secret admirer

When I walked out to my car tonight after working my part-time job at the local YMCA, I found a note under my driver’s-side windshield wiper blade. Just before I dislodged it from its resting place, I had a boyish hope that it might say something like, “I think you’re hot. Here’s my number. Call me!” Or something like that. Not that I would, of course. I’m happily married and just celebrated my ten-year wedding anniversary, thank you very much. My fantasies evaporated when I found, written on a dirty, stained, ragged piece of paper, the following note: “Dear Liberal Time To Scrape Off The Kerry Sticker. You Lost! P.S. Global Warming Remedy: All Liberals Stop Breathing NOW!” First let me say that I do have a Kerry/Edwards bumper sticker on my car, along with a few others that peg me as a bleeding-heart pinko Commie. I have a “Share The Road” sticker, as well as a Howard Dean sticker, and a sticker I bought when I visited Walden Pond that has a quote from Thoreau that reads, “Surely joy is the condition of life.” Not for my secret admirer however. From the tone of his note (I’m assuming it’s a “he.” Even Anne Coulter wouldn’t waste her time defacing my ancient Accord), I think my friend the note-writer must be a very angry person. Angry at all the liberals in the world that are making his life so miserable. But I’m certain that even if all the liberals were to take his advice and stop breathing tomorrow, he’d still be angry. Why? Because the source of his anger doesn’t come from liberals or any other entity outside himself. It comes from within. That’s really where all our anger comes from, even though we spend a great deal of emotional capital blaming everyone else for our troubles. It comes from our unsatisfactoriness with life, which more than two thousand years ago The Buddha correctly identified as human beings’ primary affliction. And it’s still true today. The Pali word is dukkha. Suffering. We make so much suffering for ourselves, don’t we? People tend to think that if only certain thorns could be removed from their collective sides, they would suddenly be happy. I hear this a lot from people who are always complaining that their taxes are too high. “If only my taxes were lower, then I could finally be happy.” But even if they moved to New Hampshire or Montana, or any other place where they don’t have any taxes, or speed limits, or flouridated water, they would still be unhappy. I’m sorry that I couldn’t confront my pen pal face-to-face. I hope I could show him that you can’t judge someone by their bumper stickers. I talked in an earlier post about loving your neighbor and radiating metta, lovingkindess, to all people. I’d like to tell him that we probably have more in common as human beings than we think. There are too many people, liberals and conservatives alike, who are walking around in this country with so much anger bunched up inside them, straining to get out. Some of my liberal friends hate our president so much that they can barely sleep at night. All this anger solves nothing. Until we remove the root cause of our collective anger, we will never realize true peace. I’d like to tell my friend that even though he might be a “conservative,” whatever that means, I would still try to save him if he were drowning, or help him if his car had a flat tire, or give him a few dollars if he were hungry and needed to buy a sandwich and a cup of coffee. Why? Because he is a human being, just like me, who doesn’t want to suffer, and who desires happiness. Even though I think that in this day and age people who deny the truth of global warming should join the Flat Earth Society, I would still try to help him if he were suffering. Can’t we disagree about political issues without scribbling angry notes and shoving them under each other’s wipers? Can’t we be on opposite sides of the aisle but still love one another as Americans? I truly hope so, or this country is finished.

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2 comments

  1. Isamama

    Well said. It is increasingly clear that we live in an angry time. In an angry world. Everyone – liberals included – is looking for someone to blame and few people are willing to step up and take responsibility for their actions. We have become uber labelers.

    I watched “Look Who Is Coming For Dinner” last week and it was fascinating to me that while we may have come a long way in racial issues…(or, have we?)…we are really right back in the middle of that time in society where segregation was acceptable…even lauded.

  2. henry

    Thanks for your comments. It seems that not only are there overt political forces that are making us angry, but less easily-defined subconscious causes as well. The complexity of our world today, the constant bombardment of our senses by bad news and advertising, and the hectic pace at which most of us live all contribute, I think, to this pervading sense of frustration. But it’s not all or even most of the time bad. I have to believe that the joyful, peaceful moments of our lives will always outweigh the bad ones.

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