Friday, September 5, 2008

Lessons from Kanga and Roo

Out of curiosity I was watching the RNC last night for a little bit after the Washington-NY football game had just finished. The convention is being held Mpls-St.Paul where I lived for 25 years before making my way north, and I wanted to see what kind of speaker McCain is. The husband had watched Sarah Palin the night before for the same reason. We watched for fifteen or twenty minutes then called it a night.

So why am I bringing up the 2008 Presidential Campaign on a yoga blog? Well, as Kanga said to little Roo, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” I think we all learned this in kindergarten. I couldn’t help but think back on the blog I posted on Satya (truthfulness).

I had stated, "Buddhism, for example, has Right Speech, meaning ones actions should be absent of false-hoods, harsh words and useless chatter. Non-violence and truthfulness go hand in hand. Can you be truthful without harming in speech and action? Can you observe without being judgmental? Useless chatter - gossip perhaps? While the target of idle talk may never hear, it is still harmful to be speaking about another in a negative manner."

So why is it okay for our potential political leaders at all levels - from city, county, state all the way up to national levels, to be verbally bashing their opponents? I feel so bombarded and mired down in half-truths, untruths and negativity that I just want to move to Canada! An argument could be made that this is what makes the United States political process so great - the freedom to say what you want. Free speech at its finest.

I had also tuned into MPR, which is very enthusiastically covering the DNC and RNC, but the bit I came upon was the author of the Politifact website talking to the MPR host about the ‘truths and falsehoods’ in the speeches. Now this was fascinating! There is a website where someone is checking the facts behind the bold statements in all the speeches. There is a little meter that shows how true or false something is and an explanation why.

But all cool websites aside, what I would really love to see, is a campaign - any campaign! - where not once do the opposing candidates say a bad thing about the other person. To focus solely on what they have done or intend to do. Now wouldn’t that be inspiring? As practitioners of yoga, we strive to speak and behave with truthfulness and non-violence. Practitioners of Buddhism work toward Right Speech, which should be absent of falsehoods, harsh words and useless chatter. We try and teach our children to “play nice”. We frown upon bullying of any kind. So why is it okay in a political arena? I don’t think gentle and wise Kanga would approve.

Grounding Through the Sitbones has a somewhat related and very interesting post this week.

1 comment:

Brenda Plakans said...

Boy, we're all thinking about this right now, aren't we. It's hard not to fall into a trap of sneering, but it gets so tiresome. I'm afraid the sucess of all the reality TV shows makes politicians think what everyone wants to see is mean cracks and low blows...

Thanks for the link!