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Can't We All Just Get Along?

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I only occasionally write original stuff for my blog because of some medical issues that make typing a chore and construction of sentences and proper spelling of words difficult. But, this couldn't wait for the pill peddlers to fix all those issues.

In the last several days, it seems that we on the left have abandoned all hope, resorting to vilifying the guy that is supposed to help correct the disasters of the last 28 years. Folks, lets do a civics lesson here. We live in a Representative Democracy or at least what is left of it. That means that we listen to the people who offer themselves for various offices and then we express our opinions, desires, wishes and hopes at the ballot box of the person who most nearly expresses the essence of our own world view.
Once those people get to wherever they gather to effect legislation and execute that legislation, our influence is muted through layers of office staff and paid advisers who screen, to some degree more or less, the legislator or executor from us due to the sheer necessity for help in the volume of material with which the job requires reviewing. If the legislator or executor strays too far afield on issues that we recall that person expressing an opinion on, we are obligated to communicate that to the person in question. Our governing document, the US Constitution and Amendments thereto, makes specific provision for that right and obligation.

All of this is an arrogant way to lead in to the topic that must, in my overbearing opinion, we on the left need to visit a shrink for some Valium or take a handful of the sedatives that the shrink is prescribing if we are already seeing one. I don't understand the various dithers that some of my colleagues have worked themselves into regarding Rev. Right(wing), cabinet appointments, successors to Sen. Clinton, etc., coupled with the meaningless threats to take your marbles and go home. Yes, these are issues that need our attention. But temper-tantrums about every little thing that comes down the pike of life is truly tiresome.

I am reminded all too vividly of the story of the Little Boy Who Cried, "Wolf!". When the wolf finally comes, no one will listen to us because we have raised so much Hell about so many insignificant things, so many times.
With all due respect to my colleagues in the gay and lesbian community, Rick Warren has an opinion. I think his opinion is uninformed, ill-considered, perhaps mean-spirited, but it is an OPINION. Whether it becomes any more than the opinion of a second-tier Bible-thumper depends, exclusively on the pantie-wad we have over it. Rick Warren has a not insignificant following who believe as he does.
 
The way to change that is to have grass-roots effort to educate those followers about the need to review their opinions in one-on-one discussions. The problem is that we have grown lazy with the advent of the new toys of mass communication that have blossomed in the last 30 years. Grass roots organizing is just too much trouble anymore. News flash, everyone. The current President-elect is in that position because someone took the time to organize on the grassroots level and PERSUADE people to change their collective minds.

Screaming, yelling, browbeating, rude discourse, condescension, ridicule and getting the last word may all feel good, and may even work in the short-term. If you want someone to reconsider their belief, you have to have a civilized conversation with them that makes your case AND leaves them a way to back out of the previous position gracefully. For those of you born in the last 30-40 years, this is called political compromise.

You have never seen it work because Richard M. Nixon and his thugs killed it. Politics has never been the same since we discovered that there were actually people out there who could work their way in to the ultimate positions of power who HATED the idea of democracy. People who actually wanted to eliminate democracy in any form. People who wanted to exercise power without the accountability of answering to people who they view as beneath them.



Hopefully we now have a President who can resurrect it and, with the cooperation of leadership in Congress, make pragmatism and compromise desired goals. Drive a stake through the heart of the oligarch's and autocrat's favorite weapon to divide and conquer: the ideologue.
Simply because someone gives a little to get a little is not a bad thing. It is called political compromise. Yes, there are certain things that cannot be compromised and have to be pressed in their entirety. Those things are very few and very far between. We seem to have come to a time when everyone wants what they want when the want it. My message to you is, "GROW UP!".

One of the characteristics of maturity is the ability to defer your wants and desires and to accept a portion of those wants and desires on the way to the ultimate goal of satisfaction of those wants and desires. Accepting a partial satisfaction of a goal should compel a desire to redouble efforts to achieve the goal, not dumping the bowl upside down and running to Mama with a teary demand for satisfaction...unless you are 3 years old. Let's get a grip on reality here. Peter Pan is a fairy tale, and not an achievable state. We cannot remain children forever.

Is this writing patronizing? You betcha! (Intentionally used to demonstrate why she resonated with a significant number of people.) But that is what your Mama used when you dumped your bowl over and demanded everything. Let's take these hyperventilation inducing issues individually.

  1. Sen. Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State-The last time I looked, Mrs. Clinton did not have horns on her head. Strong opinions? Yes. Forceful delivery of those opinions? Yes. Willing to compromise those opinions to achieve partial movement toward an objective? Absolutely. These characteristics make her a bad person or an unacceptable Secretary of State? Not in this lifetime. They make her a masterful politician. 'Politician' is a word of high praise to me.
  2. Caroline Kennedy as Senator from New York-The last time I looked, Ms. Kennedy was not wearing diapers and had forsaken the use of a bottle of formula to feed herself. Can we please dispense with the absolutely asinine argument that she is too inexperienced for the job? I defy anyone to come up with a consensus list of what constitutes 'acceptable experience' for an incoming US Senator and then apply it to all of the sitting US Senators. Then tell me how many of them hit all of the 'qualifications'. Ms. Kennedy has a widely recognized name? Yes. That is her only qualification? Not hardly. Ms. Kennedy is a constitutional lawyer with a successful practice. Who better to help the country reassemble the tatters of our badly used Constitution?
  3. Rev. Rick Warren as the Invoker of God's Blessings at the Inauguration-this one is so outrageous, I didn't want to even comment on it. For openers, there are more important things to worry about than having a person with some wrong-headed views about some subjects as an invoker of blessings from the Almighty. President-elect Obama is making sure that the public at large know that his idea of governance is consensus AND that he wants the Democratic Party to have a very large tent, like it used to have. When we get together, we scream and yell at each other, but in the end we stand together is his idea of governance and party. (I am presumptuously speaking for the President-elect and let me make this very clear, these are my OPINIONS of the thinking of the President-elect based strictly on observing his actions without the histrionics.)
  4. Not Enough Overtly Liberal Nominees-This is simply more of the ideology that seems to grip both the left and the right. We are filled with ideologues who want it all their way. Sorry folks, but not everyone in the country agrees with your positions. That's because you have spent far too much time on your computer and far too little time interacting with others. You need to get out more.
  5. Ad Nauseum-I could go on and on with the childish rants that have been identified over the last year, but I need to get on to other things and my personal issues are beginning to act up.
The point of this essay is that the marvelous communications devices that have come in to being in the last 30 years were never meant to replace the human interaction of grassroots work. They were to HELP MAKE THAT WORK EASIER! The Republicans figured out that we on the left had abandoned the grassroots work 30 years ago. They had a slogan to summarize their newly discovered method of becoming a majority party, "From the courthouse to the White House.". That is why they were so incredibly successful in forging a governing majority even though their policies were against the interests of so many people who voted for them.

Then the Republicans succumbed to the Democratic disease: they became ideologues. The outgoing President is the classic example of an ideologue. Even when experience was showing that some policy wasn't working, the policy was doggedly pursued to its inevitable catastrophic end result.

The President-elect is the first pragmatist that has occupied that position in 30 years. Pragmatism requires that you adapt and change as events demand that you respond in a new way. People don't like to change. If you are going to get them to change, you must either disguise the change to look like what people are comfortable with or you must communicate in a non0threatening manner that lets people accept the change. Pragmatism is often vilified as 'flip-flopping'. It is. But without those flips and flops, paralysis sets in and governance grinds to a disastrous halt.

I am not able to write more at this time and the message here is too important to wait. The message is: pick your battles carefully, conduct them pragmatically and accept that things don't happen in the space of the 30 minute sitcom. This will, in all likelihood, be vilified as a STFU message. Nothing could be further from the truth, but it sounds good to those given to shallow thinking and is very satisfying to those wanting victim-hood. The truth is, keep talking and writing, just without the histrionics. Use these wonderful communications devices as an aid to that personal interaction with real people in face to face conversations.

It is that important.

 

http://www.thescarletpimpernel.info

I was born in the Republic of Panamá and lived there until I was 16. Most of the time we lived in Santa Clara, a small community in Cocle Province in central Panamá. Our farm was about 1/2 mile from the Pacific Ocean and the most beautiful beach (more...)
 

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