Nationalism, Patriotism, Leading To Racism & Xenophobia
We understand that Brexit is a response to the migration of Europeans and Syrians to Britain, as well as decision making being taken away from Britain. We understand that Trump and Trump’s promised wall are a response to the migration of South Americans to the United States. This is a simplification of events, but both situations have given rise to arguments that are based on nationalism and patriotism. In themselves, there is nothing wrong with nationalism and patriotism; however, they are typically the first line of logical argument to sway public opinion to be more open to forms of racism and xenophobia.
For example, Nigel Farage is the former leader of the British political party UKIP. Nigel Farage negotiated a deal with David Cameron PM whereby UKIP formed part of the coalition government in exchange for the Brexit referendum would take place. Various UKIP members would be found to be terrible racists. One recent example is Nigel Farage, former leader of UKIP, is to address a far-right rally. Another example is the failure of Donald Trump to denounce racists.
2017-09-08 Nigel Farage to address far-right rally in Germany
2017-08-13 Donald Trump under fire after failing to denounce Virginia white supremacists
Global Far Right
The anti-gay laws passed in Russia and more recently the ethnic cleansing in Myanmar (Burma) represent a mood change towards conservatism that has spread over recent years. There have been many “near misses”, such as Macron became the French president instead of the thinly veiled xenophobe Le Pen in 2017. But it was frighteningly close and demonstrates an uncomfortable appetite for far right views. These were recently summarised by John le Carré who drew comparisons between the rise of Donald Trump and the rise of 1930s fascism.
2013-06-30 Russia passes anti-gay-law
2017-09-05 UN chief urges Myanmar to end violence as 120,000 Rohingya flee
2017-09-07 John le Carré on Trump: ‘Something seriously bad is happening’
Can We All Get Along?
These divisions between people that have been recently popularised in the ways described above – my happiness or happiness just for “us”. Whether the divisions between people are in-terms of the following:
- I just want people in my country to be happy.
- I just want people who follow my religion to be happy.
These is not what Buddhism is about. These divisions are wildly mistaken. We are all the same in our wish for happiness and to be free of suffering, and for our family and friends to have the same. We are all have the exact same capacity for Nirvana and Enlightenment because we all have the same nature, the same Buddha Nature. The divisions fail to include this request made by Rodney King:
Can we all get along? … Please, we can get along here. We all can get along. I mean, we’re all stuck here for a while. Let’s try to work it out.
– Rodney King
Two separate wishes are required to be a Mahayana practitioner. The first is the wish for all beings to have happiness, not one being is excluded from this wish. Whether they are from a different country or follow a different religion it does not matter, the wish is not restricted in any way to any specific group.
The only way to encourage other people to think beyond these divisions and to develop an all-inclusive narrative that describes the situation that we all find ourselves in. We all live on the same planet, breathe the same air.
It is not enough that I should be happy, my neighbours should not be unhappy.
It is not enough that I am have clean water and food, my neighbours should not be thirsty or hungry.
It is not enough that I live in peace, my neighbours should not fight.
These might sound like the naive or shortsighted mutterings of a hippy and we are hippies, but the way of divisions is a path that will lead to only terrible outcomes.