Behavior unbecoming


If one declares one faith openly, as I have done, you set yourself up as an example of a Buddhist/Christian/Pagan/Muslim/Hindu, etc to others who do not share your faith.  For myself, most of the time, I really strive to exemplify those qualities that drew me to Buddhism – compassion, equanimity, wisdom, and patience.  Which is not to say I run around being Miss Polly Perfect.  I’m not.  I fall short on many many fronts of the Bodhisattva ideal.  But, still, I try to maintain enough mindfulness that my behavior doesn’t cause people around me to go “damn, if this is what meditation and Buddha’s teachings does for you, that must be one jacked up religion.”

Yet, when it comes to Sarah Palin, I am having a really, really hard time showing any restraint in the rabid dislike I have for that woman.  Sure, I could logically argue all the ways I disagree with her policies and beliefs, but, my dislike for her way goes beyond that.  It’s almost primal because it feels that deep and hard wired.

The boyfriend is very political.  With the exception of the adorably gnomish Dennis Kucinich, he believes all politicians are completely corrupt and no doubt engaged in some sort of conspiracy.  I’m always the one talking him down off the ledge whenever he goes into some political rant.  And watching the news with him? Let’s just say I learned that lesson early on and rarely will we watch the news because I know he’ll start yelling at the TV.  Politically, for the most part I agree with him.  Yet he takes the attacks to a whole other level:

Dick Cheney appears on the TV screen.  The Lazy Buddhist (LB) tries to grab the remote to change the channel before The Boyfriend (TBF) notices the presence of Darth Vice President.

TBF: Wait! Let’s hear what that pedophile has to say.
LB: You’re only going to start yelling at the TV.  And where did you  get that Cheney is a pedophile?  He may be a lot of things, but I think calling him a pedophile only serves to discredit you.  Argue with his political actions all you want, but spreading unsubstantiated lies does no one any good.   Besides, wasn’t it Kissinger that you said was a pedophile?
TBF: Oh yeah, you’re right.  Cheney just shoots old guys in the face.
LB changes the channel to The Animal Planet
TBF: Damn, those meercats are cute.

The night Sarah Palin gave her acceptance speech, the tables got turned:

LB: $@#%!
TBF: (taken aback) What did you just call her?
LB: That’s right, I called her a $@#%.
TBF: Wow. I don’t think I’ve ever heard you use that word before.
LB:  I. Don’t. Like. Her.
TBF: Well, I’m sure she’s a nice person in real life, I just don’t want her anywhere near the White House.
LB: Why are you defending her?  She’s a #@$%*@%$ #$*@%.
TBF: Do you want to watch the Animal Planet instead?  I bet there are meercats.  You like meercats, right?

People at work shy away from political conversations, which is probably wise.  And the boyfriend does not share my extreme antipathy towards That Woman.  So, it was such a great relief to go watch the debate with a theater full of Obama supporters, many of whom shared my rather extreme dislike of Sarah Palin.  It was cathartic in a way to be able to boo and jeer and laugh without worrying if anyone was going to be offended, or call me out on my lack equanimity.

So, yes, Sarah Palin brings out in me behavior unbecoming a Buddhist.  But, I see it for what it. is: Hi there, really ugly dark corner of my mind, how ya doin’?    I know I promised I wasn’t going to feed you, but here, have a some table scraps.  Now, just promise you’ll behave yourself.  Please?  I’ll let you out and play but only with other Palin bashers and home alone with the TV. OK?



21 responses »

  1. 🙂 Sounds the visceral reaction that I’ve always had towards W. We were actually rather mellow at my house last night. Played Palin Bingo (my friend won) and mostly exchange utterly bemused looks as The Woman spoke. And cheered a lot at Joe. It is fun to watch with like minded souls.

  2. At least Palin is making her own way and not waiting to be told what to do by her man. Of course her politics are very weird but she is a baby soul, or so she appears to be, and so she has some limitations she can’t help.
    AND, BTW…..You would NEVER make it in Utah if you get this enraged over Palin 🙂

  3. Was Palin really McCain’s best bet? Even Arnold Swarznegger inspires more confidence. Surely the whole world should be allowed to vote in the American presidential election? Maybe US citizens should get two votes, but we should get at least one vote. After all, we have to live with the consequences too. Anyway, all I can say is God Help Us All.

  4. That Woman, that $@#%!, strikes me as Ignorance Personified. I’m insulted that McCain and his handlers think she’s an acceptable choice, and even more insulted that she’s so clueless that she accepted the nomination. Being that we tend to dislike traits in others that we dislike (but may not realize we have/do) in ourselves, it seems reasonable that we might buck ragingly against this modern day Mara.

    When my temper flares or I feel critical, I don’t try to stifle it, but watch it, and make the prayer that my mind and actions be like that of Drolma (Tara) who crushes enemies (she’s #7 of the 21)… she kicks ass and takes names, not for the sake of ass-kicking, but to cut down Ignorance like she’s as sharp in word and deed as Jampalyang’s (Manjushri) sword. Compassion and loving-kindness don’t always manifest with a serene look and soft voice. Sometimes it takes eyes blazing with fire and a mean right hook! : ) It all comes down to motivation, yes?

  5. I don’t much about US politics. I will say, unequivocally, that Sarah Palin scares the life out of me. Your unBuddhist ways are supported by many.

  6. Stevo – In some ways it is reassuring that whatever it is that rankles me is indeed big enough and obvious enough for it to translate all the way over to China. It just tells me I’m not crazy.

    TMC – Wordy McWord to your first paragraph. And I hear what you’re saying about compassion not always being soft and fluffy and soothing. But, in my own mind I know that there is nary a good motivation in much of my criticism of Palin. My heart feels cold and mean.

    I think hard ass compassion (aka tough love) has an element of protection in it. And the urge to protect can be result in some pretty fierce actions. Like right now at work, some of my colleagues think I’m being a real bitch in terms of my refusal to bail out the colleague who I wrote about last week (On Liars). My words and my attitude are strong and determined. Yet, when I check my heart, I mean Bess no harm. She needs to learn. And while she may fuss and cry now, I could be teaching her a lesson that may save her her job some day. But with Palin? If I’m having a logical discussion about her policies and beliefs, there is a bit of hard ass compassion there, but soon it starts to go south and next thing I know, I’m in the realm of hatred. And there ain’t nothin’ Buddhist about that.

    Wisdomjunkie – I think you might have something there. If any country declares themselves leaders of the free world, or in general act like their the boss of all the other countries, they have to allow citizens from other countries a say in the election. I’ll mention this to Barack when he’s elected next month. 🙂

    The Other Beth Quist (or in my eyes, the only Beth Quist) – There is a reason I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, you don’t meet many Sarah Palin types here – thankfully.

    I was reading yBonesy’s blog about how weary s/he had grown of all the hatred and negativity in this campaign, and challenged the readers to say something nice about any of the candidates. So for Palin I said “strong, confident women who has both a successful career and a family.” Sure, I threw up in my mouth a little when I typed that, but it is true.

    tpgoddess – My reaction to George W is pretty fierce, but I don’t hate him personally as I seem to with Palin. Years after all this is said and done, I probably wouldn’t mind having a beer with George. Whereas I would never want to be in the same room as Sarah Palin. Ever.

    You played Palin Bingo too? So did we. Of course, there were no prizes, but it was amazing how quickly someone won.

  7. As I mentioned in my comment to you on my blog post about “say something nice…” I, too, feel confounded by my natural tendency to react with fiery passion toward those who scare me (like Palin) and my desire to show compassion, even to her. Things like national elections really test me this way.

    But human nature does prevail, and in the end the Buddhist nature in me says, Just go with it. Let the anger come into me. Don’t judge it as bad or good. It just is. Just don’t let it consume you.

    BTW, your “nice” statement was very nice.

  8. . . . and he moonlites as a backup goalie for the pittsburgh penquins = he shoots he scores he wins ~ only this time most everyone dies. nice planet while it lasted eh?

    eye think that deserves a ‘gosh darnit’ oar two

  9. I think there are two types of conversations that can spark more emotion in people than any others: Religion and Politics. And while I too think calling Cheney a pedophile is a bit over the top, I certainly do not hold any strong emotion for S.P.

    So cheers to you, and to some sort of change in the future.

  10. I saw an article somewhere this week discussing the fact that while most Western convert Buddhists tend to be politically liberal, there’s a pretty broad spectrum of political thought when you look at Buddhism worldwide.

    I, too, have a real aversion or dislike for Palin and the GOP in general. This is driven by the fact that I see the party as a whole as being a very proactive and aggressive agent for injustice and unfairness. That carries over into personal judgements about its representatives. I suppose Republicans saw Ann Richards as being just as bucolic and annoying as I view Gov. Palin.

    Thich Nhat Hanh has written about a meditation/mindfulness practice in which you look at someone you dislike and say to yourself “that person is me.”

    Because, after all, from a Buddhist perspective, there is no ‘me’ or ‘you.’ We are all one thing, and Sarah Palin is as much me as I am me.

    I have done this exercise with people about whom I had no particular opinion and found it helped me to feel a bond with them. But frankly, I have found it difficult to do this exercise with people whom I actually dislike.

  11. eye m sarah palin and eye approve this message ~ u ill half two weight inline since eyem in bondage with the old bald guy with the bad comb over ~ wait a minute = Thatz Me ! ! !

  12. “If one declares one faith openly, as I have done, you set yourself up as an example … ”

    This is one of the advantages of neo-paganism. There’s a whole panoply of gods / practices to choose from. And, if you emphasize deities through the life forms around us (owl as symbol for Athena would be a classical analogy); you can emphasize bio-diversity.

    Some might think I emphasize Bacchus and beer too much. But I plead a bit of deistic ignorance, here. Bacchus is It only because I’ve been deprived of learning more about Teutonic gods of barley, hops, yeast and water. I need more godly research.

    When I retire, I may try to grow my own hops in the garden. I may have to leave out offerings to the demigod of hops. What better than a little brew? As beer kills snails, it could even be a two-fer, and appreciated by the demigods associated with our garden produce, too. (Leefee, goddess of lettuce, thanks us! Because when it comes to garden snails, biodiversity has limits.)

    You see the possibilities.

    If anyone makes an example of this Unitarian-pondering-neo-paganism, it might be for a too frivolous attitude toward the divine.

    To which I say, considering the Sarah Palins of the world, humanity’s approach to the divine might need to lighten up a bit.

  13. “. . . considering the Sarah Palins of the world, humanity’s approach to the divine might need to lighten up a bit.”

    sew house about dis: neo-conservative paganism ? we invade the whole whirld and force them to drink lotsov really good beer ~ then sea if they can re site the pledge of allegiance.

    aye you zooly need to close won eye at dat poynt

    joe 6 pack for sec of state and joe da plumber for HUD !

  14. hi yeyem sjoezixpax ™ n eye approve this meshage ~

    if ya votes fur me i promise not to piss on your lawn

    behavior unbecoming ™

  15. a massage from Joe D Plumber:

    Piss with me I’ll piss with you and so we shall piss together as we march along . . . but itz almost November an that means VOTIN TIME.

    I kinda like the idea of the whole whirld voting for hour prez seein as how s/hez gonna be a fecting everywon ~ but then y’all be payin taxes too eh? now THAT’z watt eye kall a bail out !

  16. eyem Say Rah Pay Lean n eye a prove this massage:

    well gosh darnit dontcha know awls me n my fellow maverick wanna do is make it all better for everybody an get those good feelins for our country back again ~ ya know what eyem sayin ?
    So my solemn pledge to the Amerikin people is that a McPain/Paylean administration will all wayz use plenty of lube ~ bend over Amerika cuz we er comin in – drill baby drill

  17. ax usually eye try to be un bee coming as often as plausible (azif that aint OB vee us all red eye) sew on this special nite for u n yers (dont 4 get to check yer drawers) herez hopin that ya sleep tite 2 nite

    c ya in the morn ing 4 a merry ka = HA !

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