Thursday, September 11, 2008


I plan to dedicate my morning meditation to those who died and their survivors; to the brave rescue workers; and to all those who suffered, and still suffer from the long-lasting effects of this dreadful day seven years ago...

It also seems like a good day to bring you my friend Mark, a student in Missouri, a double major in Religion and Philosophy, who has just restarted his blog Marko Polo after a summer break. Here's a young man who takes his religion seriously enough to keep asking the probing questions, and who stands up for what he believes in. In his entry yesterday he "confessed" to being VP of his university's Students for Barack Obama, and took the risk of exposing some of his fears and judgments. He wrote, eloquently:

I'm really plagued with anxiety about it all. Today I had about three students try to rip off the Obama sticker I sported proudly on my shirt all day. One of them said, "Obama is GAY!!!!" To which I responded somewhat snarkily, "Oh man! Don't tell his wife and kids!" Another straight up said to me, "I'm gonna impress my political views on you whether you like it or not!" Again, I replied curtly, "And that's why you're a Republican." Fifty bucks says none of the people who tried to rip the sticker off of my shirt have done any research into why they're going to vote for McCain or why they hate Obama.

The other day I saw a bumper sticker on the back of a car that said, "NObama," which I'm fine with (outside of really detesting most negative campaigning). Freedom of speech is a good thing. Upon further inspection, I wanted to punch the window out of the car that had the bumper sticker attached to it. Instead of the field of red and white with a sun rising over it that represents Obama's campaign, there was instead a blue Muslim star and crescent. How ignorant can you be?!?! Not only is that straight up wrong, but it's hateful to a perfectly beautiful religion.

It's a source of pleasure and not a little pride to have readers like Mark tuning in to The Buddha Diaries on a regular basis. Where he lives, it's not so easy to be a supporter of Barack Obama as it is here in (mostly) liberal California and (seriously) liberal Hollywood. Thanks for reminding me, Mark, that it sometimes takes courage to put out your political beliefs in a public way. I'm not a Christian, but when I meet Christians like you I take heart in the reminder that your religion, the one I myself was brought up with, is about the compassionate teachings of a wise and courageous leader--a true "maverick", who put his life on the line to challenge the tired old truths and usher in some new ones!


robin andrea said...

I'm glad you linked to Marko Polo and highlighted his efforts here. I like knowing there are college students in the heartland working for Obama. Yes, it is much easier to be a liberal Democrat in California. I haven't even seen a McCain bumpersticker once yet. I feel lucky.

I've been laying low lately trying to get out of the line of vapid comment fire.

thailandchani said...

Thanks for the link to Marko Polo. I wondered what had become of him.

It is really important that these things are discussed, even if names aren't mentioned. That just occurred to me. What if the real issues were discussed without bringing personality into it at all? I'll bet it would make a big difference.


Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

I commend Mark! Having lived for 4 years in Missouri, I truly know what opposition he may be facing. My prayers are with him.

Handsome B. Wonderful said...

Yeah Missouri is an interesting place to say the least.

That sticker sickens me too. Especially if they know the truth because there are some who will spread lies even if they know the truth.

Also, I find it telling that they have a "NObama" sticker but not one supporter McCain. I have seen the "NObama" sticker too and again no McCain sticker.

Anonymous said...

I'm not so sure that it is easier to be a supporter here in SoCal or not; yesterday my daughter's boyfriend had his Obama HOPE sticker ripped off of his car window & thrown on the ground. This was at Orange Coast College.....


PeterAtLarge said...

Robin, ah yes, the "vapid comment fire"! Well out! Thanks for coming back anyway.

Chani, wouldn't that be great, a discussion of the issues rather than pigs and lipsticks? Some hope!

Nick, even my two days in Missouri were enough to "show me" that things are different there. What we sometimes hold as unquestionable assumptions can be regarded, elsewhere, as total anathema.

Handsome, thanks for pointing out that these folks are "against" something they evidently fear, more than "for" something else. Sad.

And mjones! Welcome as a commenter, great to hear your voice! I'd almost forgotten about Orange County--it seems so long since I was there! Mindless hate, it seems, can breed anywhere.

Mark said...

Peter (and everyone who responded)-
Thanks to all. It was quite a nice surprise to come home from class and see a piece from my own blog here on the Buddha Diaries! It's strange to re-read my own writing and realize that when I'm not writing for academics, I sound every bit of the 20 years old that I am. Relieving and troubling at the same time.

This community always keeps me coming back; I find hope in the positive potential of humanity, honesty and well-roundedness, and a commitment to compassion and justice. It's reassuring, especially on this particularly hopeless feeling day - 9/11 -, that there are people dedicated to seeing the silver lining and learning from our own mistakes.

Only 8 weeks until decision! We'll all keep looking up and supporting a message of hope until then here at Drury.

Doctor Noe said...

I am not commenting on Obama right now, but wanted to call your attention to another midwesterner, Les Paul -- get a load of this:

Go to for information.

Illini Alum said...

Thanks for your recent entries.

It has been cathartic to read in print much of what I've been thinking but could not have articulated so well myself.