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Surviving Elections à la Buddha

Columnists
Election years are years of melodrama. Whenever the presidential election circles around, I swear I can measure in decibels and number of arguments how much scrappier we all become. A deluge of unkind television ads, radio rants, and vitriolic op-ed pieces fill the air. We’re exposed to so much mean-spiritedness that it seems to crawl under our own skins, somehow making us more mean-spirited as well. I watch opinions harden, including my own, and most of us say them out loud more often, since that’s what everybody else seems to be doing. In my family, I’m always struck by how we argue about small things more often. No one is safe.Invariably, a family member will say, “Let’s turn off the television, and leave the radio on the classical music station until it’s all over.” But curiosity always kills the cat. Even in a media blackout, we still hear about the election’s goings-on from friends, on street corners, or in the line at the grocery store. And we want to know. At least I do. This is my country, after all. And like most everyone, I want to be proud of it — and of us. I want political leaders who will …

Geri Larkin is the founder and former head teacher of Still Point Zen Buddhist Temple, a Zen meditation center in the heart of inner-city Detroit. She is the author of many books including Stumbling Toward EnlightenmentBuilding a Business the Buddhist Way,Tap Dancing in ZenFirst You Shave Your Head, and The Still Point Dhammapada


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