Thursday, November 11, 2004

Thursday, November 11

I saw your picture on the front pages of the Los Angeles Times this morning--not an unusual event, I have to say. The thing is, always when I see your picture, it strikes me that no matter how tough you pose, you never quite manage to escape that little-boy-lost look. There you were, introducing Al Gonzales, your new Attorney General, and he was upfront in the picture, speaking out, and you were just a shoulder-width behind him, with that not-sure-whether-to-smile-or-or-look-serious expression on your face (the one that all too often turns into that famous smirk) and looking, well, frankly, kind of lost. As though you were in some Alice-in-Wonderland reality of your own.
Which brings me to what really worries me--for us out here, as well as for you: my judgment is that you're way out of your depth, struggling valiantly to keep your head above water in a world that constantly amazes you for not being what you'd imagined it to be. I realize that's a judgment, and whenever I come up with one of those I have to wonder what deep inner truth it has to tell me about myself. And I confess that I have that little boy wandering about inside me, always offended by an unsympathetic and intolerant world. But then, Bush, I'm not the most powerful leader in the world. You are.
While we're on this subject, there's another thing I need you to know about me: I have a daily meditation practice. Following my teacher's instruction, I try to start out each day's sit with the metta practice of goodwill. It's the core of compassion. We spread thoughts of goodwill to ourselves first, then to those closest to us, to those we know and like, and those we know and don't like, before reaching out to all living creatures. I have to tell you, Bush, in honesty, you are the first person who comes to mind in the "don't like" category. Because you and I disagree so strongly, it's a big stretch for me to try to see things from your point of view and exercise compassion, but I do make that effort, every single day.
What terrifies me more than the terrorists is my own judgment that you are so certain about the rightness of your own point of view that you are unable to embrace the point of view of others. This is what compassion is all about. During this past election, you came back to calling yourself a "compassionate conservative." That's what I need to see in you. True compassion.
Just so you know, today's my anniversary. My wife and I have been married for thirty-two years. How's that for family values?

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