Category Archives: Politics

Civil Rights Steps Forward and Back

July 2013 This past month has seen some major progress in the United States around civil rights for LGBTQ people, while at the same time the erosion of the Voting Rights Act is a cause for concern around civil rights of people of color. Dharma practice calls on us to see what is really true, and to step out of delusion. On the Voting Rights Act, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg writes in the dissent:”40 years has not been sufficient time to eliminate the vestiges of discrimination following nearly 100 years of racial discrimination” and ““Throwing out preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet,” indicating that to believe racism is not still at work in politics in these places and that these policies are no longer needed is believing a delusion. (see p 16 & 17 of her dissent for examples). So the work continues.

Meanwhile on the Prop 8 case, dismissed on standing, Chief Justice John Roberts finds that the plaintiffs could cite “no particular or personal injury” that would happen to them if same-sex couples were allowed to marry. That is, their objections and society’s fears around this are a fiction. The decision thus remains with each individual state, but since 81% of 18-29 year olds think it is no big deal, it is only a matter of time before there is justice on gay civil rights (after a lot of hard work along the way, of course). Meanwhile same-sex marriage is still illegal in 37 states, and you can still be fired for being LGBTQ in 29 states, which is why we need the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), so this work also continues.

Presidential Inauguration and Equality

Feb 2013  I had the opportunity to attend the Presidential Inauguration last month, which was the first time I have done such a thing. It was inspiring to be standing on the lawn of the Capitol and to hear the President laying out a vision for America: “We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths—that all of us are created equal—is the star that guides us still, just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall, just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall….It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began.  For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law — for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.” Out of compassion and wisdom, may it be so.

Mindful Politics?!?

Mar 2012 I had the opportunity to meet Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio this past month, who is a US Congressman who is advocating for mindfulness as part of the solution to our nations problems. Yes, I am serious, an American politician who is embracing mindfulness! He just wrote a book called “A Mindful Nation”. Along with other mentions of mindfulness these past few months in the NYT, Psychology Today, Scientific American, and more, mindfulness seems to be emerging in mainstream discourse as a topic worthy of discussion. All aboard the mindfulness train in the 21st century!