Sunday, April 26, 2009

His Holiness the Dalai Lama visits UCSB

I've been lucky enough in my four years here at UCSB to see some amazing artists and speakers. From Allen Toussaint and Randy Newman, to Jon Stewart, the Clintons and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Each have meant something special to me, though none have carried the weight, and sheer mystery, that His Holiness the Dalai Lama has. I'm currently reading The Book of Dead Philosophers (a great read for anyone interested in the roots of philosophy, and quite a bit of English wit), and what caught me was how the Dalai Lama represents something eternal, a living relic of a philosophy that, while still practiced by hundreds of millions, is nonetheless absent from Western society. Watching him walk out to a silenced audience, taking his seat, removing his shoes and sitting cross legged on a couch, I was struck at his massive presence. For many he is sacred, for most in our society he's a symbol of a different world, a leader of a government-in-exile by a Communist behemoth.

The lecture was titled "Ethics for Our Time," and while he did stay consistent with that theme, his talk was more or less comprehensive of his life and doctrine. It ranged from talk of his government to his modesty of travel and his health, constantly infused with a mix of solemnity and humor. Dispelling rumors of his healing powers, he pointed to his need in 2007 for a gallbladder surgery as proof that no such powers existed within him. He came off as at once humble and charismatic, showing off his knapsack for his food, and leaning off of the couch to the laughing crowd, taking in the laughter with his entire body after a joke about how he bullied his mother for attention as a small child.

The Dalai Lama's message of peace and ethics was truly inspiring. He stressed that each and every one of us (yes, even him) were the same at the core. That, while maternal attention can make some more aggressive than others, there was indeed a universal ethic. It really says something when a leader who has been pushed out of his own country by the Communist Chinese can find thanks for them for having refined his views and self-discovery.

It really was a treat seeing His Holiness, one who has always had a special relationship with United States generally, and UCSB specifically. I can only hope that he and his government in India take their rightful place in their native home of Tibet once again, and that I can see him speak again in the future. Truly inspirational.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Why I'm Doing This

I suppose it began a few months ago with a simple Facebook entry joking that I was throwing my hat into the ring for a 2013 Congressional bid for Nancy Pelosi's CA-8th District, which is primarily San Francisco. The message surprised a few, while others thought I was dead set, and it got me thinking: "How feasible would it be to actually run for Congress?" I will have turned 25 in 2011 so Constitutionally I'd be in the clear. But what about the votes? With enough people behind me, my name known well enough throughout the city through viral marketing rather than expensive traditional campaign tactics, and the message that Pelosi is out of touch with SF, I think an election bid is worth a shot.

Now, I may be naive, I'm not going to deny that. I'm fascinated with history and politics, though, and really hope I can pursue this bid to it's logical end, with me winning.

What I hope, most of all for this website, is that it serves as educational. For me and for whoever may read it. Each week I plan on researching a political issue in depth and discussing my findings on this site, in the process evolving my views on each issue and hopefully sparking a conversation with you. I no doubt hold my own political dispositions, but I'm going to approach each issue with as little bias as possible, and I really do look forward to hearing what you all think about such topics as our Middle Eastern Wars, the recovering but still wounded Economy, Tax Policies and alternatives, Health Care, Trade Agreements such as NAFTA, Nuclear Non-Proliferation, Oil Dependency and Alternative Fuels, the Arab-Israeli Conflict and possible solutions, as well as many more issues. I want to have a conversation about these things. I want to understand them better and I want you to be a part of the process.

That said, thanks for checking out my site, and if you have any questions or possible topics to research, please let me know.

Best.