would never intentionally do wrong to another:
… it is well that these ideals be kept … Use not others to thine own interest, as the detrimental effect in thy life. Rather serve others, that the influence of the service in the LIFE of others will reflect that conception of the purposes, and of the forces, that are the Creative Energies in the material world.
-- Edgar Cayce reading 2056-1
Similarly, a middle-aged man changing careers in the direction of writing and politics was advised that one’s service toward others was the ultimate goal of politics:
Then let the life be guided, directed in the spirit of truth to make self as one to contribute to the welfare of others.
-- Edgar Cayce reading 5348-1
Conversely, a number of people were advised against entering a life of politics. One individual was told that because he had many talents and abilities he could excel in “WHATEVER field” of endeavor but due to the fact that he was very hardheaded and possessed a domineering personality, he was to beware of politics. (reading 279-4) On another occasion, while seeking guidance on the upbringing of their infant child, parents were told that their son had definite talents in both medicine and education. However, because of prior experiences in the child’s soul history, there was apparently a predilection to fall sway to issues that had long been a part of European courts (intrigue, deception, etc.), and they were advised: “Beware of politics for this entity; though there will be opportunities for same through the experience of the entity in the earth.” (reading 2824-1)
The divisiveness of party politics too often seems to excel in an “us versus them” mentality rather than finding an ultimate goal that creates the most good for the greatest number of people. Members of both political parties who claim they are a “lifelong Democrat” or a “lifelong Republican” might be surprised to find that the goals for both parties have changed tremendously over time. The Republican Party originally grew out of an opposition to the expansion of slavery in 1854. It was originally the anti-slavery party and later added the premises of being pro-business and pro-factory worker. Early advocates of the party included businessmen, farmers, African Americans, and northern Protestants, who eventually gave the party its first link connecting politics with religion. Since the election of Reagan in 1980, the party has focused on the ideas of reducing government spending and regulation and lowering taxes. The Democratic Party can trace its roots to the “Democratic-Republican Party” of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Originally, the party platform was based on the premises of a limited national government being socially conservative and economically liberal. However, since Roosevelt’s New Deal of the 1930s, the party has focused upon the important role government should play in protecting and promoting the social and economic well-being and equality of all of its citizens.
In 1932, while giving a reading on the topic of “Present World Conditions” Edgar Cayce suggested that the question had political, economical, and religious aspects, and that each individual had a responsibility toward all others as well as a responsibility to God:
The world, AS a world - that makes for the disruption, for the discontent - has lost its ideal. Man may not have the same IDEA. Man – ALL men – may have the same IDEAL!
As the Spirit of God once moved to bring peace and harmony out of chaos, so must the Spirit move over the earth and magnify itself in the hearts, minds and souls of men to bring peace, harmony and understanding, that they may dwell together in a way that will bring that peace, that harmony, that can only come with all having the one Ideal; not the one idea, but “Thou shalt love the Lord Thy God with all thine heart, thy neighbor AS thyself!” This the whole law, this the whole answer to the world, to each and every soul. That is the answer to the world conditions as they exist today ...
Man’s answer to everything has been POWER – Power of money, Power of position, Power of wealth, Power of this, that or the other. This has NEVER been GOD’S way, will never be God’s way. Rather little by little, line upon line, here a little, there a little, each thinking rather of the other fellow … an understanding that thou must answer for thine own brother, for thine own neighbor! and who is thine neighbor? He that lives next door, or he that lives on the other side of the world? He, rather, that is in NEED of understanding! He who has faltered; he who has fallen even by the way. HE is thine neighbor, and thou must answer for him!
-- Edgar Cayce reading 3976-8
One of the founding principles of the United States was “Freedom of Religion.” Unfortunately, there is a perception among some that what the country actually needs is “freedom from religion.” On the other hand, there is the belief among many that conservative Christianity should become essentially the state-sponsored religion. Neither of these premises is contained in the Edgar Cayce material. The readings are extremely ecumenical and do not advocate imposing one religious thought over another. In fact, when responding to a question of religious orthodoxy Cayce replied:
…what is the difference? … it will ever be found that Truth – whether in this or that schism or ism or cult – is of the One source. Are there not trees of oak, of ash, of pine? There are the needs of these for meeting this or that experience … Then, all will fill their place. Find not fault with ANY, but rather show forth as to just how good a pine, or ash, or oak, or VINE, thou art!
-- Edgar Cayce reading 254-87
Ultimately, the readings would advise that it is not important whether individuals call themselves Republicans or Democrats. They would also suggest that the Republican position of recognizing faith in God was every bit as important as the Democratic position of understanding our ultimate responsibility toward one another. Collectively, all political parties need to become cognizant of our heritage as spiritual beings having a physical experience and creating positive change and greater good in the lives of others. The readings would also encourage both parties to learn to cooperate with one another.
For Edgar Cayce, the best use politics should be about focusing upon ideals and principles and becoming a channel of assistance to others. In the language of the readings:
For, know - while political affiliation is a service, as well as those things that come through political affiliation … he that is greatest among you will be the servant, will do the service to all - there is also carried with same a greater responsibility.
-- Edgar Cayce reading 2573-1