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.