Loving Dubbya

I’ve been watching the American election coverage mainly through blogs and Facebook postings of my friends over there and I’m reminded of a teaching by Ajahn Amaro where he was talking about loving-kindness. Amaro pointed out that if you can’t, for example, hold George W Bush in your heart with love –

yes, Dubbya –

held there with love and understanding and a sincere wish for his happiness… well, then you haven’t really understood it.

I know in these times that seems like heresy – but it’s true. If we descend into hatred then we are losing the battle. Living with hatred in our hearts for Bush or Palin or whoever is only corrosive for ourselves. The Dalai Lama says that being angry at our enemies is just like picking up molten metal to throw at them. The only person to get hurt is you.

True compassion and (I’d argue) happiness comes from having respect and tolerance for everyone. Even those who are politically opposed to us. It certainly feels a whole lot better than being ratcheted up in anxious, poisonous tension.

I feel it when I dip into the coverage of the American elections. I feel it’s corrosive. Democrats with (I’m sure) good hearts start sabre-rattling and calling for blood. Posting doctored pictures of the Republicans and reasoning that ‘playing dirty’ is the only way to win.

I don’t want the Republicans to win in America any more than most of my friends – but ‘playing dirty’ and buying into their whole rhetoric of hate and war makes me feel sad and a bit burnt by the whole thing. I sincerely hope that Obama wins. I think America would be much better place but I hope he doesn’t get into the White House and find it toxic with the fallout from the campaign.

11 Comments

  1. Ian J Lik

    September 19, 2008 at 8:53 pm

    Nicely put – we do need more tolerance and to preach more love rather than get engaged in vitriolic rhetoric and inflammatory behavior.

  2. Courtney

    September 20, 2008 at 3:01 am

    Part of what’s so sad about the whole election is that the
    Republicans feel they have to use the same tactics. American
    politics is rife with this sort of dirty tactics. The fact
    that so many people, young and old are so cynical and apathetic
    bothers me, but doesn’t surprise me. The lack of interest
    continues to grow and even when the nation is as divided as
    we are by this election, I don’t see it changing for the
    better any time soon, if at all.

    While I can’t stand Palin, it’s more her views and stances
    on everything that matters to me and to many people I know
    that makes her an awful person in my book.

  3. St

    September 20, 2008 at 5:18 pm

    Politics in the U.S. is like a controversial subject, I can
    never understand how each party thinks they can convince
    the other that they are right. I always look at their
    arguments and vote for the guy that comes closes to my
    beleifs.
    By the way, I don’t hate Bush I would just love to see
    him retire and get out of politics for good.

    Alistair,
    Out of curiosity, I noticed you have written essays about
    what is happening with our government, but you never
    mention about yours, or write about it. I don’t know a
    whole lot, but from what I can see, they tend to be more
    supportive of social issues. I don’t want to talk about
    politics but courious why you never mention things about
    your own government.

  4. Patrick

    September 22, 2008 at 3:08 am

    In America, we tend to vote for “The Lesser of 2 Evils”. Why do we think this way? Because of the dirty politics! Our News is often slanted based on the producer’s viewpoint! One would think the media has an obligation to remain neutral!

    I hate to say it, but I think the media is attempting to use fear to keep us watching the news and to sway our opinions to their own. It in some ways is reminiscent to what the Nazi party did in Germany.

    I do not hate the people in power that are screwing up our country, I just wish they would quit screwing up the country!

    I want to see Obama elected, since I do not like the current downward spiral our economy is in. I hope he can do something about the problems left by this administration (and previous ones). I also hope his administration is pro-equal rights, as Clinton’s administration was. Palin’s association with a “Conversionist Church” makes her the LAST person I would want to represent me!

    You should never hate a person, you can hate specific actions of that person. If they have a pattern of doing things you hate, then it is ok to distrust them. You can still love a person without loving everything they do.

  5. Alex

    September 23, 2008 at 12:07 pm

    Alistair,

    I much support some of your comments on the US election. Especially, about the smear campaigning and mud slinging, complemented with photo-shopped pictures of the Republican candidates.
    I am quite dismayed about the Jockohomo link you have placed on your website, which does exactly that. Honestly, this is way out of line.
    Alex

  6. colleen

    September 30, 2008 at 8:13 pm

    thanks, alistair. it’s good to remember that. i have
    so much toxicity in my heart right now, as do my friends
    and it isn’t doing us any good. i know that obama will
    win but i so distrust the system and feel so worn down
    by these years. yet, i must remember over and over to
    see my enemies as people. and so i will try to hold
    george and sarah and john into the light. but, one thing:
    do i have to love dick cheney, too? really?

  7. Mike Day

    October 4, 2008 at 1:25 am

    It would be interesting to be able to discuss British politics as well as American, from the point of view of people who are not totally wrapped up in political dogma. I am interested in your blog and what you write for instance. And I like what you say about hoping fopr a Democratic win. I have had many Republican friends in America but alas have little hope if another Republican administration happens. I don’t think McCain is a bad man – he has courage and strengths more than many. I doubt he would be dishonest. But those around him? And Palin would go like Thatcher. I was quite taken with her possibilities and wrote to her to that effect.

    Like many, I felt relieved when Blair left office. He led a government that did so much for me as a gay man and as a citizen. Who will ever forget that May morning. And I had hope and still have hope with Gordon Brown even though I have never, ever voted Labour I think there is something to be hopeful about in the man from the Manse.

    Your blog is so interesting. A breath of fresh air.

  8. Farrell

    October 6, 2008 at 8:50 pm

    Alistair, you got it right with this one. American elections turn the candidates into cartoon characters.
    Although I currently live in Minnesota, I previously lived in Arizona and believe that John McCain
    is a good, honorable, capable and innovative leader. Barack Obama as near as I can tell is an
    intelligent but inexperienced candidate who may not completely understand the job he is seeking
    which is a dangerous situation for him personally but most importantly for the U.S. and the
    world. But, no matter who is elected, I hope my fellow McCain supporters will not use the
    politics of personal destruction as is currently being employed by both candidates and parties.
    We can do better. Importantly, whoever is elected will face serious economic, social, and
    political problems. Only by employing understand, acceptance and love can we expect to
    make progress.

  9. Dave Tinney

    October 6, 2008 at 9:38 pm

    Mr. A,
    I have been following you blog quietly for some time.
    After reading your last entry, I have to let you know how
    profoundly moved I am by your insight and perspective.
    I have become increasingly weary of the extremists on both
    sides of the political spectrum. Isn’t it sadly ironic that
    the battle against ‘terrorism’ and ‘hate’ is being waged
    with the same armory?
    You have put into words what I have been feeling in my
    heart.Thank you. Please keep it up.
    A huge fan.

  10. Emma

    October 6, 2008 at 9:48 pm

    I think you might find it more difficult to love Bush
    and (that dreadful wolf-shooting) Palin if you had to
    live in this country. It’s easy to be loving and
    generous from 3000 miles away.

  11. Valerie W

    November 25, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    Well Obama did win. thought perhaps we were getting someone
    new and refreshing but the way he’s stacking his staff, its
    like Clinton retread. Who will be President? The Secretary
    of State or the President. I’ll admit its good to have
    experienced staff when you’re new on the job, but you
    have to do your own thing or its just more of the same.
    Time will tell.

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