No, not That. I have nothing to say about That that isn't being said by others, better than I could and louder than I would.

In fact, the events of last week led me to immediately turn off the tv and shun the internet. There was just too much being said.

Here, too. Inevitably.

Inevitably because this is a political joint, but also because this is a people joint. While politics may be the doorbuster special here, it is the people, their intelligence and kindness, that makes this place a real home away from home for so many.

I'm pretty sure Markos didn't plan it that way. It's a natural outgrowth of the kind of politics that is the core attractor here. You care about the environment? Avoiding needless war? Income equality? There's a good chance you care about just regular old people, too.

Having a great number of caring people interacting together makes for pretty cool encounters, unexpected, random collisions that might mean nothing among a different sort, but, because many here operate with a decent empathy reserve, can lead to new friendships, and new understanding between people of very different views and histories.

It's impossible to say what's going to mean something to someone.

There was a week a couple of years back that was all funerals for me. Nothing like the stuff recently. Old folks mainly, who'd enjoyed fine, long lives. Still, too many funerals for one week.

It led me to post some of my basic suggestions for those thinking about their finale, serious suggestions, though presented a bit flippantly.

One of the commenters objected to the lightness of my tone. After a bit of back and forth, it became clear why: this person had just attended a funeral, not for someone at the end of a long life, but a person, a dear, beloved partner, smack dab in the middle.

We conversed a bit more online and off, talking about the deep stuff, how to deal with the undealable, etc. Over time, we came to have a great mutual affection and respect. All from a little bit of compassion, an effort to hear as well as be heard.

A long time after, when this place was buzzing with secret Santas buying site subscriptions, I was informed that this member had bought one for me. Because our conversations had helped at a critical time.

Conversations that grew from one moment of me shutting up about my own clever ideas and listening to somebody else try to explain their side.

Once the magnitude of what happened last week became clear, I knew I'd have to stay away from here. In times like these, we tend to skip over those small listening moments, blasting out our own, long and sincerely held, beliefs, blowing aside the views of others in the rush of our rightness.

And making this place something very different.

When I glanced in yesterday and saw a TTFN from Kitsap River, I knew it had gotten bad.

So I'm breaking my silence.

No matter how great the outrages around us, how strong our own feelings, please don't allow them to push aside the kernel of empathy that has made this place home for so many.


Don't screw this place up. There aren't that many spots around this big old intertubes with so few fools and jerks. Be nice to keep it that way.

That's all from me. Hoping all have a reasonable facsimile of that nice day I keep hearing about.

Originally posted to Crashing Vor on Mon Dec 17, 2012 at 06:57 AM PST.

Also republished by Courtesy Kos.

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