sitting on the edge of the sandbox, biting my tongue

March 16, 2011

Obama: Our First Zen President

Filed under: politics, society — Tags: , — edge of the sandbox @ 4:30 am

No, I don’t mean that Barack Obama is a secret Zen Buddhist.  He is our first Zen President the way Clinton was our first Black President, which is to say, not very.  As far as I know Barack Obama is not the trying to attain enlightenment through meditation.  He is a “white person’s” Zen Buddhist.  “White people” like religions their parents don’t belong to, especially if they do not seem to require much from them. In real life Zen is quite demanding, but “white people” like the chill aspect they see in Zen.  Sit back, relax, watch the world go by.  Pretend you are meditating.

(OK, I’m not being fair to my race.  Leonard Cohen is a dedicated Buddhist.  Youngish Bay Area Jews like to blend meditation with their own Judaic practices.  There are white monks in the Buddhist monastery in my town.)

Unlike Islam, Buddhism intrigues “white people”.  (I thought I’d throw that one in there.)  Not surprisingly there were quite a few attempts to paint Obama in Zen terms by his white groupies.  For some reason the media played up the Zen angle during the White House visit of a Laker’s coach Phil JacksonAll sorts of sycophants congratulate Obama on being a Zen Master of sorts.  And then there is this from Puffington Host:

Fortunately, Obama is delivering. In fact, it has become ever more noticeable to me what a different leader he is than any other I have witnessed in my lifetime. This was particularly showcased recently when he attended the Summit of the Americas.

Reading about his trip, it became clear to me: Obama is practicing some serious Zen. No, he did not sit cross-legged at a Zen center during his visit, but he embodied the spirit of Zen, and arguably all major religions, by extending a hand to those that have been viewed as enemies of the U.S in the past, including the outspoken Hugo Chavez of Venezuela.

Now, I am not necessarily a big fan of Hugo Chavez, nor am I against him, but the fact that Obama shook his hand was not to me, as others suggest, a statement that, “I agree with everything you stand for,” but instead expressed, “I acknowledge you as a leader of your country, one that we may not always agree with, but with which we have a relationship. I see you.” The Zen of Obama in this situation was to open a door, to see Chavez, and to do what he could from his side to support a healthy engagement.


New York Times: Obama’s Zen State, Well, It’s Hawaiian.

In the words of Ed Norton Obama’s Presidential Campaign is “So Zen”:

Norton was impressed with the “calm,” “no-drama Obama.” The actor continued, “And in a weird way, when you look behind the curtain with that team, they are really zen. It’s amazing how zen they are.”

I have to say, though, Obama was only “So Zen” when the course of event satisfied him.  Otherwise, he’s go into a meltdown mode.  And, oh, he does have an enemies list.  That said, he seems mighty detached these days.  The Middle East is blowing up, budget needs to be passed, gas prices are through the roof, Japan needs our help, and there he is, the President of the United States, “calm” and “no-drama.”  Observing.  Filling out brackets. Someday many years from now he will look back at these events and think: “What were these four years?”


  1. Welcome back!

    “I see you,” Chavez.

    barf, that bit of HuffPo is so nauseating that I don’t dare click over.

    Comment by nooneofanyimport — March 16, 2011 @ 1:17 pm

  2. Michelle Obama has a stunningly low approval rating with white people. Though they didnt seem that angered when …Do we honestly believe that most Americans would question Cindy McCains patriotism if she said the same exact thing as Michelle Obama? If you think that doesnt make a difference in peoples perception youre crazy or not being honest with yourself…By the way Barack Obama didnt do that much better with white folks which is also disconcerting.

    Comment by business review — March 31, 2011 @ 2:14 pm

    • If Cindy McCain said “America is a downright mean country,” then, yes, people would see her as unpatriotic. You are comparing things that MO did to things that CM didn’t do, which is a bit silly.
      I’m surprised by the sky high approval rate of BHO among the black people. They are the ones who have to bare the brunt of the recession prolonged by BHO’s policies, but they generally vote Democratic. BHO’s abysmal standing among whites is mostly due to decline of popularity among independents who once gave him their votes. Frankly, I don’t understand how anybody at this point can be not disappointed by him. I don’t understand how hundreds of thousands are not lining up the streets to protest the illegal war for oil, for instance.
      But hey! It’s my first troll post! I made it!

      Comment by edgeofthesandbox — March 31, 2011 @ 3:38 pm

      • ha ha ha ha! Celebrating your first troll, just like WORMme did the other week.

        I don’t know how you people avoided ’em so long. I acquired a real stubborn pest of a troll on like, my SECOND post or something. I’ll always be indebted to Level Head for chasing that guy off.

        Anyway, wooo hoooo! Welcome to the big leagues, Missy lady!

        Comment by nooneofanyimport — March 31, 2011 @ 5:54 pm

    • Oh, save some typing next time, and say what you really mean:


      (make sure you get 6 a’s in there. it’s important.)

      Comment by nooneofanyimport — March 31, 2011 @ 5:55 pm

      • The more a’s the better.
        …I actually considered doing a separate post “Welcome trolls!” but spent the whole morning blowing bubbles. Spring had arrived, finally!
        I have to come up with a comment policy just in case…

        Comment by edgeofthesandbox — March 31, 2011 @ 9:17 pm

  3. wow what a dick you must be, and how shallow and pathetic your daily life to take so many of your few working brain cells to type out this screed of non-sense, like some monkey trying to write Shakespeare…my guess is you wouldn’t know authenticity if it hit your dumb ass upside the head with a 2×4…srsly why do ALL you Repiglickers seem have such a fearful, angry, twisted, delusional view of reality? My money says it’s some sort of genetic deficiency that will be sorted out by evolution…and it can’t come soon enough, meanwhile just keep fuckin’ THAT chicken

    Comment by joe — January 25, 2012 @ 2:07 pm

    • Dear “joe”,
      Who knew people still look up “obama zen master”? Today I learned that if they do look it up, my blog comes up on top.
      You too are very Zen.

      Comment by edge of the sandbox — January 25, 2012 @ 2:23 pm

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