partisanship

partisanship


Moderation is Sometimes a Virtue

moderation April 13th, 2019

I saw a picture of a childhood friend today, shaking hands with president Trump. He said he was proud to be shaking the hands of a president – this or any other. I spend so much time in a given week learning about or thinking about the travesties that pass as governance, and feel sometimes like I am stuck in an Orwellian nightmare. I can’t help but feel that if one agrees with Trump as a person, that they are a part of a social group that is diametrically opposed to my sensibilities and philosophies and instincts. And that if they support him as the leader of the free world, they are lost as to what values and virtues such as freedom, responsibility, and the rule of law really mean. I felt much the same way when Bush was in office. It raises some interesting questions not only about friendship, but also partisanship, principles, and temperament. As I reflect on this friendship vis-à-vis the problems in America today, I am asking myself questions about the virtue of moderation – not one of my most familiar values. 

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Values Underlie Our Beliefs and Actions

November 23rd, 2018

Values underlie our beliefs and actions. This is clear whether the lens is focusing on person to person interactions or government to government relations. This is clear to us when we reflect on it, but often this fact is overlooked or obscured. We tend to more easily focus on content, on the surface-level issues and triggers that evoke powerful emotion, involve tribes and loyalties, and which are purposely stoked by those who have a dog in the fight – be they advertisers, social media giants, or government officials. This blog presents some examples of values underlying actions, and the GOP is held up as an example.

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Character Matters In Our Leaders and In Ourselves

character November 9th, 2018

I miss Ronald Reagan. That is not something that I say often. But as of this writing, the 2018 midterm elections just occurred, the Russia probe of Trump is about to drop, and the majority of Republicans remaining in Congress are extremists. There was a kind of class about that old coot Reagan, and it’s sorely missing now in the Commander in Chief. Character is all-important in everyone, but especially in the American President, a position that has increased in importance beyond the Founders’ intentions, and one that is of great power and influence.

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The Values and Virtues America Desperately Needs

the values and virtues America desperately needs September 2nd, 2018

America, if it were a person, would be experiencing anxiety, self-doubt, egocentrism, confusion, self-loathing, and narcissism. Life has never been easy or uniformly positive for all but the wealthy, and even then, the rich aren’t any happier than the other social classes. It’s true, there was what some consider to be a “golden era” as we came out of World War II. The wealthy and corporations paid a large share of the tax burden, had more in common with the other social classes (e.g., “the Commons” were more robust then), and jobs were well-paying and fairly secure. Despite the racial, gender and sexual orientation problems that plagued America then, it was a time of general prosperity, social mobility, and optimism. Something has gone awry to an increasingly dire degree; if America were a person it would be spending a lot of time in bars, occasionally getting into a fight while intoxicated, and dealing with a persistent cough. The values and virtues America desperately needs are the subjects of this blog. It entails social criticism, but I think America can look to its “better angels”, as Lincoln put it. We have to do it. 

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The National Discourse is in Danger

discourse August 14th, 2018

God, can you imagine wearing this t-shirt? What a couple of assholes. It boggles the mind what is in the head some Trump voters, Republicans, and far-righties. In this piece, guest blogger Jamie M. Lombardi analyzes the White House Correspondents’ Dinner comedic performance this year, by Michelle Wolf. Wolf took a fair amount of flak for her comments, but the question, I think, is: what is the best way to think about comedy and satire in politics and religion? 

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All Good People Must Stand and Be Counted

stand and be counted August 2nd, 2018

The more I read about Donald Trump and his band of merry idiots, the more I can’t keep quiet. It’s not generally advisable that a blogger take sides and speak ill of a whole philosophy or persuasion; it’s bad for business! But seriously, I can’t pull punches. I believe, like so many people with character, wisdom, and experience, that the GOP has run amok and is ruining our reputation, nation, and planet. I will add my voice to the chorus of individuals who call on the good people of the country to stand and be counted. We do not know for sure that we have time on our side, and we may not get a “do-over”. 

As Jason Kander said, “Patriotism isn’t about making everyone stand and salute the flag. Patriotism is about making this a country where everyone wants to.” 

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Partisanship and Intolerance: America’s Dark Side

partisanship July 20th, 2018

Immigration is, in mid-2018, the number one issue on the minds of Americans. I think this raises some serious questions about the manipulation of the minds of Americans by politicians who would use that as a wedge. Frankly, it’s just not that big of a deal. I think it has a lot to do with fearmongering and distraction. It is a giant flaming sword of partisanship, if you will. In this blog, I will explore the myopia that seems to be plaguing countless Americans, and the partisanship it engenders. We need to reform and relax before we reignite the Civil War. 

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Mister Rogers Teaches How to be Good, Tolerant, & Kind

good, tolerant, kind July 15th, 2018

Shea Tuttle is a freelance writer who believes that the host of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood taught kids critical emotional and social skills that are still relevant to adults today. I agree that the show focused on the good, tolerant, and wholesome, and is sorely missed in this political climate. Tuttle writes: “It seems we sense that Mister Rogers, whom we used to know so well, who used to seem to know us so well, may have something to say to us in our divided, contentious, often-painful cultural and political climate. [This blog features seven] of Mister Rogers’ teachings that could “help us weather today’s ups and downs, stand up for what we believe in, and come together across our differences,” as Tuttle puts it.

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