Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Congressional Gold Medal to Dalai Lama

We've turned some sort of corner. Bush ignored the fury of the Chinese and gave the Congressional Gold Medal to the Dalai Lama. It's all symbolic but I take it as an encouraging symbol. For years officials would not even meet with His Holiness because everyone was quaking and quivering least the Chinese not want to let us make use of their cheap labor and not let us sell stuff to the needy masses. Well, a few things have changed -- this is my observation, not something I've read in any one place -- but now the capitalists have seen that the Chinese do not know the meaning of intellectual property. They happily rip off every American consumer goody from Nikes to Viagra, they are glad to sell us shoddy plastic toys and to cover them in bright lead-based paint. They are delighted to sell us tons of farm raised fish and seafood, all delightfully laced with mercury and various other toxic chemicals since clean waters are not known in the booming China. They don't care what kind of chemicals go into the toothpaste they sell and are busy copying the best golf clubs and tennis rackets in the cheapest materials, not to mention all the movies and music they gladly rip off even before they hit the American movie theatres.

I don't for an instant think the Bush administration cares that the Tibetan culture is being stamped out systematically and that the prisons are full of dissident lamas and nuns who are tortured [we know a thing or two about torture ourselves, don't we?] I don't for an instant think most people in Washington have a clue what Buddhism is about and I don't believe anyone feels any more compassion for the Tibetan cause than they do for the cause of the water-deprived Navajo and Hopis [no, we'll divert it to fake Venetian canals in Las Vegas and to the movie stars' pools in Los Angeles]. But, an arm or two got twisted and a little voice whispered in some important ears that an awful lot of American voters actually admire the Dalai Lama, actually think his stand for peace in the world is a extremely admireable. Yes, a pure heart and a right thiniking mind are a fine combination but sometimes it's the overt action that sends the message. And this message is the right one to send to China as some of their leaders get shuffled around. So much is wrong in the world; how wonderful when something is right!

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