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This is an Open Thread / Coffee Hour and all topics of conversation are welcome. Today I would like to share my experience last Saturday of talking to Republicans at our Farmers Market political Table.
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From Wikipedia
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What is for dinner? How are you doing? What is on your mind. If you have a picture of a table centrepiece, that you made or like, please share it with us. If you are new to Street Prophets please introduce yourself beyond the fold in a comment.

At our Vallejo Farmers Market this Saturday we set up our political table and our voter registration table. Never to soon work to elect better and more Democrats to office.

Now you might be saying what is this business about seeing good in Republicans. Well at the Farmers Market I have been talking to Republicans for years with the thought in the back of my mind to look for the good in them. And this week it paid off. As the only community square in town the local traffic is the same each week. And there is time to identify oneself as members of the community. When you live in such an urban environment you have to get along. Hundreds of persons have stopped to talk over the last few years, and many were Republicans. What was remarkable was the subtle change in the conversations this week.

First in preparation for this day I requested my volunteers to be kind to the conservatives that might stop by and not to gloat over our victory. I ask them to lead  the conversation to talk about our local non-partisan victories. Such as passage of our county college bond measure.

The first Republican that stopped by was a gentleman that thinks "Obama is going to take my guns away." An older fella who listens to FOX and spouts their talking points. My breakthrough with him was on last years Measure L to fund our county library system. He was against it but after long discussions about the benefits to his poor nephew he changed his vote. (I suspect he loves his nephew even though he says the kid wastes his time a the library.)

When he stopped by he was greeted with the announcement of our new campaign to get votes for our Club's Participatory Budgeting Project.  The conversation was about whether he would vote for our project rather than his party losing. I ask him to come to a meeting and make a proposal himself. He said he would think about it. We parted with a handshake just as the next one showed up.

A teacher employed by Travis Air Force Base.  I had been exchanging pleasantries with him for years but did not know he was a Republican. And why he chose this weekend  to announce it baffled me for a moment. But on that day he had remarkable criticism for his party. I had a terrific conversation with him about bringing industry to Vallejo. And while talking to him realized how engaging a "Republican" like him sharpened my progressive idealism. Key to talking with him was how quickly we established a few common terms and concepts that we both agreed on. Specifically, we substituted the concepts of global and local to highlight our political differences rather than using concepts and vocabulary used by FOX.

Also, He apologized for not attending our Election Night Party as he wanted to meet his new Democratic congressman Mike Thompson. Now here is an opportunity. I'm going to get my Democratic club to host an greet and meet for the more conservative members of our community. I ask him how he knew about the party and he said I had invited him three weeks ago. I had invited so many people that passed by our booth and had forgot.

Lastly, I talked at length with a young family man from Montana that supports his family as militarily contractor. Also, a FOX viewer, but I admire him for his dedication to his family, who he misses, and to his owning a small farm in a rural area. Again by seeing him regularly we have established some common references points and our topic of conversation is Obamacare. I know his burden of paying for his family health care is hard on him, thus him having to travel to get a good job. Our touch stone is the fact that japan pays 3% of GDP on universal health care. And we parted with a handshake.

In each case there are common indices that are shared between us, and finding them is part of "Seeing The Good In Republicans." Establishing common values and acknowledging them repeatably and taking the time to not reference concepts used to describe things introduced by FOX news. These are lots of small verbal handshakes about common things shared by each of use as individuals.

Most of my club members say Jon, how can you stand talking to those people weekend and week out. Well I'm going to let you in on my secret on how I do it. It is an understanding of how to apply the theory found in George Lakoff's The Political Mind: A Cognitive Scientist's Guide to Your Brain and Its Politics.

The handshake above is a metaphor for communication or a transaction. And unless there is common vocabulary and concepts shared between those who talk to each other there is no transaction no handshake. The key to talking to a Republican is taking the time to make sure are talking the same language. And to understand that they are so brainwashed that one has to start with one word or concept at time. Hold in mind the metaphor of the game of GO rather than the game of Chess.

Make no mistake the Republican's are speaking a different in a different tongue. The metaphor or fact is that like Pavlov's Dogs they are conditioned by Fox news and the Conservative media to behave and speak the way they do.
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A statue of Ivan Pavlov and one of his dogs from Wikipedia. (Perhaps a visual metaphor of Rupert Murdoch petting one of his viewers of Fox news.
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Consider this example from the book The Symbolic Species by Terrence W. Deacon. He makes the case that words are linked to concepts. And one may say the same word but think a different concept.  In his book he uses the social customs of the Yanomamo Indians of the rain forest of Venezuela and northern Brazil. They live in a large number of small villages and often are often in a struggle with each that some anthropologists call a "war" (I will defer to  by Ojibwa to clarify this labeling as being true or fabrication of western science) over the land that they control.  Lets just say the villages are divided over issues.  Much like Republican and Democrats are divided over issues. But at time the villages have to work together.

In the case of the Yanomamo peacemaking process, an elaborate ritual provides the indices that are required. It is known as a "Feast." First, the hosts who wish to make peace prepare a meal. when their guest are due to arrive, dressed as for war and carrying their weapons, the host put their weapons away and the men recline on their hammocks waiting the the guest to enter their village. The guests enter, dancing and chanting, and circle around the camp stopping in from of each host. There they ritually threaten them, raising an ax of drawing a bow and arrow. the host must remain unmoved, trying to show no fear and offense at provocative remarks. After this has been repeated for a while (and latent hostilities have not erupted in violence), the roles are reversed. The guests recline in hammocks, their weapons hidden away, while the host circle around the camp dancing and ritually threatening their guest.s Finally when is clear that nothing untoward is likely to happen, they break off and the guests are offered food. Later they may chant together, barter and exchange goods, or even arrange a marriage.

From The Symbolic Species by Terrence W. Deacon

Like the hosts above I have talked to Republicans and remained unmoved, trying to show no fear and offense at provocative remarks. And this Saturday when they returned I found them willing to willing to lay in their hammock for a moment and let me show my weapons. But, I have chosen mine very carefully, faith, hope, charity.  I have have offered them food in the form of caring enough about them to establish an initial good handshake or transaction that touches something they value. Thus, establishing a common grounded idea linked to a word, that serves as a starting point for further dialog.

Deacon talks about the importance of social ritual activities to establish common indexes of understanding. And, the Farmers Market, for my community,  serves as a theater for the performance of these activities. The commons forum of our Farmers Market provides the time and exposure to break down the language barriers that divide us. Community festivals, parades, and even simple community meetings to address our common concerns serve the same purpose.

Community Theater deserved a mention as it serves a key role in binding a society together as it allows members of the community to act out concepts and ideas and link them to a shared experience that can be talked about by the community, thus establishing a common language. Often actors can say on stage things that they are unable to say at the barber shop or the PTA meeting.

In closing I mention Community Theater as It is a love of mine. And I am in a struggle to Save Live Oak Theatre for community use in Berkeley. The oligarchs have bought the national media and now they are coming after smaller venues to silence community voices and control how we think and what language we use. Please see my diary about this: Will Berkeley City Council Kill Its Community Theatre?

Best,

Jonathan

Originally posted to Street Prophets on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 02:04 PM PST.

Also republished by California politics, Systems Thinking, Changing the Scrip, Political Language and Messaging, Pink Clubhouse, Positive Intention and Lovingkindness, and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Back in 1964 or 1968 Hubert Humphrey (25+ / 0-)

    when he was either running for vice president with LBJ against Goldwater, or for president against Nixon, gave a campaign speech in which he said at various points in our history we needed liberals, and at various points in our history we neded conservatives.  He mentioned the Declaration of Independence was a liberal document, the conservatives of the day were willing to remain part of Britain.  But the Constitution was a conservative document, the liberals of the day were happy with the Articles of Confederation and opposed ratification.

    Incidentally, the handshake was invented by the French revolutionaries, during the French revolution, which makes it I guess a liberal thing to do.  Before then, people bowed to each other.  Thomas Jefferson immediately adopted the handshake, but George Washington refused to shake hands with anyone and greeted others with a bow until the end of his life.

    "We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals, now we know that it is bad economics." Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jan. 20, 1937

    by Navy Vet Terp on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 02:53:30 PM PST

  •  Teatro Campesino (14+ / 0-)

    was started by the Farm Workers Union during La Huelga as a way of engaging the people in political dialogue. I think we overlook this form of communication when we rely totally on scripted theater--TV news, internet, newspapers, etc. In doing improv, there is little distinction between the actors and the audience and there is a dynamic that happens between the two. As we isolate ourselves behind the media wall, we lose the dialogue.

    All of this is to say: there is a need to revitalize community theater as a part of our civic (and civil) dialogue.

  •  Pull a fat blunt (6+ / 0-)

    from your pocket, light it up, blow enough smoke in their faces to make them hallucinate a bag of Doritos, then offer them a hit.

    "There ain't no sanity clause." Chico Marx

    by DJ Rix on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 03:37:55 PM PST

  •  What a thoughtful and useful diary (15+ / 0-)

    filled with tips and excellent examples of doing the work of politics in a simple way.

    Your diary also reminds me of my mother and grandmother and the things they would say about gloating: there's not much of a conversation in a gloat.

    Thanks for all this food for thought.

    Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

    by a gilas girl on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 03:50:03 PM PST

  •  Takes one to know one (12+ / 0-)

    I was one of them. I grew up on a farm in redneck Central Valley California. In fact, many of my friends from there were once Democrats. In fact, the whole place used to be staunchly Dems at one time.

    Then things changed. I continued to remain a Democrat. My friends, from the Central Valley told me that I became a Communist because I decided to go to university at UC Berkeley.

    In many ways, I am still more conservative than they are. There are a lot of social problems ... to this day in the area where I grew up. To tell you the truth, a lot of those Liberal programs are a great benefit in these regions.

    I still have many friends there, and I really do care about them to this day ... alot!

    No more gooper LITE!

    by krwada on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 03:50:24 PM PST

  •  Ordinary Repub voters can be easier to talk to (7+ / 0-)

    than the bought and paid for politicians in DC. But not always. Where do you go, seriously, with someone who "argues" that Nixon didn't orchestrate the Watergate affair?

    Yeah. I don't know, either.

  •  Good try, and maybe you'll get... (2+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    krwada, linkage
    Hidden by:
    Yamaneko2

    somewhere. But all the conservatives I know are wasted lumps of flesh and humanity would be better off if they were cast into the Sun.

    There is no talking to them. Not the ones I know. They are full of bile, racism, and anger.

    Of all the varieties of virtues, liberalism is the most beloved - Aristotle

    by PhotogHog on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 05:15:07 PM PST

  •  I can't talk to them. (6+ / 0-)

    I admit it is a failing in myself, but there are still points at which I am working on "this is how a woman behaves among friends in this situation" stuff, since I am both ADHD and on the autism spectrum. Typed words are far easier than conversation one to one with someone who genuinely believes that I should just die and get out of the way, since I am recieving public assistance.

    When you come to find how essential the comfort of a well-kept home is to the bodily strength and good conditions, to a sound mind and spirit, and useful days, you will reverence the good housekeeper as I do above artist or poet, beauty or genius.

    by Alexandra Lynch on Mon Nov 12, 2012 at 10:33:36 PM PST

  •  Inspirational. (5+ / 0-)

    Thanks, I learned some good tips for talking to my conservative friends (some of the people I grew up with), and also some possible strategies for connecting with people on environmental issues, which are very important to me, and which I think are shamefully ignored.

    •  Thank You .... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      translatorpro, krwada, SchuyH

      I plan in the Monday Coffee Hour at Street Prophets to have the themes that involve metaphor and applying them to politics.

      On environmental issues I'm told linking it to personal health issues is a very effective way to get the ear of a climate science skeptic .  Make the conversation about their health.  Rather than saving the amazon rain forest. (Clearly we progressive want to save the amazon rain forest, but Republicans are not ready for that message yet.)

      I'm reminded of the movie Contact.  "tiny steps"

      JON

      "Upward, not Northward" - Flatland, by EA Abbott

      by linkage on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 09:52:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I would not want to live in a one party Nation. (7+ / 0-)

     I even voted for a Republican once.  (Ike).  The two party systems is supposed to keep us in a sort of balance and I applaud that.  Republicans however have become social radicals   Also, one  problem as I see it is the Conservatives are not Fiscal Conservative any more.  Look at their record.  When you talk to them they admit they were “reckless” but promise to do better if you will only elect them again, but they never do.    We need moderate Republicans; we don’t need extremists in either party.        

  •  as the buddha said (6+ / 0-)

    holding on to your anger is like grasping a coal to throw it at your enemey, you  are the one that is burned

    Thank you or this thread, is street prophets a sub group here ir something?

  •  Dialogue with republicans is (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    linkage, krwada, SchuyH

    maddening.  Why do you think participation in this site--free of republicans--has grown so much?  I used to like the IDEA of debating and discussing with republicans, but once I realized that I was ALWAYS debating a fact-free alternate reality of talking points constructed by right-wing media, it became very difficult to look for the "good".  

  •  Great diary.................. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    linkage, krwada, This old man, SchuyH

    I was thinking before I got out of bed this morning about Republican/Conservative thought. My conclusion was that, yes, on some policy matters the have gone on the rails to the right, so to speak.  However, moderation is possible and not that far a leap in at least some instances.

    While I oppose Republican Fiscal policy; small government, low taxation; it is not, in and of itself, inherently evil.  Where they have gone far and finally started to lose the majority of the electorate is social issues: “Legitimate Rape.”  “Christians are being persecuted”  “ Abortion is Murder”  etc.

    Their biggest problem is that the far right loons from West, to Bachmann, Beck to Limpballs have become the voice or Republicanism. Until more moderate republicans, both in elected office and among the citizenry start to speak out against the radical, rabid, looneyness emanating from the far right; they, as a party are going to become more and more marginalized.

    They need to take responsibility for the monster they created with the Tea Party. They need to not only stop parroting the hate speech but start denying and condemning it.

    "No, Barack Obama was not born in Kenya he was born in Hawaii."

    “No, women have a right to birth control and reproductive health services. They are not “sluts” because of that fact.”

    "No, there are not 70 to 80 members of the communist party in the House. There are none."

    "Immigrants into this country from Central/South America are not looking for handouts. They come to work and work hard at very hard jobs."

    Will they have the guts to do so?  Who Knows?

    The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation--HDT

    by cazcee on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 04:32:08 AM PST

  •  I have some friends and family 'across the divide' (7+ / 0-)

    and, indeed, was raised in the bosom of the Republican Party (we were "Lincoln Republicans").  And many years of 12-step work have made exercising my empathy much easier.

    What I found, in the run-up to the election, was that there was one area of common ground which was fairly consistent.  Namely, the impulse to get money out of politics.  I believe that issue is one that we can reach out on, and be effective.  Now, there is a lot of noise about Hollywood millionaires and left-wing billionaires, and evil unions.  So, perhaps the first place to attack the issue is on the flank, in order to build a consensus which can then attack soft money.  The "non-free-speech" angle is to set a moratorium on people in government working as lobbyists after leaving government.

    So, for example, nobody has served in Congress or as a legislative aide may advocate or advise for anything in front of Congress for 10 years.  Then, perhaps, a 10 year moratorium on the same for departmental workers marketing to their former agency.  And finally, no military officer of above a certain grade may advocate for any company to the Pentagon or Congress.

    Those are an attack on the corruptive nature of influence, and might appeal to conservatives who, after all, sought some balance on that through term limits.  It's not a free speech issue, and it's non-partisan.

    Just an idea to test at the market.

    Ancora Impara--Michelangelo

    by aravir on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 05:02:39 AM PST

  •  It can be a real challenge (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    linkage, krwada, SchuyH

    to find the good in some Republican. Yes I do know a couple of Republican who are good people but they are not hard core conservatives in fact they both voted for Obama so I guess they would be RINO. As for the hard core one It would take an act of God I think to make them decent people! However my hat is off to you for trying.

  •  I'd have told the old fart, "That's right! The (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    linkage, krwada, SchuyH

    Kenyan Muslim Socialist Usurper is sending his goons to take your guns and leave you defenseless! AT  THIS VERY MOMENT, they're asking where you live! And once they've taken the arsenal you have in your underground bunker, they'll make you marry a man AND raise your taxes! Run for the hills!"

    Why do I suspect that the same people who're so very concerned about gun-grabbers et al. could not bend over fast enough to do whatever the Decider decided?

  •  extra time taken (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    linkage, translatorpro, krwada, SchuyH

    pays off.  Amen!   Nice diary.

    The process of deconstructing the language barrier takes lots of time in any conversation.  And, will also require many conversations.  Good points all.

  •  Over the past several years (6+ / 0-)

    I have seen several Republicans change from "fiscal" Republicans to reluctant Republicans to independents and some on to Democrats.

    We have to give the opposition a way to become our allies, and to join us completely. You are 100% right that we must provide that path, and make it easier for them to walk toward us.

  •  This is really lovely. (6+ / 0-)

    I don't have many friends who are political conservatives, and I usually try to avoid talking politics with those I do have -- but we're still friends, and they're still good people in a lot of important ways.

    One of the most important discoveries I've recently made is that it is possible to recognize when a person has terrible beliefs and still find value in them.  And I don't just mean there-is-inherent-value-in-every-human-life kind of value.  I mean that there may be a profound and active force for good in anyone:  even someone sexist, even someone racist, even someone homophobic, even someone who believes the government should not help the poor.  Even someone who doesn't think it possible that there could be any such profound and active force for good in, for instance, me.

    People are complicated and contradictory and messy.  Writing them off because their beliefs is simple, and tidy, and wrong.

  •  Tipped and recc'd. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    linkage, krwada, SchuyH

    I enjoyed your diary very much and welcome your efforts at reaching out. One person at a time.
    Off-topic: I have a question for you and am sending you a Kosmail.

    „Wer kämpft, kann verlieren. Wer nicht kämpft, hat schon verloren.“ - Bertolt Brecht

    by translatorpro on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 09:51:58 AM PST

  •  Beautiful and incredibly useful diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    linkage, SchuyH

    I enjoy witty satire of Republican leaders and also fierce criticism of average republicans who say hateful and venomous things, but I cringe when people savage an ordinary non-hateful republican who may just be a dupe of the massive propaganda machine of Republican media and the incredibly powerful Republican-aligned religious bodies.

    I greatly admire efforts to reach out to Republicans, which I think can only strengthen the progressive movement.  I am on board with calling out the predators, liars, and oppressors but it scares me when we call human beings "lumps of flesh" and say how beneficial it would be if they were annihilated.

    Nonetheless, I feel a lot of sympathy for those (including me) who cannot help blowing a fuse when they hear the craziness and venom of the Fox-addled Republican.  It does make your head hurt!  This post provides ways for us to reach out to less rigid Republicans and move closer to our goals.
    Ruellia

    •  The Future ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SchuyH
      "lumps of flesh" and say how beneficial it would be if they were annihilated.
      I worry about those that do not have enough money to survive the tremendous changes we are going to see in the next 5 to 10 years.

      Demonizing them with pejorative terms makes them easier to forget or eliminate.

      George Lakoff gives us a new vocabulary to talk about things. And, helps us understand the "meta" of language.

      JON

      "Upward, not Northward" - Flatland, by EA Abbott

      by linkage on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 11:27:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  But can they find the good in US? (5+ / 0-)

    I live in a place where "they" are a majority, so I always need to find ways to speak to them and interact with them.

    In my perception, the problem is with THEIR perceptions of Democrats and our beliefs.  They have watched and listened to us being demonized for 2 decades now, and they believe we are demons.

    I still get jaws dropping when I reveal that I'm a Democrat.  I guess they think I look so normal...and boring...(because I am all that). They've been told we are envoys of Satan and bent on destroying America.

    I am happy to continue the outreach, but we also need a propaganda campaign to reverse decades of Fox and Rush.

  •  When I worked in the South in 1964 (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    This old man, linkage, sujigu, SchuyH, hungeski

    Belonging to the Klan was pretty normative.  In fact the United Klans of America had their plaque on the same Welcome to Charlotte NC signboard as the Elks,  the Masons and the Shriners.

    Of course, it was necessary to observe and make allowances for the different KINDS of Klansmen.  My boss for example, was one because he was a businessman and belonged to most of the civic associations in town.  He was a nominal and passive Klansman who absolutely DEPLORED the crimes committed by the Night Rider (terrorist/illegal) Kluxers and was NOT AT ALL in agreement with "every" political position taken by the "Good Klan" members in the country Democratic Party machine.  

    This was a perfectly good man.  A perfectly fine fellow.  And as long as the topic of "race" was kept out of the conversation a wonderful person to know or go hunting with.

     Nor was he a vicious bigot:  he would even pick up a Negro hitchhiker if the thought no one was looking.  He said he belived that "the better sort of Negro" OUGHT to vote and even belong to the Democratic Party ...  though he admitted that he could only say so to a "Yankee"  (like me) --  never to neighbor or family member.

    And as for "Segregation" ... well, he felt that (as much as he sort of disapproved of it, ) it was going to remain the law and the custom for a good long time to come.  "Nothing to be done about it."

    Traveling in many states,  I found that as long as I, as a Yankee, didn't raise any of the forbidden topics, Southerners went out of their way to be welcoming, friendly, generous and warm.  And gracious.   Such good manners!

    All perfectly lovely people, as individuals

    Who when pressed for an opinion felt that Medgar Evers "had had it coming" ...  and that it wouldn't be a bad thing if the other Troublemakers, like "Martin Luther Coon," for example, met the same fate. Not that any of them,  personally would EVER pull the trigger or pull on the rope themselves.  And they were sure that they didn't know anyone who actually had.  Of course not.

    So, yeah.  I understand the spiritual advantages of forgiveness ... and why the monk mediates on the tiger path.

    But one must realize the tiger remains a tiger and will eat you ... and the offender will re-offend unless disabled or deterred.

    So yeah ... there are plenty of Nice Republicans with whom one can gossip at a farmers market, or pass pax in Church.  

    But what they will tolerate and what they will vote for --- maybe not so "nice."

    And if there's any question as to how a Conservative process the world. whether they can be trusted, and whether they should be loved  (beyond the pro forma spiritual love that every soul, however wicked or felonious is entitled to) ...  read  the comic strip  "Mallard Fillmore.  "Ordinary" "conservative leaning" folks think those are clever and essentially true observations on politics and the human condition.

    It gives ME pause, anyway.  

    •  I wish I had the privilege... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      linkage, SchuyH, hungeski

      To avoid talking about such subjects with bigoted Southerners (as opposed to non-bigoted Southerners) and enjoy their charm, hospitality, and etc.

      But being Jewish, and being in a committed, long-term interracial relationship with a Black woman, I frankly don't get to do so really.

      Although, honestly, I wouldn't want to. Why would I enjoy the hospitality of people who'd hate me if they really knew me? Seems almost two-faced to accept their false-charity based more on a sense of superiority to others than any actual goodness within themselves.

      It's just all so fake. So based on avoiding upsetting their delicate bigotries, prejudices, ignorance, and discriminatory practices. I really don't have time in my life to devote to tip-toeing around the problems of other people, particularly when their problems are their own hatred and idiocy.

      But yeah... I wish I had the privilege to enjoy some good old Southern hospitality. I mean, all you gotta do is pass, pretend you're one of "them" and they'll never revile you with their seething bigotry, haha!

      "When facts are reported, they deny the value of evidence; when the evidence is produced, they declare it inconclusive." -- Augustine, in The City of God.

      by Zek J Evets on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 04:41:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't thing "enjoy" quite expresses what I was (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        linkage

        feeling at the time.

        And I don't really think you'd much enjoy the "privilege, " either.

        It IS two-faced to accept "hospitality" on such terms.  And the slope from "comfort" to "complicity" is steep and slippery ...  and there is always the realization that on one verbal slip or failure to smile at the right time and these oh-so-nice people could turn on you a second.

        Do I, here and now, have to justify to you what I was doing then and there ?

        It's a long biographical tale ... which I enjoy telling far more than most people enjoy hearing.

        But if you insist .....

  •  This post describes what waging peace means (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SchuyH, linkage

    Excellent, excellent. Gives me hope for humanity. I'm firmly rooted in progressive politics, but my work with the anti-Iraq war group led me to learn much about the peace movement, and this post is it!

    Many of us (including me sometimes) are so attached to our hatred of those in the other political party that it's hard to give it up. But in the face of real people, our neighbors, it is possible and so needed.

    Peace!

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