Who Would Buddha Vote For? Who Cares?

I’m going to vote tomorrow.

It doesn’t matter, but just in case you’re wondering, I plan to vote Democrat and, on local issues, I’ll vote mainly for the so-called “progressive” options. It’s not that I like the Democratic Party. It’s just that I feel that the current administration needs a healthy opposition in order to restore something like balance to the American political situation.

My political choices have nothing at all to do with Buddhism.

They’re not informed by Buddhist ideals, they don’t reflect the values of the Buddhist lineage, I’m not voting as I think the Buddha would, and you certainly should not vote for something just because I’m going to.

I couldn’t care less who others in the world of American Buddhism think I should vote for or what causes the leading Buddhist magazines think are worth supporting. Why would anyone imagine that just because someone’s a Buddhist they have any idea who or what to vote for? That’s as bad as thinking that some auto-tuned manufactured-by-committee pop star’s opinion on politics is worth listening to.

When people try to tell you who their God or Savior or long-dead Enlightened Master would support in the latest political popularity contest, all they’re doing is trying to project their own egos onto the giant sized image of some legendary figure or deity. Nothing could be worth less than that kind of advice.

A very famous Buddhist leader recently wrote, “As Buddhists we have much to offer. We must contribute our clear insights, special contemplative tools, and compelling moral convictions in the task of transforming and uplifting our society and the world.”

Ugh! Trying to massage the egos of self-identified Buddhists in the hopes that they’ll vote the way you want them to is such an ugly and crass thing to do. It makes me ashamed to even be involved with Buddhism at all.

Yeah. I’m gonna vote. Maybe you should too. But when you vote, vote for what you believe is right. Don’t listen to those who want to influence you. Pay attention to the actual issues and the specific candidates. And educate yourself about what those you oppose are really saying instead of listening to one-sided arguments that try to make you feel like a hero against a world of drooling cartoon villains.

That’s my advice anyway.

But don’t forget my other piece of advice, which is, don’t take the political advice of Buddhist teachers.


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