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:
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?