An onion is peculiar in that it has many layers. It also causes you to cry when you peel off the layers. So we could say that the state of the onion is complex, as well as tearful!

Our country is kind of like an onion. Fifty states all wrapped around a flag that gets more tattered every day. There are those that say we should live by state's rights and forget about the federal government. That sounds okay, but then all the liberals would move away from Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana, and into Massachusetts, Oregon, and Vermont! It would probably balance out however because all the conservatives from Massachusetts, Oregon, and Vermont would then move to Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana!

Guns of course would be outlawed in Massachusetts, Oregon, and Vermont, while all restrictions would be removed from any type of firearm in Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana including howitzers, bazookas, and nuclear weapons! If you didn't join a militia, you would be asked to leave the state (maybe for Massachusetts!)

Bibles would be given away free to everyone in Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana, and Christianity would be the core curriculum of all elementary, middle and high schools, and colleges including creationism and a 6,000 year old earth! Happy Birthday! While Bibles would be burned in Massachusetts, Oregon, and Vermont.

All income taxes would be ended in Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Actually, ALL taxes would be ended, including sales taxes. The budget would be balanced by cutting out all services. As a matter of fact, the state governments themselves would begin to annoy people by wanting more of their hard earned money, and soon state governments would be abolished as well. Militias, clans, and cartels are more in tune with local ideologies. People could really be independent. It would be like heaven!

The tax rates in Massachusetts, Oregon, and Vermont would be tripled, and all social programs funded to the hilt. If you didn't feel like working, you could live off the government very well. It would be like heaven!

I'm afraid that when we take our desires to the extreme, it's never as good as we expect it to be. Just look at life. Remember that handsome, smart, go-getter that you married 40 years ago that is now permanently glued to a recliner! That passionate lover that has now become your patient, with you the live-in nurse for the rest of your natural born life!

What is it that drives us to believe that if only things would change, if only we could get what we wanted, everything would be cool? Mankind has been around for a long time now. What has changed regarding our base, negative values? The rich get richer and the poor get poorer until there is a social uprising and then it merely starts all over again with different faces. Mankinds basic greed, hatred and delusion has not changed one bit. If you're not greedy now, just wait until you have a little more money - or power!

Yet, we still think somehow that the next layer of the onion we peel will somehow reveal the answer. I don't think so. The flaw is in the logic. You can't change the world by shifting the same old circumstances around. We've tried that so many times that we want to throw up. Nope, that doesn't work. It only seems to work when its conceptual. The minute we put it into action, it begins to deteriorate back to the same ol' same ol.' You know what I mean?

Reagan had the grand master plan. Cut taxes for the wealthy and they would do the right thing - create jobs and lift the middle class up by their untidy bootstraps into rich man's heaven. Well, a funny thing happened on the way to rich mans heaven by the middle class. The wealthy (completely out of character), never really had the middle class in mind at all, only more profit, and when they saw a chance to shift their operations overseas to make even more money, they leapt at it, and was even incentivised to do it by a Republican congress. Cool! More and more money! Except Reagan and Greenspan had to rob the Middle class's social security fund to pay for the tax breaks for the wealthy. That worked out sweet, didn't it?

So I'm afraid that the state of the onion, regardless of the hot rhetoric now on both sides, is not good. When all the peels are lying on the floor and there is nothing left in your hands, that's just about where we are. We've tried about everything and nothing has worked for long. What else can we do? God, we have tried. We've tried to fight our way out and conquer the world militarily, to borrow our way out. We've even asked God to bail us out, but that hasn't helped either. We find ourselves constantly back at square one.

Until something radical happens, the onion peels will always reveal nothing more than a core of empty promises. That's a fact. Look at history. Has war ended? Has inequality been conquered? It's like promising to quit smoking every time you put the last butt out - twenty times a day!

So we will peel our onions and light up our next cigarette, all the while deep in thought how we can change things. And nothing ever changes for the better, nothing ever gravitates toward human decency and away from human usury. "What's in this for me?" remains stenciled on every forehead.

"What's in this for us?" Now that is an alien proposition for sure. So far out in left field that it could be said to be radical, maybe even socialistic! Is human decency and compassion now considered radical! Have we gone so far off course as human beings that it is considered stupid to be compassionate any longer? The bottom line rules, money and profit rules, and anyone who doesn't agree or follow the rules of profit over compassion is considered a social misfit.

And if this is all true, well . . . then I am proud to be a radical, social misfit!

Author's Bio: 

E. Raymond Rock (anagarika addie) is a meditation teacher at: and author of “A Year to Enlightenment:

His 30 years of meditation experience has taken him across four continents including two stopovers in Thailand where he practiced in the remote northeast forests as an ordained Theravada Buddhist monk.

He lived at Wat Pah Nanachat under Ajahn Chah, at Wat Pah Baan Taad under Ajahn Maha Boowa, and at Wat Pah Daan Wi Weg under Ajahn Tui. He had been a postulant at Shasta Abbey, a Zen Buddhist monastery in northern California under Roshi Kennett; and a Theravada Buddhist anagarika at both Amaravati Monastery in the UK and Bodhinyanarama Monastery in New Zealand, both under Ajahn Sumedho. The author has meditated with the Korean Master Sueng Sahn Sunim; with Bhante Gunaratana at the Bhavana Society in West Virginia; and with the Tibetan Master Trungpa Rinpoche in Boulder, Colorado. He has also practiced at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, and the Zen Center in San Francisco.