Thursday, November 04, 2004

An "Engaged Buddhist" Approach to the Ascendancy of the Right

I have been continuing to think about the election, and its aftermath, and what needs to be done to address the real threats posed by the ascendancy of the right in this country.

These threats are real - they are threats to religious freedom and freedom of conscience in general, as well as threats to the saftey, well-being, and prosperity of the people and the commonweal. Here is a good example of what we're facing.

The approach?

We cannot just say, "This is what we're facing!" "Those bad people!" "Those uncaring 'Christians'!" We need to make sure a) people like that woman get something of value from us, that b) she can stand on her own two feet as a result of tangible policies that are due to us, and that c) people in crisis situations, like hers, are taken care of much better than is being done through her "faith based" charity handouots. (That has always been the problem with "faith based" charity handouts, and is why we had the government assume a role in it in the first place!) So, my question to those on Kos is, "Why not do something for her?"

But I digress slightly.

Why is that an engaged Buddhist approach?

Because - if done right- it's done with no strings attached, save for those that would be expected in brushing up that woman's "life skills." It would be done without thought of religion or ideology - it would just be done.

A Buddhist approach would be "non-partisan," in the sense that no "loyalty oaths" would be required, nor Buddhist (nor progressive) indoctrination. It would however, use techniques borrowed elsewhere to be self-propagating.

Now, some folks who may have wandered in from other blogs might ask, "What's this got to do with the Buddhist worldview?"

Good question. To alleviate suffering, it's useful to cultivate wisdom, compassion, and generoisty in a concrete way. By reaching out and helping people who need it- especially if they are conservatives- we indeed help cultivate such wisdom, compassion and generosity. We will, if these steps are taken, address the ascendancy of the right, and its attendant problems of war, intolerance, hatred, greed, and so forth. But these steps will take time.

Any questions?

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