1999-xmas-ignorance-wantAccording to a Standard and Poor’s estimate, the US economy lost up to $24 billion during the recent shutdown-showdown.  And if you listen to the White House, some 120,000 jobs we erased as well.  While I pretty much concede with the former, the latter is most likely open to interpretation.

However, with the multitude of lessons learned, one would think politicians reaching across the aisle would snag the top spot on anyone’s list.  However, Democratic Representative Alan Grayson whipped out an email that basically compared the Tea Party to the Ku Klux Klan, referring to “… the Tea Party is no more popular than the Klan” while also claiming the “ultimate Tea Party Republican desire” is to “bring about the End of Days.”

The email went to Grayson’s supporters in a Monday email that also features a picture of a burning cross, with two KKK members in the background, forming the first letter T of the words “Tea Party.” “Now you know what the “‘T’ stands for,” a caption of the photo reads. Upon clicking upon the controversial photo, users are redirected to a page requesting donations for the representative’s campaign.  Grayson also claimed, “… Tea Party is the home of bigotry and discrimination in America today, just as the KKK was for an earlier generation.  If the shoe fits, wear it.

Personally I find Grayson’s comments utterly ignorant. Frist, the tea party movement arose in response to economic issues in 2009 and, unlike the KKK, is led by a number of black leaders. The tea party has engaged in no acts of anti-black terrorism, unlike the KKK.

Secondly, I cannot recall any time where a tea party member actually wore a white robe and white hood while burning crosses in front of black congressmen/women offices.  Also, correct me if I’m wrong, there was not a single lynching, cross burning and no advocacy for advocated extremist reactionary currents such as white supremacy, white nationalism, and anti-immigration which was historically expressed through terrorism.

Unfortunately, intended or not, the behavior exhibited by Grayson exudes bigotry. This lends proof to the fact that ignorance is not “harmless” but is often “hateful.” While one can find themselves on the opposite end of Republican theology, the ignorance directed by Grayson toward Republican members of Congress was “reprehensible.”  Whether you’re a person of faith, a believer or non-believer, hatred will never bring change. The only thing hatred leads toward is violence.

There are many outstanding members of congress, including Independent thinking Democrats, Republicans and Tea Party alike. In Buddhism, we are taught harboring three specific poisons often leads to suffering. The three poisons are lobha, dvesha and moha, translated as “greed,” “hate” and “ignorance.” Grayson’s comments come straight from ignorance and hate.

As the spirit of the holidays near, I suggest all of us reread Dickens’ social message in the “The Christmas Carol.” The problems of “Ignorance” and “Want” are prevalent now. To Grayson … and all like him … our nation is starving. Better imperfect means to help the poor than allowing a search for some ideological perfection that leaves people in ignorance and want.

Perfect liberty without food is not liberty at all.