Toward a Headwing Idea for America
In the past two years, many Unificationists have found themselves very troubled by the extreme divide we find ourselves in culturally and politically in the United States. It can be easily understood that the political spheres are driven by the cultural spheres.
We seem so divided that the two cultures can barely even understand what the other is thinking, saying or doing. It’s almost as if we have two Americas at this point. We have been in similar situations before: the Civil War era; and the 1960s into the 1970s. We always got through it because God was still guiding and protecting America. God willing, that is still the case.
In various conversations with Unificationist elder friends, many younger Unificationists, family, clergy, clients, and in the larger community, it seems that Unificationists feel we do not fit comfortably into the conservative mantle as in the past. Nor do we appear to fit into the liberal sphere of the present.
How does a Unificationist react to the highly charged issues of the day with a Divine Principled response, rather than just one’s own ideas?
For example – what about the gun violence debate? Is a Unificationist position pro-gun or anti-gun? Some gun control or none? Is the Second Amendment sacred under the Divine Principle or is it open to discussion? What about the immigration debate? Would the Divine Principle and True Parents’ teachings tell us to “build the wall” or to show compassion and accept refugees from struggling nations?
How about environmental laws? Do we want the government to control individual and industrial activity so as to curtail environmental impact? Or is decreasing government control more important? Do we decry the rise of the LGBTQ movement or embrace these folks with God’s love as brothers and sisters? These are just a few of the issues a Unificationist encounters on a daily basis.
With conservatives, on the one hand, one might resonate with the principles of self-reliance, free markets, America as a beacon of freedom for all those in the world (including a strong defense to help those in need), love for America and respect for its founding principles, a strong moral code, and so on.
On the other hand, it may have been difficult for some Unificationists to relate to the “America First” idea and the suspicion of all immigrants. Clearly, Unificationism is pointing towards a world culture where a “God First” idea will prevail. From that, an “all of us first” idea might follow.
Many on the right seem to long for the old America of the 1950s, the “Norman Rockwell America.” If we look closely, though, that was a clearly Judeo-Christian America, primarily created by and lived in by European immigrants. What they created was based on European Christian society and ideas from the European Enlightenment. When we consider groups on the right — like Republican conventions and the recent CPAC conference — 98% of the faces appear to be white. Something must be missing here. At the same time, many Unificationists certainly feel alienated by most of the rhetoric from the left.
To others, and those on the left, this is a “white culture.” The right is clearly clueless about how to attract and speak to minorities, recent immigrants and people of minority faiths. But by now, America is much more pluralistic, and we have many Muslims and people of other faiths, plus many races and cultures from all over the world.
Father and Mother Moon are Asian and have suffered from this bias all their lives in America. Remember the important 1981 Foley Square rally outside the federal courthouse in New York when Rev. Moon charged that his indictment was racially motivated? When encountering liberals in 2018 on the other hand, a Unificationist might resonate with many liberal core values. They seem to sincerely respect people of all faiths, persuasions, cultures and races. Take a look at any Democratic convention, or one of the many rallies leftists stage. They are always a “rainbow,” right? They have been successful at speaking to all sorts of folks.
Reverend and Mrs. Moon at a rally of supporters outside the federal courthouse in New York on October 22, 1981.
Indeed, most of those who supported True Father during his legal problems in America were liberal, such as Harvard professor Laurence Tribe, or the many African-American leaders who stepped up, even to this day, to work with us. There were many conservatives, like Senator Orrin Hatch, who resonated with True Father’s Victory Over Communism work and supported it strongly over the years, but the majority who supported True Father during the trial years were liberals.
The liberal ideas of inclusion are important. As well, the many peace conferences initiated by our True Parents appear to lean much more to the left. And recently, True Mother has been speaking strongly about environmentalism, an issue championed by the left and snickered at by the right.
At the same time, the contemporary liberal-left seems to many to politicize everything and appear to be mostly negative and angry. There is not much question that – knowingly or not – their views have been influenced by Marxist/leftist thought. The Marxist “community organizing” principles of Saul Alinsky and others pervade much of their rhetoric and actions. The liberal mindset has seemed to claw away at what our True Parents celebrated in America during the “God Bless America Festival” in 1976. By 2018, largely due to liberal influences and activism, that America is almost gone or at least in severe danger.
So where do we Unificationists find ourselves in 2018? Are we liberal or conservative? Before your mind answers this question with a knee-jerk reaction, catch yourself. Are you sure? You might find that we don’t fit nicely on the right or the left.
So how about “headwing?” Remember that? True Father used to speak about it a lot, but the concept has never been fleshed out into a clear set of ideas, at least as far as this author is aware. This piece is offered to begin discussion, bring up some issues and point out a few core ideas suggested by the term as True Father described it.
Unificationists may have experienced that at many events and with our True Parents, we are able to see liberals and conservatives coexisting, breaking bread, sharing ideas, and, most especially, celebrating each others’ humanity. What is the source of this miracle? It is surely the love of God coming through the ministry and work of our True Parents; the Divine Principle in action. Let us consider how we might go further and put what we see happening in the sphere of True Parents into a set of coherent ideas.
As strange as the term headwing sounds at first, it makes perfect sense and has deep meaning. If there are wings involved in the analogy, we are talking about a bird. On birds, the head is in the center and above both wings. So a headwing ideology would be a centrist idea and above the two extremes of right and left. What would “above” mean? It would be a vertical idea; such an ideology would be guided by spiritual principles – indeed, the Divine Principle. So we’re talking about a Unificationist political philosophy. In the case of this discussion, a Unificationist American political philosophy.
So based on the reflections so far in this discussion, and on indications from the Divine Principle, what might be some core principles of such an ideology?
- A consideration of the divine nature of human beings. This is key. No doubt we will then be written off with the same pen that writes off Islamism, sharia law, etc. But we will have to soldier on because this simply cannot be left out. As CAUSA lectures used to say, “It is a God or no God proposition…” True Parents always boldly proclaim whatever needs to be said.
- A companion consideration is the nature of “fallen human beings.” Thus, there must be some sort of checks and balances, since fallen humans have contradictory natures.
- The idea of the natural family, meaning a father, a mother and children (or at least a husband and wife). This is core Divine Principle and it must be included in any Unificationist system. Indeed, it must be central.
- The “purpose of the individual and the purpose of the whole.” The left wants to sublimate the rights of individuals to support the needs of the whole, which, when corrupted, leads to totalitarianism. The right wants to champion the rights of the individual while many underprivileged citizens may suffer. A new idea will incorporate serving both needs.
- The idea of Providence. God has been guiding human history, and has championed certain cultures and nations. At the present time, Korea, Japan and America still maintain central providential positions.
- A Messianic idea. Ultimately, human beings alone will not be able to solve the world’s problems. We need God’s help to solve America’s and the world’s problems. Man-made solutions will simply not be enough.
- At the same time, the idea of human responsibility must be emphasized. We cannot wait for miracles from Heaven. As True Father said so eloquently in the Washington Monument speech: We can build it, “In God’s Power, but with our own hands…”
One may feel it almost impossible to craft an American headwing political ideology. But shouldn’t we try? Who else has the spiritual power, God’s blessing and the power of the Divine Principle? Only Unificationists. If not we, then who?! Seriously – who else can you think of that could possibly bridge the divide in America right now?
It is not clear if our American movement as it is has the resources or commitment to undertake such a project to clarify what an American headwing ideology might look like. However, we have the brain and heart power, with so many well-trained scholars and many with a lot of political experience. Surely we can create a beginning.♦
Rev. Henri Schauffler (UTS Class of 1985) has been in the Unification Movement for 45 years. He has consulted with college student activity groups, built churches, taught Divine Principle and the Bible to many hundreds, led pilgrimages to Korea, worked with politicians and others in pursuit of headwing-type solutions, run for state legislature, and, in later years, plied the skills, knowledge and wisdom gleaned from these experiences into working with small business owners to help them become more effective, grow their businesses, and lead a more fulfilling life.