Thursday, January 8, 2009

About My Poll

You may have noticed (I hope) the new addition to The Buddha Diaries' right-hand sidebar: my "poll."  Well, I'm no pollster, but the infamous Cardozo brought in the suggestion that we run a poll on The Buddha Diaries and I thought, why not?  The original question was whether there might be a Buddhist in the White House--these are, after all, The Buddha Diaries--but my wife objected that the scope was too narrow, so we broadened it, for the fun of it, to include those other religions.

Who could forget that during the presidential campaign--thankfully now past us--our now President-elect had to stave off rumors that he was, gasp, a Muslim!  (McCain, remember, said No, he's a good family man--as though those Muslims aren't.)  It's a battle that might not yet be over.  I caught a glimpse yesterday of the odious (sorry, un-Buddhist judgment--but uttered with compassion!) Ann Coulter airing her despicable (sorry!) views and repeatedly referring to Obama by his full name, emphasizing the "Hussein."  Would Thomas Dewey, she asked, with a splendid rhetorical flourish,  not have been questioned if his middle name had been "Hitler"?  An excellent point, to be sure.  Speaking of the appearance later, my wife expressed her outrage that this "witch" should be given national television air time.  I felt the "w" should be traded for a "b."  What have witches ever done to deserve this insulting association?   But then, of course, by the same token, what have she-dogs ever done to deserve the same?

Coulter aside, I am delighted that we will have lodging in our White House a new family that is not of the usually accepted skin color and ethnicity.  It does worry and offend me, though, that an avowal of Christianity still seems to be the sine qua non for election to that office.  Why NOT a Buddhist?  Buddhists are good people.  They are honest, hard-working, smart, compassionate... all qualities I would have thought to be essential, especially after the example of the past four years.  Jews are pretty smart too, some of them, I've heard.  And let's not get into the stereotypes about their astuteness ("astuity"?) in money matters, in the light of our economic woes.  And for God's sake--or Allah's--why NOT a Muslim?    

(As aside from the question of religion, it goes without saying that the office still remains open only to heterosexual males.  We got close to breaking the gender barrier, and I fully expect that one to fall pretty easily, once the right candidate comes along, with the right agenda for the country.  But how about Adam and Steve?  Or Eve and Adeline, no matter what religion they espouse, or lack of it?)

Speaking for myself, I'd generally prefer a President who defers to no God.  Atheists have values too.  I happen to be one of them.  I'm sure that some of us unbelievers have family values at least as admirable as those of evangelical Christians.  But if our Presidents-to-be do have to embrace religious convictions, I would be happier if they kept them to themselves and didn't make a public issue of them, let alone policy.   I'd also prefer it if they made a point of practicing what their religion preaches: I know of none that does not have human compassion at its core, and the principle that we should do unto others as we would have them do unto us.  (Which is a little different from the eye-for-an-eye theory that we should do unto others what they have done unto us: a subtle distinction!)  As we would have them do...

Which brings me back, unfortunately, to la Coulter, who sat there prominently displaying a crucifix at her throat, even whilst uttering the most un-Christian of sentiments.  And to our still-current "compassionate conservative" president (a small "p" for this one) who brought us bloodshed, pitiless penny-pinching for the dispossessed, and generosity for the wealthy.  So much for the love of Jesus as a criterion for the selection of our leaders.  

Anyway, please vote in my poll, just for the fun of it.  ALSO, if you other bloggers feel so inclined, I'd be grateful if you could spread the word...

9 comments:

roger said...

"(sorry, un-Buddhist judgment--but uttered with compassion!)"

i like that. and thanks for including atheists, tho you should have put that choice in the poll.

PeterAtLarge said...

Yup, Roger, you're right. It occurred to me too late...

mandt said...

I really like Roger's 'none of the above approach! :)

Mark said...

Peter-
People like Ann Coulter make me sick. There's a whole slew of horrible people who call themselves Christians (Ann Coulter, George Bush [parts one AND two], most televangelists, and Fred Phelps to name a few off the top of my head) that make me completely irate. For a while they made me want to cut all ties with Christianity, and now they make me want to be Christian all the more to help redifine it as a faith based in love and compassion, like you said.
I'd prefer any person of character to be in the white house, be they Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Athiest, or other, rather than having someone who claims to be something they clearly are not. Hopefully Obama truly is the change we need.

PeterAtLarge said...

Thanks for the good words, Mark. I hope there are many more like you out there, who want to bring the Christian faith back to its true meaning.

hele said...

I find myself wondering why I would prefer a president who does not talk about his or her religion. Almost as if believing is a secret thing?

Hmmm, I will need to think on this a while.

They call him James Ure said...

Voted yes but only because I think a Jew will be elected someday. Buddhist or Muslim--not likely.

And we might as well forget it for Atheists. I'd be ecstatic to see an Atheist president but I really doubt (at least in my lifetime) that I'll see it happen.

khengsiong said...

With reference to the comment from "They called him James Ure"...
I would say a Jewish president is possible in the next 20 years. Buddhist or Muslim president is possible in the next 50 years.

citizen of the world said...

I voted for the hoeful "yes" although I am not sure of it.