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View Diary: WGLB presents: Fight Fire with Water. (222 comments)

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  •  By the way, just two examples of what I mean. (10+ / 0-)

    The incitement to hatred against President Obama for one.

    This type of incitement appeared and had been field tested in its ugly particulars BEFORE this latest issue on the GLBT community.  And, when nobody but us cared to confront them then (ok, not nobody, but as close to nobody as possible) the right found something that worked for them.

    The ugliest aspects of anti-liberal behavior do not just spring up fully formed out of whole cloth -- they are field tested first.  On us.

    Second, the Fred Phelps thing.  When he started protesting at soldier's funerals, people reacted as if he was some nut job who just appeared on the scene yesterday.

    He didn't.  He, too, field tested himself and his clan on us, first.

    "I'm sorry, I just don't have the votes" - Me, sometime in November, 2010 (-6.62, -6.26)

    by AndyS In Colorado on Fri Aug 28, 2009 at 10:10:06 AM PDT

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    •  The people/situations mentioned should... (7+ / 0-)

      be fought, absolutely. Their poison is a blight on us all. But do you fight them in a way that heightens their own sense of persecution and martyrdom or do you fight them in way that not only benefits you but also benefits them?

      This is the fundamental attitude of the Buddhist concept of "Right Intention". While there are others with a much greater understanding of this concept than myself, "Right Intention" basically says that the cognitive and purposive sides of the mind do not remain isolated in separate compartments but rather directly influence actions (and thereby influence their success).

      So, for example, if you are trying to change someone's actions or attitudes, your intentions may be governed by the negative (desire, ill will, and harmfulness) or by by the positive (renunciation, good will, and harmlessness).

      So take Fred Phelps (please, somebody take him...far away from us). We want to stop one of his protests. From the Buddhist perspective (as I understand it) if we conduct ourselves from the desire for personal gain, out of hatred for him personally, or to punish him, then our actions will not be nearly as effective than if we conduct ourselves from the desire for positive change (whether it immediately affects us or not), compassion for him and his followers, and a commitment to heal rather than harm. Our actions may be the same, but the attitude is different.

      Admittedly this is really difficult. I often find my political and Buddhist beliefs colliding, especially with people like Phelps, but I do think that this is the only way to effect lasting change.

      Obviously, those who incite others to violence should not be allowed to continue. I actually would like to see our free speech laws reflect a more European stance, in that hate speech it more strictly defined. But not from the attitude of "that will show them" but more from the attitude of giving people an opportunity to draw back from their hatred.

      And many times, I do feel genuine compassion for people like Phelps and Bachmann and Beck and all the rest. The world they knew is disappearing and they've reacted with fear and hatred because they don't know what else to do. They remind me of the Star Trek episode Let That Be Your Last Battlefield:

      Sulu: But their planet's dead; does it matter now which was right and which was wrong?

      Spock: Not to Lokai and Bele. All that matters to them... is their hate.

      Uhura: Do you suppose that's all they ever had, sir?

      Kirk: No – but that's all they have left.

      For Ted Kennedy, it was never about him...it was always about you. - Joe Biden

      by ajewella on Fri Aug 28, 2009 at 10:57:59 AM PDT

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      •  I do think the desire to harm others out of (8+ / 0-)

        revenge is a sport of the young -- not saying all young people are motivated out of revenge, nor no old people -- but if you learn and grow in life, the helpfulness of revenge as a concept gutters out.

        I am neither a Buddhist nor a Christian but I do consider myself -- to the extent I have an identifiable philosophy at all -- a Humanist.

        What I try to do is look at things in a more holistic sense, where possible.  

        This country was founded on not only respeting but embracing diversity and it's a value that has been steadily slipping away from us in my perception as I get older.

        So, taking Fred Phelps -- and I agree, take him! ;)  Where my philosophical stance as a Humanist and not a Buddhist or a Christian comes down is this:

        I neither want to heal nor harm him.  What I want instead and what I'm all about is fundamental realization through visceral experience.

        That is, only visceral experience can teach someone past a certain point.  And thus we as a country need to bring back our pride and love for human diversity strongly as a bedrock value.  Hate for whole classes of people simply cannot flourish in such an environment.

        For that to happen, people have to be chvvied out of their hidey holes, not violently or angrily, but simply make it impossible for them to stay in their literal and philosophical holes.  That is what this country is becoming these days, is a country of hidey holes where people can lurk and nourish their hate.  

        "I'm sorry, I just don't have the votes" - Me, sometime in November, 2010 (-6.62, -6.26)

        by AndyS In Colorado on Fri Aug 28, 2009 at 11:08:54 AM PDT

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        •  I very much agree. (7+ / 0-)

          And this is a sticking point I have with many Liberals/Progressives myself - because embracing diversity really means everyone. We can't expect to have others accept us as part of their diversity if we don't accept them as part of ours.

          Of course, I don't mean accepting when people commit acts of violence or try to take away a group's civil rights, or any one of a multitude of "sins". But it does mean that we can't continue to bash people for being Evangelical/Mormon/Republican/Conservative/Southern just because their beliefs conflict with ours (actions are another story, but we've already discussed that).

          Celebrating diversity means celebrating everyone's diversity. Helping people of different beliefs achieve their own goals, as long as those goals don't trample the rights of others.

          It's a difficult path to walk but a worthy one.

          For Ted Kennedy, it was never about him...it was always about you. - Joe Biden

          by ajewella on Fri Aug 28, 2009 at 11:29:03 AM PDT

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          •  LOL. I can be a hard person. Very hard. (7+ / 0-)

            And, at times, hard hearted, too -- towards those who truly deserve it.  As I think my dad is going to discover soon.  The kind of steel he helped forge ;).

            I don't apologize for it.  I was made (forged) that way.  That's another consequence of what the country's attitude towards GLBT people has done.  It's a subtle distinction between that and angry and revenge based, but it's not QUITE the same thing.

            "I'm sorry, I just don't have the votes" - Me, sometime in November, 2010 (-6.62, -6.26)

            by AndyS In Colorado on Fri Aug 28, 2009 at 11:50:31 AM PDT

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            •  I completely sympathize, believe me (5+ / 0-)

              My father destroyed my childhood and thereby tried to destroy my adulthood (I'm a sexual abuse survivor). He almost succeeded too. But he's been dead a long time and when I think about him at all, it's usually with sadness - he genuinely had some great qualities and he could have been a great father.

              My mother, on the other hand, is still very much alive and still doesn't understand her role in the abuse. However, I've chosen to have a relationship with her and the only way I could do that was to forgive her. Does that mean that I let her get away with her delusions? No - not when she's around me anyway. Does that mean I would trust her to protect my own child? Not a bit. But I love her and I try to keep any "confrontations" gentle and from a place of love and compassion.

              This approach doesn't work for everyone but it worked for me (although I had to move 1700 miles away from her for 10 years to get to this place). I try never to judge the coping methods that others use to survive a terrible childhood or any other horrible experience. I haven't lived their life, so how could I know what is necessary for them to survive? Like you said, it's a subtle difference - but you know there is a difference and that's what's important. You shouldn't have to apologize for it - particularly not to anyone who hasn't been through what you've been through.

              For Ted Kennedy, it was never about him...it was always about you. - Joe Biden

              by ajewella on Fri Aug 28, 2009 at 12:40:05 PM PDT

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              •  I didn't speak to him for 20 years. (5+ / 0-)

                And you're right there's a difference between being hard and being gratuitously cruel.

                Had my father spoken to me, I would have counseled him not to come here if he wasn't prepared for pain and rememberance. Because he's going to get it.  When he comes here it's going to be like falling 50 feet onto bare asphalt.

                He doesn't know anyone out here but us.  And mercy at least in my case is limited.  I have a life to live and none of his bullshit to put up with -- ever again.

                In an abstract sense it's sad, because he's going to be very lonely being out here.  I don't go out of my way to hurt him, but about once a year or so is all I can stand.

                "I'm sorry, I just don't have the votes" - Me, sometime in November, 2010 (-6.62, -6.26)

                by AndyS In Colorado on Fri Aug 28, 2009 at 12:52:13 PM PDT

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          •  There are limits (3+ / 0-)

            Everyone is entitled to their opinion and to their freedom. The issue arises where someone's opinion is that THEY are entitled to THEIR opinion and THEIR freedom while YOU are not entitled to anythign at all. Embracing diversity is one thing. Agreeing to be doormat is quite another.

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