Best of luck to you, Chris. I hope you figure out a way of approaching the Dharma that resonates deeply with you.
I myself had HUGE problems (still do) with lots of Tibetan culture. I think I got over it mostly (or enough to engage with the tradition) when I realized the culture is the teacup, the Dharma is the tea*. Whether its a fancy Tibetan one with two handles, or a plain old American coffeemug, you're always going to be receiving the Dharma through a vessel that has to be abandoned. And a vessel that may not look very appealing.
Also, if folks were fundamentalists, blah blah blah--they sucked. They were not helpful representatives of the tradition. I hope you find others who don't suck.
As for the political entanglements of HH Dalai Lama, I'm not sure I understand your beef unless you are a member of the PRC Communist Party, but he certainly has enemies even within the Tibetan populace.
*metaphor Courtesy of Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche