I have been a member of this community for over a decade, and have been posting here my historical columns in the, evidently mistaken, belief that members here might be wise enough to know they do not know everything, and that they might learn from the actions of those who have gone before - also known as history. Since my stroke in 2006, I have not been active on the board, because it takes just about all my limited concentration to research and write the columns that I write. As an old media columnist, I know that the people who write notes are often catty and bitter and quick to disparage, and that often comes from an internal anger and disgust. It is a human trait, we all share to greater or lesser degrees. But the recent comments on my last post have left me depressed and weary. Yes, I re-post my posts, after a year or longer. I work hard on my material, I research it and cross check the facts, and occasionally get it wrong, but I think I do pretty damn good for limited resources and energy. Can you do better?
I don't mean to get in a cat fight, but it pisses me off when members of this community show a disturbing lack of imagination. As a great philosopher once said, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." To me that means you begin by assuming that others have a valid reason for their viewpoint or action. Ask yourself why they are saying what they are saying, why they do what they did. And assume they have a rational a valid argument. That is how you form a counter argument, that is how your idea successfully competes in the idea marketplace. Why did I call the biblical quote the work of a great philosopher? What could have been a valid reason for doing that? If you dismiss the work or opinions of others, you will never defeat them, because you do not understand them.
This is a plea to stop being dismissive of others, because it weakens you, it belittles yourself, and it limits your reach. In short, you sound like an echo of the Republican echo chamber. You sound like the damn tea party lunatics. Screaming progressive ideas is not progress. It's just more screaming. Dismissing the tea party as flunkies and idiots might be accurate, but also becomes a description of your side as well. They are not defeated if they convert you to their style.
There is a reason the US military quietly adopted many of Gandhi 's approaches to training leaders. It has made a generation of better and stronger leaders. There is a reason the Republicans are failing the generational battle on immigration, gay rights, religious freedom and education. The answer is humanity. The answer always is humanity - not violence, or absolutism, or fear or greed. Those are always part of the answer, because the answer is always humanity. And allowing for those human failings, will always have to be part of any answer to any question.
And that is at the heart of every diary posted on this site, the stupid, selfish, brave and blind humanity that has gone before. And I am sad if many who have read my stuff have failed to get that. Part of that must be my fault. But part must also be the reader's. I'll cop to my share of failings. Will you cop to your share?