Because Someone Has To, So It Starts With Me

I’ve noticed something over the course of the past few days…you can’t change anyone’s mind.

On anything.

Ever.

You can present facts, and point out flaws in arguments, and you can yell and scream and stomp…but in today’s political climate lines in the sand have been drawn and heels are firmly dug in and not moving.

After 24 hours of using several different approaches to talk to Tea Party types, there really is no hope. They really, truly, believe I am a Communist ugly feminist man hater and I truly believe they are uninformed, racist, fear-mongers. They think I’m unAmerican and not a patriot, I think they are sowing the seeds of violence and ignorance.

And that is just how it is.

So now that I have resigned myself to this sadness, where do we go from here? November is coming and it’s getting nasty. It is going to get much worse before it gets any better. Tensions are running high, each side wants to win.

I’m worried we don’t survive this as a country. This is unlike anything I have ever seen. Passions are so high and people are so convinced THEY are right, I fear what they will do. Currently the Tea Party rhetoric says ‘Take Back Our Country” … and I keep asking, from whom? Other Americans?

We need to find a way to stop the screaming and fear. We need to find a way to work together before people get hurt, because they are getting hurt already. Both sides have documented violence. Both sides need to loudly condemn that violence.

Or we can continue to call names and point fingers. I mean, this is the route even I went down after becoming so very frustrated with the discourse my head exploded. But it gets us nowhere and does no good. And if only one side makes the effort to have civil discourse, and the other continues to just yell the loudest … who will Americans listen to? Do we risk losing because we took the high road?

I refuse to forgive or forget the nasty name calling and hate going on, but I also know we can’t keep going like this. This country is going to implode, and I worry for my kids and for my nation.

We need leaders and cooler heads to prevail right now, I’m not sure I’m one of them. I do think our President is one…but he needs to be louder. Are you one? Are you speaking calmly and rationally about the issues to your friends, family, and neighbors or are you spiraling down the rabbit hole many of us are…turning from talking points to shouts and name calling? What can YOU do to raise the level of conversation right now with those you oppose…not to change their minds, we know that won’t happen, but to at least keep the peace?

I’m not sure any of this is possible, we may be too far gone…but I feel we need to try.

And it starts with me.

I am pledging to be calmer, to try not to lose my temper, and to refrain from name calling.

Join me. And call me out if I lose it. And I have a feeling I may lose it more than I care to admit.

Will anyone from the other side join me? I am doubtful, for whatever their reasons may be. They might not think I am sincere, which is fine. So be it. But at least I floated it out there in the universe…for everyone’s sake. They might think I’m acting just like a typical liberal, being all huggy and lovey while there is a war being waged. The problem is we’re having that war with each other, fellow Americans. This is your country just as much as it’s my country. This is MY country too, although you don’t think I’m a real American.

But it doesn’t matter…if nothing else I will know I tried and I will know I did it for the right reasons…these two:

I'm the zombie. They are the pea shooters

They will know I fought hard, but I fought fair. If it means we lose because I fought fair, that is the price I pay.

But I guess, in some ways, that means I win.

Comments

  1. I have simply stopped talking. I’m not blogging anymore. I’m not tweeting anymore. I. Just. Can’t. Truthfully I have MUCH bigger fish to fry right now, but I wasn’t making things any better with what I was saying, or how I was saying it. So I just shut up. I had been telling the Teabaggers to STFU if they didn’t have anything constructive to contribute, so I just took my own advice.

    I’m going to vote in November. I will drag as many people as I can find to the polls as well. I will continue to work tirelessly for the candidates in whom I believe strongly.
    .-= Davidgs´s last blog ..This is the same idiot … =-.

  2. Yes! Despite your apprehensions, I’ll join you. Despite being extremely conservative in my viewpoints. Why can we not talk things out? Why is it so hard to rejoice in our shared blessings, and defer the philosophical incriminations till we know one another? I’m in if you are.
    .-= Stephen´s last blog ..Kill The Blog – Fail =-.

  3. Maybe it is because I am perpetually at odds much of the time with people in my life over politics (not all…I still have several conservative views that we can all agree on), or maybe it is because I have always been the “please, everyone, try to get along, or maybe it’s just that I am effing naive in hope that it can happen because I dearly love people on both sides, but I am so grateful for this post.

    xo
    .-= Loralee´s last blog ..Questions- questions… =-.

  4. To someone from another country, it sounds really scary and kind of unbelievable because the USA was supposed to be the land of free speech!

  5. I love this post! It’s ok to fight, but more important to be fair.
    .-= Keyona´s last blog ..Why I Blog =-.

  6. I’ve tried being calm and presenting rational arguments, but they have no affect. I end up doing my adversaries work for them by researching every point, trying to show they are being manipulated, and as soon as one point becomes obvious, another stupid point is raised.

    We are going up against massively funded industrial interests. They can afford to spend tons of money getting their message out, and there is no shortage of fearful people willing to believe whatever they see. They have created a web for spreading information, so when a story breaks, it appears “everywhere”, giving it greater credibility.

    My hopes are to find those who are not so media centric that they will listen to reason. They need to hear from us and not just from the drooling mob.

    As for the drooling mob: it is pointless to argue with them. Sometimes I throw out a tweet just for fun, but mostly it just wastes time.

    The above are my recent conclusions. They are subject to change.
    .-= Mike P.´s last blog ..It Gets Better! =-.

  7. I tried and the attack just kept on coming. It is hard when people are looking for buzzwords that match those on their leader enemy list. I’ve tried to keep my hands off the keyboard when provoked by idiocy.

    Yet what choice do we have? We do need to document when there is an error. Not for them, for others that will read and be willing to think about another way to see an issue. We don’t have to be abused but we do have to state our beliefs and the facts that back them up. That’s all. Oh, and trying real hard not to be depressed and dis-hearted.
    .-= Gena´s last blog ..Poetry In Plain Sight – Rosalee Thompson =-.

  8. My own mother-in-law has become so consumed with the fear that the right has been pumping into our culture that she is about to lose her mind.

    We had a few talks over the three days she was here last. She is definitely afraid of just about everything. Flying. Check. Concerts. Check. Driving. Check. Walking around her small town. Check. Speaking out. Check.

    She has become so fearful. She ominously warns me to ‘keep my mouth shut’ and not comment on the craziness going on. Quite a change from the woman that I knew a few short years ago…

    Yes, I try to keep my temper in check but with the future of MY country being decided by fearful idiots, I find it hard to sometimes…

  9. Actually, a lot of us, myself included, have been leading the charge for civil discourse for some time — and many, many have scoffed at that. We can disagree, and we should, It amazes me that so many act worse than our kids on the playground when it comes to what passes for political conversation.

    I’m glad you’re on board, but it’s important to note that I’ve been calling for this for a long time and have been mocked by people on both sides of the aisle for being naive that there can be politics without name-calling and nastiness. Glad to have you on board for the fight that actually has been going on for a good long time.
    .-= Joanne Bamberger aka PunditMom´s last blog ..A New Way to Stop Violence Against Women — Ring the Bell =-.

  10. I’ve been on this boat for a while. I also have people I dearly love who are on the opposite side of the aisle. Some of us can have civil discourse and really talk about issues. We may not change minds, but we can understand where the other is coming from.

    If we could stop the name calling and the intimidation tactics and focus on what really matters, we’d be in much better shape.
    .-= Beth´s last blog ..How is Katie =-.

  11. That is the right thing to do. Though I must agree with Joanne and say that many of us have been saying te same thing for weeks. You can even check out my post about it on http://www.poliogue.com. We all want things to get calmer. You should discuss it as though a majority want that – because we do – as opposed to saying that you invented it. Just sayin’
    .-= Heather B.´s last blog ..I’ve got issues =-.

  12. It’s important to note that my JOB requires this of me daily, but my personal life does not. I am making this pledge as part of my personal life.

  13. I understand David’s remark about not talking any more. I wouldn’t say that I’ve shut up completely…but the idea that my blathering can make a difference in the face of all the vitriol seems hopeless. Better that I should just be kind to my neighbors, tend my garden, and buy local.
    .-= janet´s last blog ..narrow hot pursuit =-.

  14. …and another part of the problem is taking this post and being upset I’m trying to ‘invent’ something people are already doing. Of course other people are, but in my world and in my life I have to start with me. It’s a cliche’. And I see my pledge is already being tested.

  15. I should also point out this is a reach across – not to people already on the Dem side. The ones screaming at me. So I’m starting with ME.

  16. AMEN!!! Someone popular is saying what I have been saying for two yeas now. Unfortunately I switched to WordPress and my past posts have been deleted, so I can’t refer you to them. This is the main reason I switched from Republican to Democrat. I was really tired of the fear mongering, the screaming, the hate, and the lies.
    What I did was join the Democrat party and became an extremely active volunteer during the Obama campaign, and now for the upcoming November election. Do it, it really helps. I also joined the Democrat Women’s group. If you feel you can’t make phone calls because you will get angry, they also do hard-core democrats. If not there is always many other ways to help out.
    What really gets me, is I know a lot of my friends and followers on Facebook are Democrats, yet when I post something political and get the flack from the right wing conservatives, no one says anything, completely quiet. I post on issues, and I research what I post, I don’t come any far corner, but yet the supporters out there aren’t saying anything and it is driving me nuts. Not just not saying anything about my posts but in general.
    I think we need to be the voice of sanity. I am so afraid, like you, of our future and OH MY GOD if these nuts should get into Washington and eventually have the majority OMG talk about infringing on our rights, like they so love to do, it will be a total disaster for our country, they will set us back 100 years or so. People will be wondering how in the world this ever happened, it will happend because the major of people don’t give a damn and sit on their ass doing nothing.
    You don’t know how many times I hear, you really think your voice and vote make a difference, nothing will change. Well let me tell you, and them LOL that is exactly what will happen, change, and not for the good, because these tea partiers will get in.
    WOOPS I think I wrote a book here, sorry, but I am so with you.
    P.S. I won’t even discuss politics with family, esp. my Dad it just turns into him yelling and screaming. He attempts but I just tell him, Dad I will not discuss politics with you and I turn away.
    Hugs!!!!!
    .-= Cat´s last blog ..What Is Happening To Our Country =-.

  17. While I appreciate the general sentiment expressed here, I wonder about the timing. Yesterday, you had an extended conversation with Dana Loesch on Twitter after calling her out for obnoxious behavior. Her behavior WAS obnoxious and you were right to call her out. The conversation, as it always does with her, quickly deteriorated because she was demanding that you apologize for the NAACP and SEIU and whatever other boogeymen she could think of, but nevertheless you did the right thing by calling her out.

    In that context, I wonder how this post will be received by “the other side” you are reaching out to. In my experience, it seems like they will likely take this as an admission that you were behaving rudely or that you were “just as bad” as they were, neither of which is true. In addition, they might take this as a sign of weakness that you don’t have the willingness to keep fighting if they simply attack you ridiculously for calling them out.

    So I would just ask for a small caveat to your new direction (and, I have to admit that I don’t know you very well, so perhaps this caveat was already implied for anyone who knows you). You’re going to be calmer, not lose your temper, not name-call: great. But I hope you also make it known that you will continue to not hesitate to call out unacceptable behavior in others.

  18. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately and I’m honestly at a loss. I’m tired of living in a culture of fear. I’m tired of people who spread hate and distrust and misinformation. I’m tired of the squeaky wheel getting the grease. I’m tired of being threatened to have my country “taken away” from me (because as you said, who else are they taking it back from if not the “liberals”?). I’m tired of it all. I’m discouraged. I’ve given up.

    I don’t know where to go from here. We can try to talk with civility and with reason but what’s the point when no one will listen, REALLY listen? When do we put our foot down and say, “STOP! THIS IS NOT OKAY”? Yes, we can avoid the name calling and the hatred but is “keeping the peace” really what our country needs right now? I feel like they are waging war on this country. I feel like we need to stand up. We need to speak louder – yell if we must – and not stop until we are heard. We need to figure out how to disseminate information as effectively as they have. We need to organize. You cannot disarm the playground bully with offerings of olive branches.

    I feel like for so long we have tried to play nice and play fair and it’s only gotten worse. I feel like our civility has been taken advantage of. At the same time, my morals do not permit violence or the spreading of hatred so I am stuck figuring out how to proceed. Our country feels like it’s teetering on the edge just about to descend into the deep crevices of hatred and war and annihilation and I stand paralyzed, haunted by the following words:

    “They came first for the Communists, /and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. /Then they came for the trade unionists, /and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. /Then they came for the Jews, /and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. /Then they came for me /and by that time no one was left to speak up.”
    – Pastor Martin Niemöller

  19. Sometimes, I just need to bury my head in the sand, and I’m feeling like that time is coming for me. Because I know if I continue to watch, I will lose it and say something I regret. And truth be told? I don’t even try to talk to the “other side” anymore about politics. Instead, I live my life in a way where I take care of my own, and others, too. I call myself a liberal, and an atheist, and those people in my life who think each of those things makes me the devil incarnate, well, they have to learn how to integrate knowing those things with knowing that I live my life in a responsible, empathetic way.
    .-= April´s last blog ..Our Glass Houses =-.

  20. For me though, this started years ago. I saw with crystal clarity what was happening with all of the ‘Made in China’ junk that was showing up in the stores and grew concerned enough to start my own boycott and started talking to others about what I feared and I was roundly ridiculed and shouted down.

    Somehow I was committing ‘class warfare’ and ‘an elitist’ for talking about the loss of American jobs through the importation of those products. You would have thought, from the reactions of some people, that I ate their children or something. Some people would get downright unhinged and call me names.

    Now, many years later, the manufacturing core of America has been moved to China and any other third world hell hole and those same people (some of them at least) are wondering if I was right…

    It’s getting to the point that I hate being right… People called me a downer and negative for pointing out all of the things you can’t get ‘Made in America’.

    I fear the same with the direction the ‘right’ seek to take this country. Making America a corporatist plutocratic society wasn’t what the founding fathers had in mind I’d wager. People who are moronic enough to believe the bible literally are being asked to believe the constitution literally. One is potentially fiction the other has been changing and growing as the founding fathers intended it to. But there again, point out that happy horse pucky to them and you get attacked.

    I’ve thought of leaving this country. While I can. (or getting dual citizenship) The problem is, just like their constant fear over Iran having nukes, the newly nutso conservative America HAS nukes and there will be no place ‘safe’ to run to. If president Palin wants to nuke France because they slammed her gorked son, well, nowhere is safe, is it…

    Sorry for the tangent…

    My dad, a hard right ex-Army soldier turned his back on the GOP before he died. He actually fought FOR his country. He actually saw his friends die FOR this country. What the GOP has done to this country royally pissed him off… He, after his change, said that it’s a shame that Dubya didn’t serve in Vietnam. He said that ‘we had a way of dealing with assholes like him over there’. My hair stood on end…

  21. I found you blog via loraleeslooneytunes.com. A lovely post, and I share your frustration in just how one can make a difference when it seems like all of the shouting on both sides is drowning out the more reasonable voices.

    I haven’t given up trying to speak my mind, but I have decided that the best way I can make a difference is by trying to teach my students to be empathetic and to appreciate differences rather than be frightened by them.
    .-= Chi-town Southerner´s last blog ..I was trying to think of a clever title for this post- but Im too embarrassed from reliving this memory to think of anything good =-.

  22. America as our founding fathers have built, no longer stands. We live in the nation they tried so hard NOT to build. Representatives working only to fill their pockets, extend their personal interests and appease lobby groups that keep them in office.

    We can sit and debate as we have for the past 100 years, but we have not made progress with that method. Instead we are faced with more laws, taxes and tyranny .

    The majority in America speaks loudly every day. The people plead to their representatives to serve the interest of America’s citizens on a daily basis. Instead, we are silenced, ignored and ridiculed.

    If we speak loud enough, we can even become persons of interest to federal law enforcement, branded dissidents and have files created on us, like our prior leaders in support of humanity and civil rights. These methods have proven totally ineffective for the American people.

    With that said, I fully support standing in silence as those we elect rape our country. Just don’t forget, my silence does not mean I will sit idly by after the first shots of the next revolutionary war are fired. I too, fear for my children’s future, and for that, I fully support going to war with our own government yet again. I fully support taking our nation back by force and pushing not just Republicans out of office, but the entire system we have let fail us for this long.

    When the first shots get fired, I expect to run for the front lines, take my post as a new patriot and help liberate our country to be rebuilt as our forefathers have intended, free.

  23. Eye opening post. This certain topic has been on my mind since President Obama took office. No I did not vote for him and yes I am a conservative Christian. But, we have our President now and he is to be respected. But, I also want to see some change. The biggest problem I have always had with voting and conversations with my friends is about abortion. No one ‘side’ thinks abortion is a great thing. For the past 10 years I have wanted a better solution. Not to take away abortion rights (except for 3rd trimester and I personally believe 2nd trimester). I don’t want to vote or not vote for someone because of their abortion stance.
    Forgive me for not researching the correct name of the bill (sorry crazy day) that recently past helping pregnant women with unintended pregnancies. It is an EXCELLENT start. Not a complete solution but an amazing start. I believe so many other measures can spring board off of this. When President Obama was elected, this is exactly what I sent him an e-mail about (I am sure I was not the only one).
    We are all responsible for our choices and what we do with our bodies. But, if you have a lapse in judgment, are careless, or God forbid raped and are not ready to raise a child. I want to raise your child. I am having trouble getting pregnant and anxiously wait for a baby. The help and support needs to be there for the women who are not ready nor want to raise a child. As well as much less red tape for us families who want to adopt.
    As I said this isn’t an all encompassing solution, but it is a big step in the right direction of humanity in the United States.
    I want to vote for a candidate that will keep our country the Republic it was founded on, not on the emotional issue that abortion is. Imagine if that is taken out of the arena when it is time to vote. People might actually educate themselves on the real issues that are at hand in our country. Instead of, that side kills babies or that side won’t let me do what I want with my body.

  24. Thanks Robert for so concisely putting *exactly* what’s wrong with this country and the discourse: People like you that seem to think that, since you didn’t get your way, the barrel of a gun is somehow the answer. It is not only wrong, it is seditious and treasonous. This country was founded on the principles of democracy. The idea that we use the ballot box to achieve our political goals, not the bullet.

    The “taxes and tyranny” line is classic hyperbole. Firstly because we are currently enjoying the lowest overall tax burden since the 1950’s, and second because there really is *NO* tyranny.

    People that speak loudly of wanting to use guns and force to achieve their political goals rightly SHOULD have law enforcement looking at them closely. It is illegal. It is also wrong. It is antithetical to all the principles on which this country was founded and has been built.

    I will add that anyone that has to explicitly call themselves a ‘patriot’ seldom is.
    .-= Davidgs´s last blog ..This is the same idiot … =-.

  25. Adam – this is a direct result of the conversations I had with Tony Katz and Dana Loesch. I thought I handled myself rather well but did stoop a few times, and was just shocked at the name calling adn insults they hurled.

    I will never shut up. I will never back down. And my voice will be loud and make a difference, I just plan on attempting to do it without nasty name calling and insults. Will it work? I have no idea… the comment above by the guy ready to take up arms makes me think .. no.

  26. I’m kind of astounded, not only by the people who are talking about a revolution, but almost equally by the people who are commenting with some sort of possessive sense of ownership about what you’re saying in your post. This “hey, I said this first! I want credit, too!” is kind of ridiculous. There is no ownership of this idea & those who have written about it before sound fairly ridiculous responding that they thought of it first. If the true goal is open & respectful discourse, not just hearing ourselves speak, we should be congratulating each other on also posting about it, not trying to claim you should be giving them credit for talking about it “first.”

    I just find that completely bizarre. But also, Robert? Wow.
    .-= sarah´s last blog ..I Might Complain About the Heat in This One =-.

  27. I appreciate the sentiment of the post. Name calling and insults? Just has people defending themselves instead of the issue they believe in. EVERY side should be taught that little gem.

    The bonus to the situation? We get an unprecedented opportunity to teach our children how to discuss, how to draw conclusions, how to think CRITICALLY instead of emotionally. Even if you find yourself on the losing team, we get to teach our kids such important lessons. And there’s one more. We get to teach our kids that every viewpoint has value, no matter who it comes from.

    Even if it comes from someone like me, a supposedly uninformed, racist, fear-monger…..

  28. I could care less about *my* way. I care about the nations way, which was lost about a hundred years ago. A way that was founded on democratic votes, a way in which public dissent was considered one of the highest forms or patriotism. A vision that many great men had as they pushed for our independence as a nation has fallen long ago, and not because of our Obamas, Bush’s, or Clinton’s in office, but because the American people have become sheep that follow the politician with the deepest pockets.

    Mind if I ask how government funded internment camps in the United States of America in the past 100 years – http://www.historyonthenet.com/WW2/japan_internment_camps.htm , and lets not forget our nations new favorite internment camp located in Cuba – disproves our nations tyrannical posture globally?

    Perhaps our loss of Freedom of Speech, because Music and Movie Industries find what we have to say or program offensive, ala the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) or our new recent proposal The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA), can prove how un-tyrannical our nation is?

    Maybe a nation that uses weapons designed for warfare against it’s own citizens isn’t such a tyrannical place to be. Check out the LRAD, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_Range_Acoustic_Device

    Our taxes have decreased in the past 50 years, but what happened in 1915-1916 when tax rates doubled and tripled year after year, starting a great trend for the next round of politicians? Along with the marginal income tax rate fluctuations over the past 50 years, did we pay such a large tax for cigarettes, alcohol, gas, food and clothing? If I remember correctly, England got the big ass American boot over the same things…

    How about some examples of peaceful protesting actually working in the face of large governments, corporations and political figures? America didn’t move forward until we pointed a loaded musket at the unwelcome in the late 1700’s. You can walk around with signs until your feet bleed, but nothing is going to change unless the actual status quo is actively threatened. I would rather it take a peaceful march across the nations capital, but we all know how well that has worked in the past.

    I would like to use the ballot box for my political goals, care to fund me millions of dollars on campaign and voter awareness programs? Do you happen to have a rich political daddy that can endorse me? Think ABC, NBC, CBS and other major stations will come interview me and my $0.32 worth of funding for my next presidential run? Or perhaps I can just go back a year or so and vote against bailing out crooked financial institutions… Oh wait, those measures weren’t voted on… Just like our tax hikes for food, sales, tobacco, alcohol and everything else, but since some rich white guy in a suit, voted in by his frat buddies and daddy’s money said it was cool, we don’t have any direct say in what, how and why we get taxed.

    Taking arms against an oppressive government is not in direct contrast to our founding principals of this nation. If that was so, we would have never taken up arms against England and moved on to be our own sovereign nation.

    ” That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness… But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. ”

    I am sure to todays standards, it is VERY illegal and treasonous, but then again ALL of the following people are guilty of the same exact thing:

    New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton
    Massachusetts: John Hancock, Samual Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry
    Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery
    Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott
    New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris
    New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark
    Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross
    Delaware: Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean
    Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton
    Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton
    North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn
    South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton
    Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

  29. I’m all for calmer minds and actions. I vote for the Golden Rule approach.

    Beyond that, I think that we should all Just Say NO! to the media’s manipulation of us (from both sides). I think there would be far fewer unchecked emotions if we weren’t bombarded with sensationalist news each day (again, from both sides!).

    I happen to know quite a few rational people who are fiercely liberal. I happen to know quite a few rational people who are fiercely conservative. If only they could speak rationally to each other. I’m thinking somewhere in the middle is a common ground. That may make me wishy-washy, but I’m sticking with it.
    .-= Melanie´s last blog ..WFMW- Burn Out Remedy =-.

  30. I see this country headed to a civil war. And I see that civil war being our doom. I just hope we have strong leaders on both sides who can try to prevent it.

  31. wow- I came over from Loralee’s site, hoping that there would finally be a place where all the spiteful name calling and refusing to listen to reason would be put on hold. I read the post, mostly agreed with the post, and then I start reading the comments. Sad to say, most (not all!) are doing exactly what the author was asking people to stop doing. Nasty name calling and even a couple of really vile names – how in the world is that ever going to make anything better. I am very much a conservative – in pretty much every sense of the word. I disagree with most of what this liberal administration has done. I do think, that in order to get anything at all done in Washington, we need fresh faces – we need people without a personal agenda. My family and I are campaigning in Ohio to remove any and all incumbents. Most have had more than their turn at the wheel. One guy running for Congress here in Ohio is a small business owner and a farmer. These are the people we need in office. No more career politicians. They only perpetuate the problem. I don’t care what party they belong to. Here in Ohio, we have had massive corruption in both parties. Why on earth would we re-hire these people? People convicted of tax evasion, fraud, embezzlement. It’s time for a change, all right. It’s time for folks to behave civilly again.
    I will ask this: Have you even been to a Tea Party? I have been to several, and despite what CNN likes to portray, they have been very civil, people from both parties have been present. In our medium sized town (Canton, Ohio) the people attending have been very racially diverse. Everyone needs a job. Everyone needs a break on their tax bill. My husband and I both work for small businesses. We have both been fortunate to make it through the last year. We have watched so, so many be laid off. Our employers need a break, and no, these are not rich guys in any sense of the word.
    I’m sorry this is so long, but I was really hoping that there would be discussion here. Instead, it’s mostly more mudslinging. What a shame, truly. Because, in the end, I think we all really want the same things.
    .-= Megan´s last blog ..How to Raise Boys Who Read – Signs of the Times News =-.

  32. Ok so apparently it’ll be a revolution not a civil war. Meh, war is war.

  33. Megan – I find I can be around Tea Party people so long as I do not challenge their assertions. Obama gave $2bn of our tax dollars to Brazil. No, he didn’t. Lowering taxes on the wealthy will create jobs. It never has. Soon, my friends start smirking and rattling off lines of “facts” far faster than I can check them. Etc, etc.

    The discourse is only civil so long as I am quiet and mind my place. As soon as a serious discussion starts, I am told I am “just a tool” and the underlying anger that a typical Tea Party member has spews forth. Taking MY money. Etc, etc. Oh, yes, health care reform. Forgot about that one. That’s an easy way to blow the head up of most Tea Party members.

    So, no, I have never been to a Tea Party. I am not suicidal. What I have done is have a beer with some friends who have usually suffered some major life trauma and lost it and became members. They can’t maintain civility within our own community. Why in the world would I go to a meeting, and speak my mind amongst those I do not know?

    And to what end? Some Tea Party member is all of a sudden going to read “Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed” and decide that moving away from oil not only because of global warming, but because the stuff is too darn useful to burn it all, is really a good idea? Hardly. “There’s plenty of easy to get oil.” Then why are we drilling a mile under water? “Cause the environmentalists make them.” Because strip mining the countryside for shale and pumping chemicals into the ground is maybe not-a-good idea? “HEALTH CARE REFORM SUCKS.”

    And now the volume is seriously amped with the recent “corporations are people too” Supreme Court decision. This should be interesting.
    .-= Mike P.´s last blog ..It Gets Better! =-.

  34. You know what?

    I manage.

    I manage to be civil and not sling mud at either side or use terms like “crazy”, “idiots”, “dangerous”, “ignorant”, “disgusting” when describing people with an opposing view.

    I have vastly differing views from almost EVERYONE I love that surrounds me. My friends, my family, my community. I have widely different friends, readers and associates online and while I can feel majorly ganged up on, somehow I manage to stay civil and find a way to express how I feel. Do I have the fire and backbone of Erin in expressing my views? No, I don’t. But it doesn’t mean that I am a total pansy and just shut the hell up, either.

    And guess what? My conservative, TEA party loved ones try (and succeed) to keep it civil, too. Do we get heated and slip up? Yes. But this level of disgust and contempt is much more awful than many of the political differences and issues fueling all of it.

    Stop justifying the hate just because the opposing side won’t play nice in your opinion. You can find example and example and justification after justification to just keep on slinging, hating, ridiculing, bashing, and being truly horrible to your fellow countrymen and human beings.

    You can’t control what “they” do. (And “they” means whatever face is looking at you from the opposing side of the fence) YOU CAN TOTALLY CONTROL WHAT YOU DO.

    You do NOT have to agree. You do not have to ‘see the light’. You can object.

    AND YOU CAN DO ALL OF THIS WITHOUT BEING AN ASSHOLE.

    And it is not easy but seriously? We can do this. I am hugely disappointed at the flack that many have lobbed at Erin and each other on a post that clearly calls for you to attempt to do the opposite.

    For my part, Erin, I am sorry if me spreading this around has brought any ick to you. I admire what you are doing here and hope you keep it up.

    And now am going to bed with my very conservative husband without saying one ignorant thing to him. (But will also tell him I will throw the remote control in the disposal if we watch one more minute of Fox News today.)

    (I will add a caveat: I have political leanings on both sides, so yes…I will agree it can make it easier for me to get along but does that make being civil all THAT much easier? NO. It does NOT.)
    .-= Loralee´s last blog ..Yeah- I am pretty sure I have a problem dietcoke =-.

  35. P.S. Dear Erin,
    You just witnessed Loralee getting as heated online as she ever has.
    You should take a photo n’ stuff. xo
    .-= Loralee´s last blog ..Yeah- I am pretty sure I have a problem dietcoke =-.

  36. If it makes anyone feel better, an orthodox Marxist punched me in the eye last night in response to my thoughts and beliefs on this subject.

  37. Midwifing the Epiphany is a daunting challenge. I reckon it cannot be done by means of The Argument Culture.

    I’m not even sure it can be done by means of Dialogue, since that only coverts an Argument or Debate into a Drama (which is still a Competitive Game between a Protagonist and an Antagonist).

    So what’s left?

    About all that’s left is the Art of Storycraft. One can write parables, satires, song parodies, or comic operas.

    What I would suggest is taking some of the material from the pointless argument, debate, name-calling, trash-talking, and similar Festivals of Contempt and artfully transforming them into musical performances worthy of drawing a rapt and bemused audience.

  38. Seeking to throw your country at the feet of corporations and their lobbyists isn’t even anywhere in the neighborhood of what I would call ‘free’.

    In the end, the only ‘free people’ will be the corporations and they will shed no tears in stomping your ass.

    Every one of the ‘tea party’ groups is funded and supported by corporate lobbyists. I’m sure out of the kindness of their heart, they will allow the country to be ‘free’ after the members of these groups forcefully take over. Just like I’m so sure that they have actually been secretly taking care of the environment and cleaning our rivers, lakes and streams. Just like they have been secretly providing us with completely nutritious food and things to drink.

    Yeah, this headlong rush to throw yourself at the feet of the corporate behemoths is going to end up all right in the end… Sure it is… If you are a stockholder…

    Imagine the glee that the newly unleashed corporate ‘citizens’ will use to remove regulations on their conduct. Imagine their ‘freedom’ from the ‘unfair’ regulations that have kept them chained to the idea that their actions have real and devastating consequences.

    You ‘tea bag party’ intelligentsia who are so concerned for corporate freedom don’t live downstream and downwind from a major chemical plant who a century ago ruthlessly dumped dioxins, polyvinyl chloride, DDT, 24-D, napalm, and arsenic in the river that runs through my neighborhood. You aren’t seeing the politicians getting down on their knees and pledging allegiance to this ‘corporate citizen’ so that they can get money to run, and win, their re-election. You aren’t seeing the legions of ‘Astro-Turf’ groups popping up who ‘demand fair treatment’ for that corporation. And yet I have seen the people that are dying from this corporations ‘love of the community’.

    They used that river as a ‘convenient’ way to dispose of the products that weren’t fit to ship to their clients. They used MY river to dump their ‘byproducts’ like TCDD, PCB, and so many other heinous chemicals that the corporation that is so benevolent can’t even remember. They have drilled wells to. DEEP wells and pumped the stuff that even they realized couldn’t be sent down the river deep under our feet. I sit here typing this knowing full well that I also sit over a gigantic toxic plume. Stuff that has been ‘down there’ for nearly a century. Stuff that the state, in their intelligence, didn’t require the entity that is so concerned about my health and that of my children to log what they sent down the holl,or even keep a list on the back of a napkin.

    When I sat in a meeting and the PR representative of this benevolent corporation told the audience that the decision to pump and dump their chemicals into MY LIFE ‘wasn’t personal’. No. Their reason was that it was ‘a business decision’.

    And you, the ‘tea bagging’ minions of the corporate takeover of the country that I love, want me to trust the corporations standing behind you as you hysterically attack everything that stands between them and OUR health?

    Are you f-cking crazy?

    Look into the eyes of someone dying from cancer. Tell them that the corporation that likely could have caused it deserves to be ‘free’. Free of ‘needless’ and ‘cumbersome’ regulation. Free from the ‘stifling’ effect of lawsuits from citizens that feel they have been wronged by their actions of the product that killed their children.

    The ‘founding fathers’ didn’t put limits on corporations in the constitution BECAUSE THEY DIDN’T EXIST AT THE TIME! If they had I suspect that there would have been strong restrictions on the conduct of corporations. You really need to watch the movie ‘The Corporation’ at http://www.thecorporation.com/

    Living with one so close is like living with a psychopath next door. I never know when some ‘incident’ is going to happen and the chemical that is released is going to waft over my house and kill me. Oh, they have had ‘incidents’ in the past. All, according to the corporation have magically stayed inside their impenetrable fence. Don’t mind the acres of dead vegetation left after one of their ‘incidents’. Acres outside their fence. Oh, and the incident WAS reported to the authorities. Three weeks later…

    There is a part of me that actually hopes that the corporations are successful in their campaign to free themselves. I would love to see the look in your face as you lay dying from the pollution that you so helpfully ‘freed’ them from the regulations to report it and clean it up. Or the look on your face at the pediatricians office as you look into their face as they tell you that your child is dying from the sludge in YOUR river. Put their by YOU!

    Most ‘tea baggers’ that I have met are as stupid as they are dangerous. I fear for the future of this corpratocracy. Perhaps I should buy stock in these about to be freed corporations, and then move to another country. That way perhaps I could actually live to spend my millions…

    Wake up before it is too late…

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