My Dharma Brother, Brad Warner, recently published an essay which I agree with in part, yet strongly disagree with in part ... He wrote:
Listen. Voting is good. So get out there and vote. But watch your level of excitement about the process. Those highs and lows are damaging. For all the feelings of loss, disenfranchisement, and powerlessness the guys who wanted to make that book about Bush’s re-election felt, the world survived his second term more or less in tact. I may be too cynical about the whole thing, but I’ve always loved that joke where an Englishman tries to explain American politics to a fellow Englishman. “On the one hand they have the Republican party which is analogous to our Conservative party,” he says, “and on the other hand they have the Democratic party, which is analogous to our Conservative party.”
Politics take place in the realm of the human mind, where good and evil exist. Politicians are like stage magicians using sleight of hand to draw attention away from reality.
It’s none of my business who you vote for. I’m sure you agree with that. But I’ve been pretty horrified by what I’ve seen from a number of American Buddhist teachers who think it is their business. Way too many Buddhist teachers and Buddhist centers in this country think that Buddhism and liberal politics are one and the same. ...
My own teacher’s teacher, Kodo Sawaki, said, “The right wing is completely wrong. The left wing is also completely wrong.”
Perhaps the very slight differences between one candidate and another have some value. I would never say they didn’t. Just don’t get your panties in a bunch if your guy loses or celebrate the ultimate triumph of good over evil if he wins. I‘m sure all of you politicos reading this will say you already know that. But any scan of the TV when the results are announced will prove otherwise. All that elation and all that hopelessness ripple outward like a wave.
The balance that you retain or lose right now will ultimately have a far greater effect upon the world than who gets elected.
I must disagree with Brad on some of that, for we cannot have our heads in the sand. Yes, we should not cling to one sided opinions. Yes, we should not see the world in "us" versus "them" terms. Yes, the true "revolution" must start within each of us. But the fact of the matter is that, for all its imperfections, politics does make a difference.
Much damage has been done to my country and to the world these past 8 years.
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