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Lions Roar : January 2009
SHAMBHALA SUN JANUARY 2009 17 Letters to the Editor THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE In the article, “The Meaning of Ba- rack Obama,” (November, 2008) Charles Johnson states, “If his campaign fails, it may well be for the reason Charles M. Blow identified in an op-ed piece in the New York Times: the inabil- ity of American voters to “let go” of the illusion of race.” As a voter who is not en- thralled with either presidential candidate, I was surprised to discover that my choice (still unknown to me) has already been judged. Apparently, if I choose not to vote for Obama, I am a victim of my own “il- lusion of race.” Is it possible to consider that I might make my choice based solely on my perception of the candidates’ policies and/or governing abilities? If I am interpreting Mr. Johnson’s article correctly, if I choose not to vote for Barack Obama, I “do not want to evolve beyond the ancient stupidity and er- ror of epidermalizing the world...” I find that kind of across-the-board judgment demeaning. I am very aware that some Americans will vote against Barack Obama for no reason other than the fact he is the son of an African man. That is sad for them, and that is sad for us as a country. However, Mr. Johnson, please open your heart and mind to the reality that there are other reasons, beyond col- or, that will ultimately be the determining factor for many voters. Susan Cunningham Overland Park, Kansas IF YOU CAN’T SAY ANYTHING NICE I never in my wildest dreams thought I would see a political endorsement in your magazine. I am shocked at the unfairness of the article “The Mean- ing of Barack Obama.” Couldn’t you manage to say anything good about John McCain? I will not renew my subscription again. Sharon O’Sullivan Charlotte, North Carolina IS BUDDHISM LIBERAL? I suspect that most of your readers are, like me, Barack Obama supporters with gen- erally liberal views. I’m in- terested in why that is. Some people argue that it’s a natural reflection of Buddhist values, while other people say it’s just an accident of history, because the baby boom generation that came to Buddhism was generally liberal and antiwar. My opinion is that Buddhism’s emphasis on loving- kindness and putting others first naturally leads us to want a more liberal, i.e. more caring, society. In terms of foreign policy, the teachings on interdependence and emptiness help us take a less dualistic view that doesn’t harden into fixed “friends” and “enemies.” This is the more cosmopolitan, twenty-first century world- view that Charles Johnson describes in his essay on Obama. It isn’t weakness or softness, as some might claim. In fact, it is a much more skillful way to advance American interests. There is certainly a place in Buddhism for con- servative positions, and I would welcome a reasoned discussion between Buddhist liberals and conserva- tives. But that is very different from the aggression and know-nothingism that is currently dominating the American right. Robert Hodgson Oakland, California HEART-TO -HEART First, congratulations, Andrea Miller, on your recent marriage. You state in your editorial (November, 2008) that you are surrendering to the possibility that your marriage might break your heart and, yes, it certainly will. Hopefully you will dive into the painful depths of your being with your husband and use that pain to deepen your connection and experience true love. John Welwood’s article in the same issue, “Intimate Relationship as a Spiritual Crucible,” was inspiring to ILLUSTRATIONBYALANGORDON