The Fist Bump Heard Across The Country

I've had several people bring up the fist bump that Mayor Lowery gave the Dalai Lama when he visited Memphis. “Here we also have a tradition,” Lowery said as he demonstrated to The Holiness how to fist bump. Do you think the Mayor went too far or was it just good fun?


Anonymous said...

that was ok but the 'Hello Dolly' was to much.

Anonymous said...

Welcome to Hickville! Thanks you Myron Lowery for giving the northern press one more thing to make fun of Memphis about! How stupid can you be?!

Anonymous said...

People are going over board. He was just trying to bring levity to the situation. Get over it.

Anonymous said...

Really makes Memphis look great!! What a bone head! Why not give a high five??

Anonymous said...

Lowery said, “I’ve always wanted to say Hello Dalai.”

Did you see how dignified Mayor AC Wharton was?

Lowery is a nice guy but he's not mayor material.

Anonymous said...

Why stop there we should hi-five the Pope, pump your fist and chant at a wedding, and give chest bumps at funerals.

There's a time and place for everything Myron. That was not the time and that was not the place.

Anonymous said...

For Anonymous 4;54 "Welcome to Hickville! Thanks you Myron Lowery for giving the northern press one more thing to make fun of Memphis about!"

The hell with the north. We all ways trying to make other people like us. Memphis people try to be friendly that's how we act. The people up north are cold and mean. You the man Myron. said...

MEMPHIS, Tennessee (CNN) -- "Hello Dalai, Well, hello ... Dalai!"

It seemed like a good idea at the time. And with hindsight being 20/20; it still does.

How often do you get to meet an international figure as captivating as the Dalai Lama? I wanted to make an impression, and break the ice, in my Southern hospitality sort of way.

So enter the lyric from the song and the fist bump now heard round the world.

I had been told by his representatives that the Dalai Lama had a wonderful sense of humor, and would enjoy the exchange. Indeed, he did. His Holiness laughed, returned the gesture, and gave me his blessings.

And in our brief time together, I saw in his eyes the sparkle of kindness, love and good humor.

It's unfortunate that not everyone could allow themselves to enjoy the moment, as we did.

Barely an hour passed before reporters began calling to say my fist bump with the Dalai Lama was "disrespectful," unusual and perhaps inappropriate. Why would I do that, they asked?

Well to answer that, I would have to go back a couple of weeks or so.

One of my assistants in the mayor's office began feeling ill. After a couple of days off work, she was diagnosed with the H1N1 flu. She sits 10 feet away from me. The swine flu story was hitting close to home in a major way. As the leader of a major city, I had to step forward and deal with fears about a virus that has never been known to man.

So I rolled up my sleeves and took a shot for the seasonal flu. I encouraged everyone to get the H1N1 vaccine as soon as it becomes available. I urged people to cough politely into a napkin or their sleeve. I had hand sanitizer installed in the common areas at city hall. I greeted the Chairman of the City Council with a fist bump and it made the local news.

It became a running theme in City Hall. The mayor would greet you with a fist bump.

A day before His Holiness came to the city, I spoke to the Dalai Lama's protocol team and they said he would not be upset or offended being greeted this way. In fact it has happened in the past.

So, armed with this information I decided to greet him when he arrived Tuesday in a similar fashion. Not because of any concern about H1N1. I greeted him this way because I'm a down to earth guy, who was raised by a single mother with four sons in public housing. I still tell everyone to call me Myron. I am now living a dream as the mayor of Memphis.

And Wednesday, as I sat and watched His Holiness accept an award from the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, the gravity of the moment was in no way lost on me. An international crusader for peace was here on the hallowed ground where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. took his last breath.

He offered his blessings, walked into the crowd, touched people. He carried himself humbly, not as one to be feared, but as a man, sharing his humanity, making us all better for it.

So in the final analysis, I know His Holiness is always happy to participate in local customs, however obscure. He is about peace and harmony, and a fist bump is just another expression of warm friendship that he again returned to me before he left.

And the "Hello, Dalai?" Well, that was just a bonus. He knew it was coming and we all laughed together.

Anonymous said...

The Dalai Lama probable goes to hundreds of these ceremonies every year. All of them the same, boring and forgettable. You can bet he won't forget Memphis. Thank you Mayor Lowery for showing that Memphis is made of people and not stuffed shirts.

Anonymous said...

Way to go! Dalai really can break dance. He won the mid south fair break dance competition in 1987. CHeck it out dude

Anonymous said...

Dalai can move!

Anonymous said...

This city is facing a serious crisis. Why are we spending time focusing on something so trivial? Let's get back to more important issues.

It's understandable that you must cater to all readers Mr. Milton but this is a non-issue. Let's move on!

Anonymous said...

What positive publicity for Memphis - some news other than scandals, crime and poverty! People who don't support Myron for Mayor are just doing the campaign ugliness routine for their candidate. Myron IS the Mayor and is doing a great job!

Vote for your favorite as is your right. Quit being so narrow minded! It was all cleared with the Dalai's staff beforehand. There is nothing to complain about.

Anonymous said...

Dalai Lama greets Rep. Steve Cohen with head bump.

You see the Dalai Lama gets it.