Democrats & Liberals Archives

Bush Honors Dalai Lama

In my last post I blasted President George W. Bush. In today’s post I come to praise him. Despite the tantrum performed by the Chinese leaders, Bush and Congress invited the Dalai Lama to accept the Congressional Gold Medal and the president presented it to him with effusive praise.

When the president worked for the "culture of life" while favoring the death penalty, he left me cold. When he proclaimed the need for spreading democracy around the world while getting close to Saudi Arabian and Pakistani dictators, he left me cold. When he advocated faith-based activities and used them to build the Republican Party, he left me cold. But today, when he disregards the urgings of Chinese officials and honors the Dalai Lama, he fills me with warmth.

The Chinese are unhappy. In the midst of their great party congress, the U.S. honors the Dalai Lama. The Chinese think this is terrible:

"China is strongly resentful of and resolutely opposes this and has made solemn representation to the U.S. side," Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said in a comment carried today by the official Xinhua News Agency.

"We seriously urged the U.S. side to correct such wrongdoing and stop interfering in China's internal affairs in any forms," Liu said.

Contrast that with what the president said. He called the Dalai Lama a:

universal symbol of peace and tolerance, a shepherd of the faithful and a keeper of the flame for his people.... America cannot look to the plight of the religiously oppressed and close their eyes or turn away.

Everything the president said about the Dalai Lama is true. From my point of view, the Dalai Lama is the greatest spiritual leader the world has. Here is what he has said that makes me think so. Though I have quoted this before, it is worthwhile quoting again:

For what is religion? As far as I am concerned, any deed done with good motivation is a religious act. On the other hand, a gathering of people in a temple or church who do not have good motivation are not performing a religious act when they pray together.

This tells me a lot. It says that whatever you do with reference to God is unimportant to him. He doesn't care whether you are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist or anything else. He does not care whether you worship, how you worship and how frequently you worship God. To the Dalai Lama you are a human being deserving of respect, understanding and compassion - regardless of the religion you profess and even if you profess no religion.

He not only says these things he works diligently to achieve harmony and peace among antagonistic nations. He bears no grudge against China and seeks only reconciliation. He has spent lots of time in the Middle East trying to bring Palestinians and Israelis together. He has spoken out in favor of peace everywhere.

I am not a Buddhist. I am a Jew but am not very religious. Yet I consider the Dalai Lama the greatest spritual leader of our time. He does not take on airs. He does not profess to have found the truth. He does not say he is right and everyone else is wrong. He is the essence of compassion - to all people on earth.

I am happy that Congress and President George W. Bush honored the Dalai Lama. This act can do more to fight terrorism than a slew of military actions. It demonstrates to the world what the true values of America are.

The news article says that pictures of Bush making the presentation will not be available. This is unfortunate. We should not allow the Chinese to prevent us from acting as Americans. I hope they do make the pictures available so that President Bush and the Dalai Lama can be seen together on the front page of every newspaper in the world.

Let the world know that America agrees with the Dalai Lama on the need for compassion.

Posted by Paul Siegel at October 17, 2007 9:00 PM
Comments
Comment #236384

I have nothing but respect for the Dalai Lama. He is among very few spiritual leaders who has a lifetime of published works, and has demonstrated a mastery of being both critical and inspirational simultaneously. What you’ll find in reading his works are that they are exactly like how he speaks, unless he is specifically speaking about Buddhism, his focus encompasses all spirituality.

It was truly fantastic to see him honored in such a way.

The problem that I have is in the over-glorification of Bush for merely approving and presenting the award on behalf of congress, and the over-glorification of congress for doing something that to most, amounts to nothing more than common sense.

It was a good choice. Perhaps not a very controversial one, but a very fine choice nonetheless. The fact that it took seventeen years of lobbying congress in order that they could make this fine, but obvious choice, somewhat limits the amount of pride I have for them.

Posted by: DOC at October 18, 2007 1:57 AM
Comment #236388

Its kind of like Mussolini honoring Mahatma Gandhi. The irony is too great for expression.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 18, 2007 4:04 AM
Comment #236395

Sorry to sound so cynical, but I find it curious that a Fundamentalist Christian is “honoring” a leader of a “pagan” religion.
I think this is more about Bush sticking his thumb in China’s eye, than it is about honoring a man who has more spirituality in his little finger, than Bush has in his whole administration.

Posted by: Rocky at October 18, 2007 8:09 AM
Comment #236410

I am very pleased also with the U.S. Congress honoring the Dalai Lama for his efforts in promoting world peace. I think the Nobel committee made a mistake with their Peace Award this year and it should have gone to this peaceful man rather than AlGore. I thought the President handled this presentation well. He honored the man without intentionally inflaming the Chinese. Would this not have been the way the Dalai Lama would have preferred?

Posted by: JIm at October 18, 2007 11:28 AM
Comment #236413

Paul,

Let me agree with you on the action of the president and congress concerning the Dalai Lama.

On a personal note, it is very gracious of you to give props to those who deserve them.

I am very saddened by the “Hate Bush for ANYTHING he does” crowd and their distinct lack of graciousness.

Let me state here and now for the record, that if Nancy Pelosi, Teddy Kennedy, Harry Reid or any of the other lunatic fringe radical liberal crowd does something that should be lauded, I will try to be the first to do so.

Paul, you have set an example and inspired me to give credit where credit is due in my posts.

Posted by: Jim T at October 18, 2007 11:39 AM
Comment #236419

Jim T

“I am very saddened by the “Hate Bush for ANYTHING he does” crowd and their distinct lack of graciousness.”

I for one don’t feel the need to be included in your judgement.

Just as with the Turkish/Armenian resolution, if there ever was a wrong time to do the right thing this is it.
Right now America needs all the support the world has to give, and the Chinese are pissed over this.

There is a bigger picture here and those that would be “gracious” are missing it.

Posted by: Rocky at October 18, 2007 1:04 PM
Comment #236425

Rocky,

You said…

“Right now America needs all the support the world has to give, and the Chinese are pissed over this.”

On the negative side, China may be pissed enough to stop helping us with North Korea.

On the positive side, I HOPE they are pissed enough to stop trying to kill our children by exporting lead coated toys.

Posted by: Jim T at October 18, 2007 3:11 PM
Comment #236428

Jim T,

“On the positive side, I HOPE they are pissed enough to stop trying to kill our children by exporting lead coated toys.”

Oh, come on Jim. This is a joke, right?
Surely it must be, as it defies any sort of logic.

Are these toys illegal to manufacture?
Are they illegal to manufacture in China?

If we don’t want these toys in this country I would suggest that we make damn sure they’re stopped at the point of entry.
I also would suggest that it is the greed of the manufacturer, ie; Matel, etc, that has made these toys so popular in this country.

If you want your children to live long and happy lives, then don’t buy toys made in China.

Posted by: Rocky at October 18, 2007 3:52 PM
Comment #236429

As Speaker Pelosi pointed out,the Dalai Lama’s ability to bring peace and reonciliation even brought peace to Washington. First time in a long time I was proud of our country with Bush present.

Posted by: BillS at October 18, 2007 4:05 PM
Comment #236432

JIm said - “I think the Nobel committee made a mistake with their Peace Award this year and it should have gone to this peaceful man rather than AlGore.”

The Nobel committee made no mistake. In fact, they made the right choice in awarding the Peace Award to the Dalai Lama for the same set of accomplishments, in 1989.

Posted by: DOC at October 18, 2007 4:17 PM
Comment #236443

Sorry DOC, my error. Jim.

Posted by: Jim at October 18, 2007 6:32 PM
Comment #236447

Rocky,

You asked…

“Are these toys illegal to manufacture?”

Yes, in the US.

“Are they illegal to manufacture in China?”

Probably not. China doesn’t care about polluting the environment on a massive scale…why should they care about killing American children with lead paint to make a buck or two?

“If we don’t want these toys in this country I would suggest that we make damn sure they’re stopped at the point of entry.”

Good idea. Really good idea. But stopping lead painted toys at the point of entry is only step one. Holding the Chinese manufacturer legally liable and levying massive fines against those that would import toys that cause massive brain damage and death would be another hand-in-hand step.

“If you want your children to live long and happy lives, then don’t buy toys made in China.”

Best advice of all. In a capitalist society, the refusal to buy a certain piece of merchandise will cause as much or more damage than fines or legal entanglements.

Posted by: Jim T at October 18, 2007 6:59 PM
Comment #236455

The Dalai Lama is just a man. He is one of the world’s better persons by any religion’s moral or ethical standards, but, still, just a man. Religions and human populations mostly revere persons of peace, persons of compassion, persons who role model the behavior we would like all persons to emulate. Such a person was Jesus, which is why Islam regards Jesus as a prophet of God. The Dalai Lama is such a person.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 18, 2007 8:47 PM
Comment #236488

What a good time to do this in any case. Whilst China supports an oppressive military junta in nearby Burma, they get the light shone on them about Tibet.
That’s a human rights double whammy right before the Olympics in Beijing ‘08

Just a thought anyway

Posted by: MyPetGoat at October 19, 2007 4:14 PM
Comment #236492

MPG,

The light has been shone on Tibet for decades. There were concerts in the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s, to “Free Tibet”. Anyone over the age of 25 that knows nothing about Tibet hasn’t been paying attention.

Posted by: Rocky at October 19, 2007 5:22 PM
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