Friday, February 3, 2012

Bodhisattvas in an election year - Case One

On January 19, 2012 I wrote a note, to be found several blogs down, called Bodhisattvas in an election year.

I have had requests to expand on this theme in terms of the ongoing campaigns, and therefore will bring up cases from the media which are opportunities for us to reflect on these themes. I will choose examples from both major parties and from various candidates "to be fair."

Here is the first case, an excerpt from an article in the Atlantic online:

Have Democrats Succeeded in Pre-Destroying Romney?

FEB 2 2012, 7:45 AM ET 

Inside the left's little-noticed, relentless, brutally effective campaign to tear down the Republican front-runner in advance of the general election.

Tuesday's installment of the left's crusade to destroy Mitt Romney began like this: an operator chirping,

"I'd like to welcome you today to the Mitt Romney Would Destroy Social Security and Medicare Conference Call."

A few moments later, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, was on the line. "Thanks, everybody, for joining the call today," she began. Within minutes, she had accused Romney of "political pandering," supporting "the extreme tea party agenda," and lying to senior citizens, Hispanics and supporters of the space program.

Just another day in the life of the vast left-wing conspiracy.

Practically every day for months, Democrats and their allies have been hammering Romney like this. Unions, party committees at the national and state levels, independent groups such as American Bridge and Americans United for Change, and the Obama campaign itself have undertaken an unprecedented effort to tarnish the front-runner while virtually ignoring the rest of the GOP candidates. And it appears to be working......."

If you are interested in reading the rest of the article, it is here:

As I said in the original blog,  if we do not see the politician also as a 
Bodhisattva-to-be, as a Bodhisattva right now - even if they do not see it, 
even if they do not act it as far as we are concerned - than that much we 
can not be who we truly are. Instead, we are caught in the particulars of 
self-centered judgments. More important in terms of the creating and 
maintaining of stress, suffering and even harmful actions, we might 
nurture and be entangled in all sorts of reactive emotion thought and 
action growing from these judgments.

So, what do we see in the attacks on Romney portrayed in this article? 

No matter what our political position, can we see and go beyond our 
likes and dislikes, beyond those ideas and judgments of praise or 
put downs that arise; to see what we are holding to, to be present 
as this body-mind-moment? What are those quoted and portrayed 
in the article doing?

Do the disagreements and choices arise in the "bigger" container of 
not-praising, not-putting down, in the container of seeing beyond stories 
of self and other? 

What would it be to manifest the Bodhisattva way as political speech and 
action, political disagreements and debates, in these situations?

To aid our reflection, here is a nice quote from a Jewish Chasidic Master, 
the Baal Shem Tov :

"Fear builds walls to bar the light." 

Though light is not barred, for the fearful it seems barred.

(c) 2012 Elihu Genmyo Smith