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Progressive Values Stories: Drew & Carol on Openness versus Secrecy

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 I met Drew at an Obama event  in Oakland, California and Carol Hanelberg at a convention in Los Angeles.  They both had in common a value of openness. Drew is disturbed about the secrecy in government and feels Barack Obama will bring transparency. Carol talked about openness starting at home and extending out to family, friends and society. 

"The best weapon of a dictatorship is secrecy, but the best weapon of a democracy should be the weapon of openness."  Niels Bohr

"Where secrecy or mystery begins, vice or roguery is not far off."  Samuel Johnson

Progressive Values Stories: Drew on Openness v Secrecy

The Bush administration has been one of the most secretive administrations and it really has affected my trust in my government, the way I have viewed my ability to be involved in politics.  I have really respected Obama's commitment to transparency in government, a government that is accountable for its own actions. 

That's what democracy is really about – being able to be in involved, and honesty and transparency.  So I really support him on these points. 

I think it's about trust and that your government is abiding by their own rules and not trying to have only their self interests in mind but the public in mind.  And unless, they're open about it, I think people inherently will agree that they're up to no good, that they're against their speaking points.  And in this particular administration, I think they  really are.  In the war in Iraq, it's so clear to me that a lot of accusations they made before going to war with Iraq were trumped up.  I think they need to be held accountable, and I think Barack will hopefully be transparent from the beginning, so those types of mistakes won't happen again...

You confront your mistakes, and the most important thing is to learn from your mistakes, and if you apply that to politics, we all have to learn from our mistakes with the economy, with the way we have dealt with social issues.  I think there is a lot that is not being said, and I hope that will change.

If you don't learn from your mistakes, you will continue to make them.  And still trust in the public.  And if the public does not trust the administration, there is not going to be a real democracy, as I see it.  So that's my take on it. 

 "Nothing is more dangerous than a dogmatic worldview - nothing more constraining, more blinding to innovation, more destructive of openness to novelty."  Stephen Jay Gould quotes

Carol Hanelberg on Openness and Caring

I live in Orange County in Huntington Beach.  I'm involved here in setting up the table for Clean Money.  I think my progressive values is maybe like traditional values, because I believe having open communication within your family, my children, my boyfriend, my close family, my brothers, my mother and also friends.  And just thinking about other people outside of yourself. 

I think if you start here, then you can build on it, and use that throughout your community, city and state, and so on and so forth.  I think they can be used on a larger scale, but I think the basics start at home – with yourself and the people that are closest to you.

I think about my mother.  In growing up, my mother was very open, very verbal, was a good communicator.  My dad was more on the quiet side. But then you also get a message by learning or looking for things from quiet people as well.  I don't remember a particular story, but I just feel that it's important, because miscommunications are so easy to happen if you don't really check with a person and make sure that what you've said is understood, and that you give them also a chance to talk and express themselves.

I think communication, the closeness, caring about other people.  I think that starts, of course, in your family, the way your brought up with your parents' values, family values, and then what you learn from that, what you want to do a little bit differently with your own family.  So I think it starts with your family, the closeness and caring, then you're able to project that and use that with other people outside of your family.

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Founder of the Center for Building a Culture of Empathy. The Culture of Empathy website is a growing portal for resources and information about the values of empathy and compassion. It contains articles, conferences, (more...)
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