Karma is simply the belief that what goes around comes around - with momentum. In terms less woogie, it is cause and effect. Choices have consequences. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Whatever one sows, that shall she also reap. The one who lives by the sword will perish by the sword. Pee up a rope, make a big mess.
So, I believe in karma. I'm not saying "God will get you for that Walter" (how I loved Maude) and I'm not saying that if things go badly today it's because we did something naughty 14 lifetimes ago. I'm just saying that if you play with fire you may get burned. I'm saying if we knock over a domino, the others may come crashing down as well. I'm saying, what we do matters and sometimes what we do will have long lasting consequences. It's not even all that mystic; it's just common sense and each of us have experiences that validate the hypothesis.
So, when we think about sending young people into preventable wars, we pay a heavy price. When we justify or ignore torture, we pay a heavy price. When we allow life-saving medications to be a matter of profit rather than a matter of justice, we pay a heavy price. When we vote for people who will use their political power to support our religious views, we pay a heavy price. When we allow our government to deny due process and equal protection under the law for the sake of "security," we pay a heavy price. We reap what we sow. Our actions have equal and opposite reactions. What goes around, comes around.
While people are fighting to have prayer in school, I wish they would privately pray for peace. While people call themselves pro-life, I wish they would support policies that would make sure every person gets to have a quality of life that is protected by medical insurance. While people are calling for the Ten Commandments in public buildings, I wish they would consider the Golden Rule. When people are demanding that the phrase "under God" (which was added to our pledge of allegiance in 1954) be left in our pledge of allegiance, I wish they would also take as seriously the words that follow, "with liberty and justice for ALL."
I remember hearing a couple of elections ago a lot about "compassionate conservatism." I'm ready for some compassionate leadership whether it is conservative, liberal, or moderate. Compassion and justice and mercy and goodwill aren't qualities of the liberal or the conservative; they are the qualities of the evolved and enlightened human spirit. I worry about the karma of a nation that is increasingly committed to war, exclusion, division, and control. I would much rather our leaders plant seeds of hope, healing, prosperity, and peace. Because, whatever we plant in the soil of our national consciousness, we will surely reap in abundance.