The Dalai Lama Helps Us Appreciate Our Mediocre Government


Leave it to His Holiness the Dalai Lama,Tenzin Gyatso, to put things in their proper perspective. The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader addressed the State Senate yesterday at the invitation of Malcolm Smith, who probably figured the chamber could use a calming influence these days. Gyatso cracked that, since he usually sides with the minority, his “sympathy is more for the Republican side,” quickly adding, with a hearty laugh, “just a joke, not serious.” But then Gyatso, in all his infinite wisdom, made a more serious point. “I think this house really demonstrate American system, democracy system, and rule of law, and also, complete freedom of press. These are, really, I think, American power.” Well, God save us all if Albany is the model for American democracy, but still, the Dalai Lama kind of has a point there. Compared with the conditions faced by his fellow Tibetans, our dysfunctional, secretive, hyperpartisan government must seem like an almost unreachable ideal. What they wouldn’t give for a shortsighted MTA bailout! Check out his whole speech, and feel the serenity wash over you.

The Dalai Lama’s words to the Senate [Capitol Confidential/Times Union]