Trading "The Bush Diaires" for "The Buddha Diaires" did not mean, of course, eschewing all expression of political opinion. I just don't plan to spend so much time in that arena.
Yesterday's release of the Bush budget proposal needs some response in these pages in view of its distinctly un-Buddhist approach to national and international priorities. It seems clear at this point in time that the military-industrial complex about which Eisenhower warned us all those years ago has triumphed, and that the reverse Robin Hood budgetary philosophy of the Bush administration is to be aggressively pursued in flagrant denial of the wishes of the American electorate when they returned a Democratic majority to both houses of Congress. The profligate generosity extended to the military, in the form of budget increases, and to the very wealthy in the form of tax benefit extensions is matched only by the mean-spirited parsimony when it comes to the poor and the oppressed. On the global front, the dismissively short shrift it gives to the most urgent problem facing our planet--the stabilization of our environment--is mind-boggling.
So where is the compassion? Where is the mindfulness of well-established realities? Where is the recognition of urgent problems needing resolution? I am left with the bleak hope that the power to which this sadly ovine country has entrusted a president apparently bereft of a human heart and the requisite listening skills to govern is not, now, such that even the Congress of the United States in unable to thwart it. The Bush budget proposal is an arrogant kiss-off to every basic humanitarian value, and a shameful statement about our country to the world. Its unambiguous message is that we care more for the acquisition of needless weaponry and excessive wealth than we do for the well-being of our own people and the survival of our species. It is, in a word, disgraceful.