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View Diary: Is America a Humane Country? We Must Answer This Question Before November! (22 comments)

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  •  Is it still our national aspiration? (2+ / 0-)
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    philipmerrill, bnasley

    Listen to Mary Matalin's words in this Colbert Segment.  It's possible at least 50% of Americans believe the same way


    The Colbert Report Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
    Mary Matalin
    Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog Video Archive

    It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

    by War on Error on Sun Aug 12, 2012 at 12:25:21 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  yes I had considered that but (2+ / 0-)
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      bnasley, War on Error

      (and yeah you're right but)

      For those who talk brutality (I mean our GOP-ers), if they are given a choice between something more highly regarded and something disparaged, they always CLAIM the highly regarded. Like Rand versus Christ for Ryan. To be blunt: These bastards claim they are being humane by being inhumane and claim it is the progressives who are [initiate list of highly disparaged; be sure to include Stalin and Hitler].

      Maybe the bigger questions are whether America is a fraud, has been a fraud, or whether national outlooks are always fraudulent (England's position on tea, opium and commerce during the opium wars; Spain's official position about how Columbus was to treat the American natives).

      Maybe by "aspirational" I'm saying we're kidding ourselves but plan to continue to do so. Turning that into getting people to treat people like people seems to be one of the great quandaries of all time (e.g., religious institutional traditions, military rules against rape and plunder).

      Maybe the aspirational BS must be maintained so we can try to guilt trip and psych people into doing what we want, like telling kids that everyone does things a certain way.

      Plainly for America's victims, our national polity has always been a cruel farce. Hence Gandhi saying "America is a great idea." Yet I consider us a humane nation and believe both our Juaeo-Christian and Enlightenment backgrounds contribute to that. I suppose that means on some level I'm just kidding myself or being intimidated and psyched into supporting a phoney consensus, but it IS how I feel.

      •  Well said. I think I understand how you feel (1+ / 0-)
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        The veil fell from my eyes completely recently.  Like you, I know our history (Shock Doctrine, etc)

        But I held onto a belief that most Americans care about others.  I no longer believe this.

        Here's why:  This may be tmi, but one of my best friends did the right thing.  She worked full-time from April-October and went to school full-time to get her Bachelors degree WHILE raising her two kids AND caring for her mom who died in 2010, a year before my friend graduated.

        Of course the job didn't pay enough for her to afford health insurance, but paid too much for her to qualify for Medicaid.

        The health department told her that lump she found in 2010 was just fibrocystic, but they did give her a voucher for a mammogram.  The radiologist did a biopsy, the pathologist reported "benign" and the health department again told my friend it was just fibrocystic.  She had the 2011 mammogram.  Fibrocysytic.

        In July 2012 she is diagnosed with Stage IV Breast cancer w/cancer in her supraclavical lymph, several lymph nodes, and two spots on her spine.

        SHE WAS DOING THE RIGHT THING, WORKING HARD, but she was neglected, imo.

        I will be helping her survive the next few months of uber chemo, surgery, and radiation.  I hope she does.

        The GP she saw every six months for a prescription refill @ $100 per visit, never once asked to see her breast.  That would have cost another $175 which my friend didn't have.  He either didn't care or he is the most incurious doctor on the planet.  He referred her to the Health Department.

        Luckily, my friend remarried 12 weeks before her cancer diagnosis so she is insured.  She really believed the medical professionals who told her that the problem was fibrocystic disorder.

        I fear we "bleeding heart liberals" are a dying breed.  I'm happy to be old.  I don't want to live in a heartless society.

        It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

        by War on Error on Sun Aug 12, 2012 at 04:05:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  a couple things (1+ / 0-)
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          War on Error

          a) I have a friend who says: So now just imagine all that but being black and in Texas.

          b) the youngsters have a different perspective on being humane, post-Ayn Rand. 9/11 didn't shock them. The issues of loyalty and treachery are understood, as are their respective advantages. It's a colder world, but being humane remains an option.

          c) my hobby is reading about China and studying Mandarin. These issues of being humane have been fundamental to their philosophy of government throughout. An early inhumane philosopher posited that good laws incentivize bad people to do the right thing. A wonderful early philosopher pointed out that even worthy people often do good things for selfish reasons. I think so much of the struggle we face is best informed by this China-stuff in terms of having a society and having a government. If being humane is overly neglected, BOTH fall apart.

          •  China? Really? (1+ / 0-)
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            I think their Buddhist superstitions kept many from acting inhumane but what little I have read about China seems to indicate that the regard for others lives were somewhat callous compared to our young country's regard...well, unless you are black in Texas.

            Will you suggest a good tome about China-stuff for me to read?

            I agree about laws.  The set the boundaries for society.

            Even acting selflessly provides a personal reward, so being selfish is unavoidable.  Greed is acting selfishly with no regard/empathy for others in the quest for more.

            Is it fear that trumps mankind's inner compassion and empathy for others?  Or is it struggle that is needed to develop the same?  Did the youth of Mao's Great Leap Forward become more or less humane in the end?  Haven't the Chinese people been snared by capitalism and moral degradation?

            It's difficult to be happy knowing so many suffer. We must unite.

            by War on Error on Sun Aug 12, 2012 at 05:00:27 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  "Romance of the Three Kingdoms" (1+ / 0-)
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              War on Error

              I'd suggest you get this LOOOONG novel from the library. Most of the great Chinese cultural issues are covered in it, semi-historically and with wit, irony, and bitterness.

              It creates a magnificent villain called Cao Cao (the "C" is pronounced like a T followed by an S; the "ao" is like "ow that hurt"). The real Cao Cao seems much more sympathetic but the thing that is sooo pertinent to our discussion is the way Cao Cao in the novel is always trying to be benevolent and grand according to his country's ancient, great tradition. His consistent pattern of failure and lack of talent for benevolent rule is pathetic even while he accumulates magnificent power and his son founds a dynasty.

              Feel free to email me, inc my veyr at home address. There is an intimidating diversity of reading and reality when it comes to China.

              Most of your questions reflect a simpler, Western, and Hellenistic outlook toward humaneness (uhhh, yeah, we're Americans). It's not easy to make really good generalizations about the OLD non-European societies. Kindness was often NOT something that was safe to advertise. As far as kids today in China, that's a WHOLE lot of kids! I'd be willing to generalize that they probably get pushed around by their parents a whole lot. But I'm not sure WHAT they're snared by. I do know that there is enormous awareness of America and what we are doing. Even if we are a decaying society, we could spend centuries decaying and have a wonderful way down -- and personally I don't subscribe to the dismal view of America's future. UNLESS Romney wins.

              As to your deeper question about tender feelings, most of my insights came from being married. My now ex-wife had real trouble allowing herself to be tender and since she didn't have more practice being open and kind, she'd often run into trouble when she tried it, especially by making bad decisions she thought were loving in some symbolic sense. Like people who are creative, people who are humane must survive and "represent." We must achieve a high enough profile to serve as reasonable role models and set an example. In spite of Obama's bad record on the Glenn Greenwald issues, he lives up to this need. Did you see a couple weeks ago he said something about how he never subscribed to the idea that America was post-racist just because he got elected, but he did think it was pretty neat that a lot of kids were growing up with a black man in the White House and just accepting that as normal. Like the gay-acceptance revolution that's happening as people get to know "out" neighbors and friends they respect.

              OH MY GOD all of this is at stake and we have no guarantees for 2013. Thanks for all you do here!!! (picture those exclamation points continuing off into the distance)

              PHIL :)

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