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Cathy GF

Cathy GF
The Bay and The Lake, California, USA
December 29
Living the adventure of change


Cathy GF's Links

SEPTEMBER 13, 2008 8:37PM


Rate: 8 Flag

Dear Americans,

Can we please come together for the common good?

Can we please not be Democrat or Republican for just a while?

Can we please return to the values we once learned when we were small and untainted?

Can we please be kind to one another?  Listen to one  another without blaming each other and calling each other names that hurt our feelings and degrade our self worth?

 Can we plese learn again to listen without prejuduce, without scorn, without judgement?

 Can we please communicate in a manner that shows respect for all beliefs, opinions and a right to think and espress our deepest feelings without reproach?

 Can we please be liberal with love, respect, generosity, understanding, empathy, trust, openess, innocence and fairness?

Can we please be conservative with ill feelings, snap judgment, hurtful remarks, visciousness, exageration and hate for those who are different?

Can we please put all labels aside, stop defining the beliefs of others as ignorant, false or otherwise without solid foudation or factual by our own definition?

Can we please put aside our own egos, belief systems and dictates until we can all learn again how to put our combined energies to work for the common good for all?

Can we once again grasp the meaning of being an American?  Born in a country that honors freedom, individual rights, respect for our neighbors, communities and the generosity that allows for all people in our country to come together in times of crisis and times of joy?

Can we please recognize the division that weakens us as a nation and threatens us as a whole?

Can we please, please, just be one people, under God, strong, focused, determined and undaunted by the challenges we face at home and in the world?

I respectfully ask you:  Can we please be Americans first and define what it is to be amoung the luckiest, safest, most privlidged, blessed and genuinely good people on this planet?

Please help us all to define this important role, undivided, standing together, in good times and in bad, honoring our flag, our forefathers, our families and our lives.


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I like your call for civility.

I needed to get that off my chest. Listening to all the political bantering, day after day, the sharp division between citizens, friends, relatives, co-workers, etc, is leaving a cavernous hole within, where deep mutual respect, admiration, pride and combined positive energies should thrive amoung us.
Cathy asks:"Can we please put all labels aside, stop defining the beliefs of others as ignorant, false or otherwise without solid foudation or factual by our own definition?..."

As soon as you sell this idea to the likes of Newt Gingrich, Tom Delay, Karl Rove, Richard Armey, and all the other Republicans who purposely drove wedges between the parties, making bipartisanship a near impossibility, I'll be happy to get on board.

When Vandals are tearing down the gates of your city, you don't get them to stop by appealing to sweet reason.
Mmmmm.....I'd venture to say there's a few Democrats who need to stop driving the wedge as well, and Independents, and Greenies, and.....Well, you get the idea.

ALL of us need to just stop and think---on our own.
Elementaryhistoryteacher may need to take a refresher course in her subject.

The demonization of liberals and of Democrats in general was instituted by Gingrich, and carried forward by Armey, Delay, Rove and others to a large extent well before some Democrats joined in such efforts. Sad to say, the bankrupt nature of Democrat ideals contributed to the poisonous atmosphere which, I predict, will not be easily nor quickly reversed.
Wayne, your points are well taken, however, the intent of my piece was to take a time out from the poisonous nature of partisan politics as recently whitnessed in media and blogs...

My psyche felt brusied from so much negativity all around and longs for just a bit of wisdom from the heart and soul of my beloved countrymen. Dare I say, ala Reagan?

Should I say, pretty please?
I take it Wayne's answer is, "No," he can't stop hating Republicans.
I'm all for civility but... I often come back to this little mantra/joke that I don't know the origin of (or I'd credit it) but I still think sums it up:

There are two kinds of people in the world: People who think there are two kinds of people in the world, and people who don't.

There is a struggle for power right now between those who would be pluralistic (indulging freedom) and those who would be coercive (forcing people to be like them on pain of criminal penalty).

Civil language is only half of it. If you know what it is to be passive aggressive, you know why it is a trap to agree to be civil. The Republicans have been laying a lot of passive aggressive traps and that can be done with a civil tone. Bring that into the bargaining equation and then you might have something.

I think people should be civil, but I don't think they should agree to be. I think they should merely aspire to do it voluntarily. Because sometimes you have to raise your voice without giving your opponent the right to say you're a hypocrite for doing so.
I think her point is not to assume the worst of people. That they can differ for simple reasons, such as economics. Growing up in a fairly wealthy suburb, most were conservative economically, not fundamentalists, cross burners, etc. They simply didn't like to see huge sums of money leave their paycheck. And in a democracy there is theoretically nothing wrong with everyone voting in their best interest. It tells politicians what most people want. Democracy applies the law of social hedonism. And keeps politics near the center and away from the extremes as voters remove people or parties they no longer want.
I think that you have a very valid request, Cathy. However (ah, sorry, I hate to be negative myself but there is almost always a "but....") the real problem in the current election year is that we have two (and only two) political parties each vying for the white hat (the "good guy" label). Why? They want power - simple as that. Don't forget the old axiom, "Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely". In times like these, no matter how unpalatable we may find it, common people like us need to stand up and say, "You're NOT going to lie and get away with it. You're NOT going to bring this country to within a hair of collapse and get away with it. You're NOT going to stretch the Constitution of the United States to the breaking point and get away with it. We will NOT be bullied!".
I like the sentiment, Cathy, but here's what I see happening:

Civil Democrat: John McCain seems to be misrepresenting himself, and he's telling truly offensive lies about Obama.

Civil Republican 1: That can't be; John McCain is a former POW, and he wouldn't tell lies.

Civil Republican 2: All politicians tell lies--Obama is just as much at fault in this regard.

Uncivil Republican: John McCain is only telling the truth about a terrorist sympathizer who will destroy this country if he becomes President.

What do you do to come together when the leader of one side really is bad news?
Okay, but you have civil democrats Planned Parenthood running ads making it sound like McCain condones child molestors. That goes way over the line. Especially if you are doing it with taxpayer money.
I haven't seen the Planned Parenthood ads; what do they say?
Jim, Rob, Bill,

Thanks very much for your honest perspectives and taking the time to chime in. You make your points without the slash and trash verbiage for the party or candidate you oppose, for the most part.
I appreciate the passion of both perspectives, all parties and the differences that make us all thinkers, participants in life and full of energy for our beliefs. Putting the dial on mute would be a far worse alternative.
Rob, I'll make a blog about the PP ad about McCain. I can't say I've ever seen a national ad that offensive. Even Willie Horton was kind of subliminal. This one might as well call McCain a child molester with taxpayer money:
Sorry, Jim. I think someone would have to drop in from a long journey in outer space to believe that PP ad implies McCain is himself a child molester, or even that he condones child molestation.

Anyone who has paid attention to the campaign itself should clearly understand it as a justifiable poke in the eye after the way the McCain campaign tried to paint Obama as one who wants to teach sex education to kindergartners.

And what's with the "taxpayer money" beef? How about the "taxpayer money" used to line the pockets of KBR and Blackwater? Their take dwarfs what PP gets from us taxpayers.

Please, indeed.
Honest feedback:

1. How do you define the "common good"? How can we all agree to come together for it if we have differing definitions of it?
2. I'm OK without the partisan labels. Personally I find them constricting.
3. "Values" is kind of a dicey word, Cathy, and I don't know what you mean by it. My small kids and my neighbors' small kids are learning different values. I teach mine to think independently, to listen more and talk less, to respect differences, to refrain from judging others, and many more. My neighbor teaches hers things that are more achievement oriented and rigid, like never be late, work for the reward, there is an absolute moral code and it's found in the bible, etc.
4. Totally with you on this one.
5. Yes.
6. Yes again.
7. Yes on the liberal thing.
8. Did you mean this or is there a typo here?
9. Yes again, but I find that you're repeating yourself.
10. Again with the common good. What is it and when have we ever come together for it?
11. Hmmm. "Once again grasp the meaning of being American." Wow. I don't know what "being American" means. It doesn't mean one thing. I don't know it and you don't know it. And early Americans most certainly didn't know it. Hence the enslavement of an entire race of people born here, a ton of panic-driven laws to assimilate newly minted Americans who spoke funny and wore foreign clothes in the 1850's, and a virtual kidnapping and internment of Japanese-Americans in the 1940's, just to name a few.
12. As for recognizing the division that weakens us as a nation: what division is that, precisely? The one of partisan politics? If yes, then I'm sort of with you. The founders never really wanted the two-party system, or at least didn't codify it. But since we have it, I'm not sure what to do about people with polar views. I mean, which of your bedrock beliefs will you give up for unity's sake? Abortion? taxes? the environment? (I don't know what your hot-button issues are or if you have any. Maybe unity itself is what you like best. I know what you mean, if that's it. That's why I like Barack Obama. I like diplomacy and dialogue. But it feels simplistic to expect people to just "come together" as you ask.)
13. On being "one people:" I like being me. And you know what? I like diversity. There's just nothing to learn from an echo chamber, which is why I avoid listening to talk shows and engaging in too much conversation where they're preaching to the choir. And the "Under God" thing might elicit a few objections from some salon and OS members. I'm OK with it.
14. I'm a humanitarian first. A person first. THEN an American. I just don't see why some guy I don't know in Detroit should take mental priority over some guy I don't know in Egypt. I never did get that sentiment. When I talk about nationalism and love of country, I'm mostly, like Teddy Roosevelt, talking about the place. Also, I think it's insulting to people all over the world to suggest that Americans are the most "genuinely good" people on the planet. The millions of protesters to the Iraq War in Italy and France and the Scandinavian countries may have something to say about our "goodness." Americans voted twice for a President who started an immoral and illegal war that has taken, in addition to around 4,000 American lives--over a million Iraqi lives. As for luckiest, safest, etc., I'm not sure why Switzerland or whatever doesn't qualify for those adjectives too.
15. I do appreciate when citizens come together for common cause--and the immediate aftermath of 9/11 comes to mind. I don't mean the week later when plans to turn the thing into a war were already happening and people were being criticized for showing even a modicum of curiosity about why certain Muslims hated us--I mean the very first few hours and days. Yes, that felt good.

I hope this doesn't come across as snarky. I just find this post rather simplistic.
Dear Lainey,

Thank you for all the time you put into this response as it is much appreciated and noted.
But "simplistic," no. Simply expressed, yes.
This was not meant to be a science project and dissected to this degree, however, I am awed by your detail and desire to reframe this simple piece.
I haven't seen any McCain ads, so I can't comment on what they say. Then again, when I actually watch TV it's usually HBO, so I don't see many ads other than Youtube.
Okay this is a perfect example. When I do a search of McCain, yes, he has Prolife views. But most of the youtube videos translate this into, John McCain hates women. John McCain is a massive misogynist, John McCain doesnt respect women, John McCain is against women's rights, etc, etc. Because he wants to protect infants, whether you agree with him or not does not mean he hates women. That in itself is very hateful. Demonizing him like that. He's old fashioned. Even says and does goofy things. What is he a 70 year old that was in the army or Air force? Different generation.
This is what I mean. Its one thing to state his views. Its another to say he hates women.
Cathy, I'm sort of cringing at the notion I might actually have posted a mean-spirited comment on someone's blog. But since I've been challenged on vocabulary, I must stand by my "simplistic."
But you're certainly right about it not being presented for dissection. For that I apologize. I should have complimented the generous spirit of the post and left quietly. Truly.
I'm all for this, and I believe Barack Obama has been an excellent model for this. I hear him and I hear a person who seems to be "conscious" and dedicated to not stooping to the unfortunately low stooping levels of politics. Great post.