Wednesday, November 3, 2010


What's a Buddhist to do? What's a Democrat to do? What's a Buddhist Democrat to do? And are there any Republican Buddhists anyway? I try to practice my equanimity, but the thought of having those Republicans dominate the House of Representatives makes me shudder. The thought of what they have already made clear is the top of their agenda--to cripple Obama and his presidency--leaves me in a frenzy. The anticipation of a return to their already failed and demonstrably inequitable economic policies and their disastrous tax cuts (cut what?) sends shivers down my spine.

This is change I do not welcome, even while I realize that it must be accepted. It's what happens. No matter my thoughts and feelings about the American electorate (I will spare you them--today) I cannot personally bring about the kind of change I seek: to end our wars; to ensure economic and social justice for all; to serve the interests of all our citizens and to be good citizens of the world; to take positive action to end our dependence on fossil fuels and address the issue of climate change; to end the unnecessary perpetuation of world hunger, disease, and violence of all kinds. Grand goals, perhaps, but achievable, if we had the will. Instead, we seem intent on picking the lint from our own pathetic navels.

We saw Fela last night, on Broadway. An amazing show. An amazing story. Fela Kuti, the Nigerian musician on whose life the show was based, was an activist and a populist who spoke for the impoverished and the voiceless of his nation. But the story of this musical is bigger. It's really the story of post-colonial Africa with its dreadful wars and genocides, its widespread disease and social neglect, the poverty of many of its populations while military and political elites rape the natural riches of of their nations. It's the story of the survival of the spirit--of the beliefs, traditions and rites that served different African peoples for centuries and which now fight for survival in a brutally changing world. It's the story of the powerful values of family and fellowship, of creativity, and song, and dance, and poetry in a cultural environment where money threatens to replace those values--and the power of the gods.

All of which has a particular and uncomfortable bearing on who we are, ourselves, as a people, in the current circumstance of the 2010 election. From my perspective, we have been bought and sold. We have allowed ourselves to become the slaves of corporate interests, and have abandoned the true meanings that made this country "great." I am, truly, this morning, one dispirited aspiring Buddhist...


mandt said...

Do not be dispirited my friend. After all, karma is a Tea Party, and the long haul of cause and effect. The intricate process of corruption and decay in matters as infinitely complex as empires can be discerned, more or less, by examples from the arc of history. Some of the greatest Buddhist teaching came from such periods. Now we must turn to our practice. The real test will come when violence in the dissolution begins. It will be most difficult for conscious individuals who are protected by privilege. A good example is King Gupta, whose realization led him to renounce and retreat into hermitage. Perhaps it is time to create hermitages in like-minded communities and remain true until the barbarians come. peace, m

Paul Garrigan said...

I’m an Irishman living in Thailand so you would think that American politics would be the last thing on my mind. It is hard to not get a bit swept up by it all though. In my last house we only had two English speaking channels and one of them was Fox news. I used to test my general mindfulness level by seeing how long I could watch it without getting angry - I never did make it past two minutes :-) Although American politics can seem a bit crazy to me I really am ignorant to it all - I suppose really it is none of my business.

CHI SPHERE said...

On the west coast of the swayed by fear body politic we have voted to seek climate change, organize with Jerry Brown to work green and reach across party lines. The old Jesuit will provide a personal example of thrift, seek to grow solar, wind and geothermal technologies in our state and call for comprehensive balance.

The defeat here in California of Mega Meg/Fiorina Flash and the millions of paid for votes that didn't add up are testimony to the number of blue persons who registered and voted for a solid Brown, Boxer and Harris coalition to lead the way towards reason.
I celebrate their win.

If the red people wish to cut spending/taxes with out increasing the deficit they will have a very bumpy road to travel. If the son of a bartender who blubbers with self adulation on the eve of Rome crumbling can muster some time away from the tanning table to see across the vast sea of lumpen tea bags adrift in an ocean of greed, then a miraculous opening of the heavens will occur!

Of course its is silly to imagine this happening for we are now living in the backwash of jump starting the Empire.

What does and artist do now?

I will begin making drawings on money with blood and spit. I'll weave them into a very large coat and hat. I'll weave them into a money whip and wander Wall Street whipping the Hedge Fund executives as they depart for a martini and cab uptown.

Is it time to build and Ark or a as Mandt suggests retreat to a hermitage and wait for the barbarians.
I don't think the wait will be long. In fact I can hear their feet dragging on the floor of the House now!

Better ideas are worth considering and if I come up with any I'll share them here. It's too late to run and too late to hide so but some powerful sun screen and create good where you can.

They call him James Ure said...

I was dismayed as well but we did better than expected with the senate. I think the Republicans will over-reach with their power in the House.

It already looks that way as they say their top goal is to make obama a one term president. So much for getting the message on the economy and jobs!!

On the other hand, Obama said he did get the message from the American people. He understand they want more focus on the economy and jobs. I think by 2012 the economy will be a bit better and he'll be re-elected.

Have hope!! I know it's hard though at times like this. I'm discouraged a bit too but we can regroup and win back the trust and confidence of the American people.