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Unless you've been hiding under a rock the past two days, you've heard of the family who watched firefighters watch their house burn to the ground. My friend Zach had been under a rock, but he was exactly the person I wanted to talk about it with...

I first met Zach (not his real name, but I do know that as well) on 9/11/2007. Over the past three years I've learned a lot about him. He's a husband, father, and talented musician. He is a retired cop. Serious cop, too - SWAT, hostage negotiations, and was at both terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. He lost 13 of his men in 2001, I listened to him tell me about each and every one of them two years ago, and was in tears.  Here's what he had to say (I have permission to share)

Zach: wow
Brillig: yeah
Zach: thats non feasence, it's illegal
Zach: thats fucking cold hearted
Zach: the volunteers do that here, they solicit money, but they would never let something burn

He's also a Republican, married to a liberal Democrat. He and I talk politics regularly, respectfully and intelligently. I told him that over at GOS (which he does read sometimes) some have said this is what "Republicans" wanted.

Brillig: you wouldn't go to a robbery in progress then say "umm, ya didn't pay your policemen's benevolent donation this year. sorry."
Zach: as a life long forst responder, I could never, no matter what, allow someone to be hurt, or fail to protect life and property because of MONEY!!!!
Brillig: and the guy offered to pay whatever it took, just to put out the fire
Brillig: and they said no, cuase then "everyone would do that"
Zach: Tell you;re friends thst that kind of rhetoric doesn;t solve the problems
Brillig: it's that kind of rhetoric that divides us.
Zach: and you have friends who think we would let that happen? that I would let that happen? Thats not only disturbing, it's hurtful
Zach: it's an assault on who I am.... who I am in my soul. who we are...
Zach: ask them if we stopped and asked if Larry Silverburg paid his FDS rent on 9-11

Zach and I have said for years that there is more that unites us than divides us. (Hell, he and his wife have enough common vision and goals, things in common, to raise a child harmoniously :-)) We've found over the years that we agree on so much, it is small differences in how our goals get implemented. He's not the Devil teahadist and I'm not the commie pinko liberal :-). We aren't the extremes of our respective parties, but we agree that we both dislike the batshit crazies on his far right.  (For the record, he's OK with masturbation. Yes, I asked :-))

Back at the 2006 YearlyKos closing brunch (and for the love of all things Netroots could we PLEASE bring that back, tyvm) I stood up and said something to the effect that having met all these wonderful people, gotten to know them, that next time I read something on the site that rankled me, I'd remember they were good people in Vegas and not look for the Smite button.

Same is true today. We seem to have an innate human desire to divide into Us and Them. Well, I don't wanna draw my Us too closely, 'cause there's a lot of Them who I want in my circle. And maybe, just maybe, if we stop shutting people out, we'll find common ground.

Now can we all get along, dammit? Don't MAKE me sing Kumbayah.

= = = = =
We are one big happy family here at Top Comments, and I'm always happier when my mailbox isn't empty!!

From Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse:

Mother Mags cuts to the heart of conspiracy theories voiced by Teabaggers, reminding us of the rumor that Paul McCartney was dead and had been replaced by a lookalike where the evidence was a backward message in the song, Revolution 9. Comment was posted in my diary last night, Teabagging GOP's Extreme Obama Conspiracy.

From nonnie9999:

In Chris Coons' diary Christine O'Donnell is not me, there were a lot of hilarious comments, but Diogenes2008's pictorial was the one that made me shower my keyboard and monitor with iced tea.

From Yours Truly, brillig:

wyvern on Beltway conventional wisdom.

Detroit Mark on witches according to Christine O'Donnell.

I've got Top Mojo for you, thanks to the magic made by cskendrick and sardonyx:

Top 30 (plus ties) Comments excluding tip jars, first comments and stuff:

  1) I think by Iberian — 136
  2) and...done by LaughingPlanet — 127
  3) I think AnnetteK understands that very well by blue aardvark — 119
  4) All those letters, phone calls, emails by thegood thebad thedumb — 111
  5) The Latest Charge Against Barack Obama by JekyllnHyde — 110
  6) Stakeholders, huh? by Dallasdoc — 104
  7) Not True by JekyllnHyde — 99
  8) The Internet never forgets, and Republicans by blue aardvark — 97
  9) You obviously don't understand by quaoar — 85
10) Part of a Pattern by phillies — 78
11) Private transfer TAX, not a fee. Modern Feudalism by FishOutofWater — 77
12) He was a fierce advocate for the public option by Dallasdoc — 76
13) That memo from Robertson by xxdr zombiexx — 75
14) Hell yes by Dallasdoc — 74
15) O/T but I just wanted to take this opportunity by DaNang65 — 66
16) It's a shame that Feingold is in trouble. by HairyTrueMan — 64
17) Christine O'Donnell is in a Class by Hersef by JekyllnHyde — 64
18) Indeed by quaoar — 63
19) It's discouraging that a Senator of his quality by Fiona West — 63
20) Mitch, you're not dumb. by Adam B — 63
21) Made for Each Other by JekyllnHyde — 62
22) not me either :) by dibsa — 61
23) Carter definitely had the best renewables by Lawrence — 60
24) It really isn't that progressive by pgm 01 — 60
25) Juicy Juice? by JFinNe — 57
26) Gak. The problem is that is how they think! by JanF — 56
27) Further reading on the subject: by skymutt — 56
28) More Proof by JekyllnHyde — 54
29) Okay, I can't resist by Diogenes2008 — 54
30) Solar Hot Water installed here by MD patriot — 53
31) She wants SNL to spoof her, doesn't she? by grannyhelen — 53

Top 30 Comments with no exclusions, aka the Tip Jar & Pooties list :-):

  1) Tip Jar by AnnetteK — 474
  2) Tip Jar by Julie Gulden — 428
  3) Tip Jar by Chris Coons — 396
  4) Tip Jar by Lawrence — 339
  5) Tip Jar by grannyhelen — 301
  6) Tip Jar by skymutt — 291
  7) Tip Jar by Troutfishing — 273
  8) Tips for acting up! by One Pissed Off Liberal — 226
  9) Tip Jar by Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse — 212
10) Tip Jar by yawnimawke — 203
11) By the way... by KingOneEye — 186
12) Water: without it, life disappears. by Patric Juillet — 184
13) Tip Jar by FiredUpInCA — 173
14) Tip Jar by TomP — 173
15) Tip Jar by TarrylClark — 165
16) Tip Jar by War on Error — 161
17) Tips for FIGHTING BACK by MinistryOfTruth — 151
18) I think by Iberian — 136
19) and...done by LaughingPlanet — 127
20) Ammo Can (tip jar) by JayFromPA — 123
21) I think AnnetteK understands that very well by blue aardvark — 119
22) Scritchie Jar by triciawyse — 113
23) All those letters, phone calls, emails by thegood thebad thedumb — 111
24) The Latest Charge Against Barack Obama by JekyllnHyde — 110
25) Stakeholders, huh? by Dallasdoc — 105
26) Not True by JekyllnHyde — 99
27) The Internet never forgets, and Republicans by blue aardvark — 97
28) Tip Jar by Eclectablog — 94
29) Tip Jar by sacrelicious — 90
30) You obviously don't understand by quaoar — 85

Originally posted to brillig on Tue Oct 05, 2010 at 06:59 PM PDT.

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