a Buddhist reflects on politics ~

imageI’ve hesitated to bring politics to my writing here. It consumes far too much passion in my life, which was one reason I started a blog. But I don’t understand much of what’s happening today, and writing’s what I do when I don’t understand something. I think w/ my fingers. ????

The fire erupted again today, when I read that PoliticsUSA had rated Donald Trump’s newest ad as one lie per every 4 seconds. Other credible sources (Pulitzer winner Politifact, for instance) have lists of his lies, with all kinds of evidence. So why do people continue to believe him?Why would you believe this single person, instead of a Pulitzer Prize-winning news source? Why would you want to? Who is it feeding themselves on this tissue of terror-laden lies?

There’s a poison in the air. People whom I know are good people, basically — good parents, hard workers, kind and mostly level-headed — seem to want to believe bad things. They believe immigrants ~Muslims & Mexicans & other brown people ~ are what’s wrong with this country built by immigrants. This country that once stood as sanctuary to the homeless & dispossessed. And people believe that there’s conspiracy afloat — in the water, among their enemies (who do not, of course, look like any of us…). Trump feeds this fear, fanning it until murder erupts, as it has in my own town.

I don’t understand it. I want a politics  of compassion, a party of peace & hope. I once read an article by public intellectual Alan Jacobs, about “the war of every man against every man.” The article looks at why we’re so mean to each other on the Internet, specifically, and then goes to look at the cultural phenomenon as a whole. It was, literally, illuminating for me. It explained why my party of peace & compassion is so unlikely. Something dark within lightened. I recognised a pattern, which means I can unravel it. At least for me.

I’m going to try to remember what Buddhist Susan Moon says — that I drive folks as nuts as so many politicians, pundits, and their bloodthirsty followers drive me :). And that I don’t have to be the person who feeds the fire. I can be the person who lets it go out. I can have my own small party, peaceful & compassionate.

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