Monday, August 30, 2010


That's it! Buddhist or no Buddhist (see yesterday's entry) I can't stand by and watch. I had made a kind of tacit agreement with myself to spend less time, in my blog, on politics; but I realize now that I need to spend more.

Long-time readers will remember that this whole blogging business, for me, started out with "The Bush Diaries," which took the form of a daily, somewhat irreverent letter to George W. Bush about the lapses, misdeeds and crimes of his administration. My first blog entry ever followed immediately after Bush's re-election in November 2004. I could not, then, believe that the American electorate could be so blinded to his disastrous policies--both foreign and domestic--as to vote him back into office for another term. I knew I had to do something, and the only thing I know how to do is write. It was then that I stumbled headlong into the blogosphere...

And two years after that, I woke one day with the realization that waking up with Bush every day was no prescription for serenity or sanity, so "The Bush Diaries" morphed quietly into "The Buddha Diaries."

The events of this past week, however, have convinced me that I cannot remain silent. The Glenn Beck/Sarah Palin rally that attempted to co-opt the memory and the values of Dr. Martin Luther King was loathsome enough to arouse the old political bile. Their call to restore America to God--and, oh yes, the radical conservatism that God apparently approves--came at the same time as the Jane Mayers article in the New Yorker about the Koch brothers and their determination to destroy President Obama no matter what the cost, financially, or to the truth. This past week, too, we had news of the poll indicating that vast numbers of Americans had been persuaded against all reason to believe that Obama was neither American nor a Christian, but rather a cuckoo in the nest, a foreign-born Muslim out to destroy this country.

Enough already! Even the Buddhist blood boils at the enormity of the lies that are being disseminated, the hatred that accrues, the prospect of the country's future--the future of the world--in the hands of people of this kind.

Don't worry. I'm not going back to daily politics. That would drive me crazy. Besides, it's perfectly plain by now that it's not about the honest debate of issues and ideas It's about money. It's about the inordinate greed for money and for the power that goes along with it. It's about defending, consolidating and multiplying wealth, and seizing the political power to make that possible. It's about deluding the American electorate into wild and self-destructive beliefs.

I cannot match the Koch brothers in political contributions. I cannot match Rupert Murdoch in access to the hearts and minds of American voters and in the manipulation of their views. I must think more in terms of proportion. I will act proportionately. I will give money in proportion. A billion in Koch money equals, what...? A hundred dollars of my own? I'll give the hundred dollars. I'll even double them up: I'll give two hundred to support the Democratic effort to retain control of Congress at mid-term.

And I will make a point of asking all my friends, and all my American friends on "The Buddha Diaries"--and all my "friends" (Facebook)--to do the same. I will importune them mercilessly, to give ten dollars, twenty, fifty. If they can, a hundred... I have about nine hundred friends on Facebook alone. If I could persuade them to give, say, an average of fifty dollars apiece, that would total forty-five thousand dollars. And if each of them were to pass on my challenge to, say, a hundred of their friends, and each of their friends were to respond with a donation, say, of an average of fifty dollars apiece, that would total four million five hundred thousand dollars. And if each of their friends' friends... It's a dream! An "American Dream"--and not the kind that simply advances my own interests.

But wait! I know that you're all impatient to get started, but hold your fire. I intend, in the next few days, to write up a kind of manifesto, something that can easily be copied and pasted and sent on, so that we could hope to start a movement and gain momentum--along with the millions of dollars--in time for the November elections. When I'm done with that, I'll post it. But in the meantime, your feedback would be appreciated. I'm ready to modify my plan to include all reasonable suggestions.


TaraDharma said...

my post is about the 'rally' as well...and I end with the famous Jeffersonian quote about what it takes for evil to prevail. I share your exhaustion with our national politics, but if we use our voices, when we can, and our power, I hope we can make positive change. I mean, how many people showed up at this rally? Surely they are a tiny number compared to the power of rational, sane people! Let's hope! And let's do what we can.

mandt said...

This is a critical time for both traditional conservatives and progressive Americans dedicated to the founding principles and over two centuries standing of democracy. What we are seeing in the Tea Party and in its messianic leaders like Glen Beck is the seed pearl of neo-fascism. It will be a distinctive variation of that which characterized the early twentieth century. But, several observations are relevant: 1.) the racist narrative ( who is American?--take back our white country) 2.) appropriation of national myths 3.) control of media and mythic propaganda 4.) corporatist hierarchy as the structural paradigm 5.) theocratic orientation based on Old Testament patriarchy.
The democratic party in its ineffectual elitism, incompetence and disenfranchisement of the working class base is an excellent comparison to the former Wiemar Republic. Particularly chilling in the degeneration of American neo-conservatism to the status of neo-fascism is the fundamental anarchist and violent elements of these 'baggers' and the desire to establish feudal-like property states that will, in effect, create a kind-of new feudalism and aristocracy. If American's do not remember the meaning of revolution they will soon become serfs. It is very important to keep Democrats in power, if only to stave off, the inevitable collapse of democracy. Do it on the grassroots level, where power must rise up, not top down. We, for example, have been supporting Alan Grayson, in Florida and all members of the progressive wing of the Demo's, irregardless of their State affiliation. (we're more in the $5.00 donation category), but, hey, Buddhist or not, I swear I'll man the front line of resistance with my walker if necessary.

PeterAtLarge said...

Thanks, Tara. See my comment on your entry.

And, MandT, an excellent and frightening analysis. I'm pledging to keep working on this and doing what I can to mitigate disaster.

Anonymous said...

go Mandt

I believe your analysis is correct.
I have wondered if the Roman citizens were aware their empire was crumpling while Nero fiddled.

CHI SPHERE said...

After reading what Mandt has written I can only second the very accurate and clear words pointing to neo-fascism and points 1 thru 5 which are right on track re the disenfranchisement of the working class.

My work puts me in contact with teamsters, service industry workers, low level trades people and many others who voted for Obama. Some are buying into the race baiting and false statements the 'baggers' are using to foster their feudal-like property desires.

I can only hope that the Democrats will take off the blinders and run on a clear track this time!