Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

The Virtue of Dissent

with 69 comments

Folks, there’s been a lot in the news lately about dissent, and about how it’s supposedly unpatriotic to disagree.

I beg to differ.

We need dissent. Or we can’t function as a democracy.

See, when people feel stifled from talking about anything, whether it’s something that is frustrating, unpleasant, difficult, annoying, or any other of a dozen other things that are incredibly hard to discuss, that causes a lot of trouble.

When you feel stifled, when you feel your voice isn’t being heard, that builds resentment. And at best, when you feel that much resentment, you aren’t likely to be looking for any sort of compromise; you’ve already been told compromise is not possible because your point of view is not important.

And yet, in a democracy, every voice is important. And we all get a say.

Being able to discuss problems in a rational manner without yelling at the top of your lungs or telling the other person (or party) that they’re a bunch of blithering idiots is mandatory. But right now, we don’t seem to have too many in the Congress who are willing to be adults and do the people’s work — i.e., compromise for the common good — because they are either blinded by the power or they are daunted by the responsibility.

Whenever we have one party solely in charge of the government — whether it was the Democrats from 2008-2010, or the Republicans from 2016-2018 — that makes it harder for dissenting voices to be heard. And when they aren’t heard, those voices usually become movements. And those movements become akin to steamrollers…witness what happened with the Tea Party in 2010, for example.

That’s what is supposed to happen in a democracy. Those who feel ignored have a right to talk, to assemble, to figure out what they’re going to do, and then they have a right to make their case to the public.

It is a virtue.

That we can see dissent as a virtue was, at one point, uniquely American.

But now, we have a man as President with authoritarian impulses (or at least a great deal of bloviating and authoritarian speech), and he definitely does not seem to think that dissent is valuable, or a virtue, or needed in a democracy.

He wants instead for everyone to follow him. Because he says so.

To my mind, that is not good enough. We have to have reasons for what we do. Logical reasons. And we have to have some basis and forethought and planning behind these logical reasons.

When government officials pop off and do things on the spur of the moment, we get bad law, bad policy, and a whole host of unintended consequences. That, in general, is why you want to have responsible public officials who are willing to call people — regardless of party or power or prestige — on the carpet when they do something that is harmful.

That’s why we need dissent.

We have had one-party rule with vigorous dissent in the past, looking back to WW II, for example. Harry S Truman, then a Senator, held hearings about war profiteering. Most of those he called before him were Democrats, but that didn’t stop him; right was right, and he did the right thing.

That is what brought him to FDR’s attention, and it’s why Truman became FDR’s Vice President in 1944. Without Truman dissenting vigorously, Truman never would’ve become VP, and thus never would’ve ascended to the Presidency after FDR’s passing.

Unfortunately, the Republicans in charge of the House and Senate have not dissented very much. Not with the travel ban. Not with the tariffs. Not with the immigration situation, whether it’s families being split up at the border, DACA, or anything else.

Nope. Instead, they’ve blindly — as a body — done the President’s work, which is not what the Constitution wanted. (We have separation of powers for a reason.)

Yes, individual Republicans, such as Bob Corker or John McCain or a few retiring House Reps, have stepped up and said they believe that the President needs to be checked now and again. That no one should have that much power. And that there’s a reason we have a deliberative body like the Congress…and that they should do their jobs, and uphold their Constitutional responsibilities.

I believe in the power of dissent. I believe it is constructive to dissent, to allow dissent, to understand dissent, and to appreciate dissent. I also believe that if we start to think that dissenting is “unpatriotic” or “anti-American,” we are ceding our rights of dissent and getting nothing back.

I am concerned that we have so many politicians that are (in George Will’s words as heard on MSNBC months ago), “supine” or “craven.” They do not express dissent because of these two horrible characteristics, and thus do not do the people’s business thereby.

My hope is that more people will understand that dissent is healthy, necessary, and essential.

But my fear is that too many people won’t realize what’s at stake, or what could be at stake if the current crop of supine and craven Republicans in the House and Senate continue to refuse to be a check on this President. And that we’ll go further down the garden path of authoritarianism, and lose our abilities to dissent freely and fairly.

What you need to do, if you live in the U.S., is this: Think hard about what you want out of your representatives and Senators. Do you want them to blindly trust anyone without doing their due diligence? Or do you want them to be like Harry Truman, and stand up for what’s right, whether it’s against their own party or not?

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69 Responses

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  1. It was Racist to “dissent” against Obama.

    Now it is labeled “dissent” to mob members of the Trump administration. It was labeled “dissent” to go around hitting people “believed” to be Trump supporters. It is OK for Anti-Trumpers to threaten (and commit) violence.

    In every country that went fascist in Europe after WW1, there was violence from the far-left and the fascists.

    Right now we are seeing the threat of violence from the “Left”.

    Trump isn’t Hitler. Trump Supporters Aren’t Nazis.

    If the Left keeps up these threats of violence, we may see violence against them.

    Is that what you want?

    Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    June 27, 2018 at 8:37 am

    • Speaking from the UK I have to say this in answer to your question ‘Charlottesville’
      In addition I would suggest it is the duty of a president, an office of great responsibility to make an heroic effort to reach out and unite a nation which is gradually separating under the pressure of lack of consensus.
      History has many lessons on this score. You have cited them already. It is the duty of every US citizen therefore to stop this happening.

      Woebegone but Hopeful

      June 27, 2018 at 2:52 pm

      • For what I’ve heard, ‘Charlottesville’ was mainly violence from the so-called AntiFa types. The driver of that car was fleeing violence directed at himself and accidentally drove into that crowd.

        Right now, the Left commits violence but nobody says anything against it.

        “Everybody show be against violence”. Yep, but why should I speak out against violence against the Left when the Left “gets a free hand” in the news media.

        Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        June 27, 2018 at 3:00 pm

      • And I have to repeat Paul, I have heard and read the same things from the Liberal and Left wings in your nation.
        Of all the nations in the world despite her many faults the USA is the one I feel closest too (next to my own…I suppose, but The UK… that’s complicated since we are actually four nations sub-divided several ways, but that’s another story).
        I like you folk whatever shape or size you come in (save for racists of any stripe), I’ve read your histories, followed your cultures and politics since the 1960s- heck I’ve even preferred it over our own UK versions.
        But this is bad, the split is growing, the divide is deepening, the dialogues are dying.
        And you know what really upsets me?
        Folk are making money out of it with their media rant shows or their political version of vaudeville. No one is speaking for togetherness. ‘Let’s divide and make a buck or two’. And that goes right to the top.
        And you folk the ones who are down there working, toiling trying your best to get through the next day in all your different ways. Do they think about you, other that voting blocs?
        If they really cared about you folk, they would be trying to work together, discussing and explaining to the other side why they feel they way they are. But oh no, it’s easier and more profitable to cash in on divisiveness.
        You folk deserve a lot better than those that you have and that goes right to the top.
        And I say that because I truly care for the USA.

        Woebegone but Hopeful

        June 27, 2018 at 3:27 pm

      • I agree with you, Roger. And that’s why I wrote my blog.

        Right now we do not have anyone capable of uniting the country. Not one single blessed person.

        As a Hillary voter, I firmly believe HRC would’ve tried. But could she have done it in this climate? Almost certainly not, though she was by far the best shot we had to hold it together a while longer. (I once compared her to Diocletian. I still think that’s a fairly accurate parallel.)

        Barb Caffrey

        June 27, 2018 at 8:32 pm

      • That would be a fair comparison, though in view of the hatred whipped up against her, although she won the popular vote her administration would have been dogged by constant opposition by a republican controlled congress and the attack dogs of the populist media.
        An LBJ would be a good one at this time as he knew all the dirty tricks necessary to get the domestic job done. And dirty tricks are sometimes needed.

        Woebegone but Hopeful

        June 28, 2018 at 4:46 am

      • I agree with you that LBJ or someone like him would’ve been ideal for this time.

        And yes, you are absolutely right about how Hillary would’ve been treated. There’s no doubt.

        Barb Caffrey

        June 28, 2018 at 6:12 am

      • Sadly these are times when you need someone with the hide of a Big Beast, A quick and nimble mind, but the heart and soul of a battler and the vision of unity and community. They might not be the most ethical of people but then when you have to fight for The Whole of a nation and you are destroying extremist thought you cannot afford to be gentle.

        Woebegone but Hopeful

        June 28, 2018 at 12:57 pm

      • Violence is wrong regardless. Whoever does it needs to be held accountable.

        I don’t know about the “nobody says anything against it.” I hear plenty said against it myself, but I think it depends on what sources you are reading or hearing or watching, and you may have to seek out different sources to get a complete picture. (I do this. I don’t like seeing the news from one slant, or even three different slants. I want as many as I can get!)

        Barb Caffrey

        June 27, 2018 at 8:29 pm

      • That’s how I see it, Roger. We must check the chief executive. This is the only way we have.

        And I’d say the same thing if the person doing this were a Democrat, an Indy, or a Martian. Wrong is wrong.

        Barb Caffrey

        June 27, 2018 at 8:24 pm

      • Exactly. Take Robert DeNiro’s profane outburst, on TV when children could also be watching….Wrong, wrong,wrong.
        It only serves to ‘circle the wagons’

        Woebegone but Hopeful

        June 28, 2018 at 4:37 am

      • Yes. I agree.

        Civility is becoming a lost art. And I don’t know how to get it back.

        But I do think talking about why we have to try to realize that dissent is healthy, normal, and should be done in a civilized and respectful way as much as possible — and staying far away from f-bombs as that’s just not very imaginative, plus it’s quite the wrong message IMO — is good. It at least gets the conversation going, and it at least shows that some of us realize this problem exists and we want to try to fix it.

        Barb Caffrey

        June 28, 2018 at 6:10 am

      • As I have said Barb I spent 45+ years in the UK Civil Service, I retired in disgust because the basic idea of serving the public had withered into a quasi-commercial process.
        The one thing about getting ‘the job done’ was not to be quick to say:
        ‘Look! That’s the law! You can’t do anything about it! Too bad’
        We knew that was the bottom line, but the whole idea was to explain to the member of the public why it was the way it was, to sympathise, and if you could think of a way for them to take it further advise them.
        Similarly in civil life, explain your point, sure some folk are not going to listen, so are so ingrained in their own ways they simply will not ‘dialogue’, but we still have to keep on keeping on to try to get the message across.
        The Middle Ground is the place where the best crops will grow.

        Woebegone but Hopeful

        June 28, 2018 at 12:50 pm

    • Paul, you are not reading what I actually wrote.

      I was not a supporter of President Obama either. (As a Hillary Clinton voter in 2008, we were quite alienated for a time…nearly until 2012…and I voted third-party in 2008, as I’ve done before.)

      I remember writing a column as my alter-ego LSekhmet years ago called, “Obama swats fly, media swoons.”

      So my dissent is equal opportunity.

      What I said is that this President has authoritarian tendencies, especially in speaking. That is absolutely, positively true.

      And the other thing that’s true is that the Republicans in Congress now are not showing any spine, just as the Democrats in 2008-2010 didn’t show any. (Or much.)

      I dislike one-party rule. I think in general it does harm to the country. I dislike it on principle.

      But I especially dislike it when the vast majority of Congresscritters do not do their Constitutionally mandated job. People like Devin Nunes of California are extremely poor legislators because they do not do any fact-checking as far as I can tell…they just roll over and play dead whenever they need to, and “go along to get along.”

      It’s people like Nunes that worry me, Paul.

      There are still good GOP members in Congress, including some who aren’t retiring. But there are a number of people I can only call (excuse me) bad actors, including Nunes. Those people poison the well for everyone else.

      I can handle people like Steve Scalise even though I don’t agree with him. I can even handle Louis Gohmert, though I profoundly disagree with most of what he says, as he’s very open about what he says and he is not shy about listening to others (even though he rarely, or ever, changes his mind).

      Nunes seems wishy-washy, sneaky, and definitely seems like a toady. (“Obsequious milquetoast” would be a step up, in other words.)

      At any rate, that is why I wrote this. The rhetoric is not good from the current POTUS, and the Congress is not seeming willing at all to check him on that, and that is extremely perplexing at best.

      But I never said Trump is Hitler. I said that he has authoritarian tendencies, yes; so did Nixon, and so, for that matter, did LBJ. Nixon, for all his faults, was usually good at actually governing until Watergate erupted. And LBJ had been a very effective legislator, and did some good things as POTUS (even though he has a profoundly mixed record from my point of view in a number of areas, I’ll give him at least a few points).

      History will write whatever it writes. I don’t write history.

      I wrote a simple blog saying dissent is valuable, period. And I felt the same way in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, etc., until now.

      I have never been someone who votes or thinks in lockstep. And I never will be, either.

      Barb Caffrey

      June 27, 2018 at 8:14 pm

      • When Liberals are preaching Hatred and Threatening Violence, then I call BS on anybody who whine about “dissentence”.

        Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        June 27, 2018 at 9:04 pm

      • Paul, will you please name these people? I have no idea what you are talking about.

        Barb Caffrey

        June 27, 2018 at 10:42 pm

    • Also “if the left keeps up these threats of violence” — what threats of violence were you talking about here? I said that people should watch their legislators and vote. And think hard about what they’re supporting.

      Hell, you can go vote straight GOP all you want, as far as I’m concerned, providing that is what you want and you know exactly what it will get you.

      Just do not take your rights for granted. People never should do that, because too many have fought and died for the rights we have.

      I believe firmly we all have the right to say and believe what we want, even if it’s obnoxious, even if it’s wrong, even if it is something I’d rather not hear. (I approved of the ACLU, for example, actually trying to help the Nazis march in Skokie, years ago, ’cause it was a freedom of speech issue. I am as anti-Nazi as it’s possible to be, but they still had a right to free speech and to freely assemble.)

      My view here is very simple: Make sure what’s going on is what you want before you vote. And if it isn’t — if you believe, as I certainly do, that we need some sort of check on the chief executive no matter what party he or she may happen to head at the time — then you’d best vote accordingly, especially if you’re seeing spineless and supine behavior out of the rascals in office now. (As we are.)

      Barb Caffrey

      June 27, 2018 at 8:18 pm

  2. I just finished re-reading a YA fantasy novel by Sherwood Smith called A STRANGER TO COMMAND. It’s about a young boy being sent out of his country to keep his king from bumping him off for showing signs of competence. The boy thinks he is being sent somewhere for training in war arts, in case he will need to protect his small section of the country in case of a civil war.

    But what his parents hope is that his own moral base, plus these skills, will enable him to lead if necessary. One of the most important lessons he learns while growing up in this rigorous school is–your following rises from those who choose to follow. If you are enforcing leadership from the top, you have already lost the ability to command.

    This is an irony in our current situation. I recommend the book. There is growing, growing out of your old skin and into the new one, first love–and watching two young men learn how to fight very different kinds of wars, for the foreign country is also under threat.

    dragonrain

    June 27, 2018 at 8:48 am

    • That sounds like a wonderful book, DR. I will check it out. Thanks for posting!

      Barb Caffrey

      June 27, 2018 at 8:19 pm

  3. The danger which is being witnessed now is that there is no consensus or willingness to talk across the divide.
    This started when?
    Maybe it has always been there. Perhaps it started with the 1960s ‘counter culture’. Or did the rise of the Evangelic Right and their talk show preachers bring this about?
    There needs to come from the people at the top an effort to bring the nation together.

    Woebegone but Hopeful

    June 27, 2018 at 2:45 pm

    • IMO The Left doesn’t want to “reach across the divide” and the Right has been stung too much by the Left’s idea of Compromise. IE Give us some of what we want now but later give us more of what we want.

      And IMO the Left is currently push toward violence and thing will get bloody once they cross the line.

      Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

      June 27, 2018 at 2:54 pm

      • Now there’s your problem. You both view the other side as the threat to your way of life.
        I have read exactly the same thing from US folk on the liberal and left side
        That is not good. There are echoes here of the 1840s to 1860s.
        Talk to each other. No, it is not easy. I spent an entire career in the UK civil service and also on religious ‘discussion’ (ie scream and shout) forums, trying to talk to people I felt I wanted to punch in the mouth.
        It has to start somewhere.
        Otherwise history will have her say and the USA will separate into small nations. It happens.

        Woebegone but Hopeful

        June 27, 2018 at 3:14 pm

      • I suspect that the Far Left idiots are just a “Loud-Mouth” minority so I don’t see the US breaking up.

        On the other hand, I am afraid that violence is very possible.

        On the gripping hand, the violence will start from people who don’t believe that the “others” will “hit them back” so it may be short lived violence.

        Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        June 27, 2018 at 3:23 pm

      • You must be tired of me writing this Paul, but again I have heard this from the other side, only instead of ‘Left’ the word was ‘Right’.

        Woebegone but Hopeful

        June 27, 2018 at 3:29 pm

      • Yes, I’m sick and tired of the “shit” that the “Right” is just as bad as the “Left”.

        Of course, I don’t think many Europeans knows what “Conservative Americans are for”.

        But to answer another comment of yours, it is very hard to talk about “togetherness” when the Left calls non-Lefties Nazis.

        Oh, Good Bye. I don’t think you have anything useful to say about America.

        Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        June 27, 2018 at 3:40 pm

      • (I was called a fascist the other month, which is ironic since I am on the very, very far left, but then that’s another story…a quite funny one in that context)
        Anyway….I have said my piece Paul.
        The rest is up to you folk.
        It’s your nation, it’s your future, it’s your responsibility.

        Woebegone but Hopeful

        June 27, 2018 at 4:00 pm

      • Roger, I’m sorry that you had that happen, though I’m glad you saw the humor in it.

        And yes, it’s up to us. I just hope we don’t blow this.

        As a student of history, including recent history (from 2008-2010 as I said before), we must try to work for better and more representative government where people are pulling together rather than pulling apart and yelling, yelling, yelling, and refusing to compromise.

        Thus, my blog.

        Barb Caffrey

        June 27, 2018 at 8:36 pm

      • ‘Water off a duck’s back’ Barb.
        45+ years of working in the UK’s Civil Service, I’m cool with it (or laughing or sad at that folk just ‘don’t get it’)
        Keep up the good work
        All the best
        Roger

        Woebegone but Hopeful

        June 28, 2018 at 4:52 am

      • Thanks, Roger. Much appreciated. 😀

        Barb Caffrey

        June 28, 2018 at 6:14 am

      • 👍👍

        Woebegone but Hopeful

        June 28, 2018 at 1:04 pm

      • I, myself, have never called anyone a “Nazi” unless they’re actually marching in a Nazi rally (such as in Skokie years ago).

        And I, myself, do not believe we should jump to the most incendiary rhetoric right off the bat.

        We need dissent. It should be respectful, if at all possible, and we should try to figure out where we actually agree…because believe it or not, I think we actually do agree on much more than we disagree.

        (What do we agree on? That we want a good economy, that we want fair taxation, that we want representatives who aren’t idiots, that the government will live within its means and that it’ll stop making these huge omnibus bills where it’s nearly impossible to say what is getting what…I think we can all agree on _those_ things.)

        Barb Caffrey

        June 27, 2018 at 8:35 pm

      • Yep. Where are the people speaking for the centrists or the “Joe Schmoes/Jane Schmoes” in this country?

        I try to do that, at least some of the time, ’cause I think we need a voice. But I don’t have a great big platform by any means…still, I will do what I can.

        Barb Caffrey

        June 27, 2018 at 8:33 pm

      • Yates wrote about the centre not holding.
        Too many folk are blinded by their prejudices and cannot see they are part of the problem too

        Woebegone but Hopeful

        June 28, 2018 at 4:47 am

      • Agreed. Checking our own assumptions is the hardest thing to do, though…but yeah, that’s one reason why I do try to read a wide variety of sources.

        I just hope we can figure out how to come together. Somehow.

        Barb Caffrey

        June 28, 2018 at 6:14 am

      • There is a vast group of folk who are in the middle, it is their time to mobilise to stand between the two arguing factions and say
        ‘Enough!’

        Woebegone but Hopeful

        June 28, 2018 at 1:03 pm

      • Trying to, but it is going to be difficult, especially if (with the new, incoming Supreme Court Justice picked by 45) we get someone who believes that we should not have safe, legal, and rare abortions in this country and instead sends women to the back alleys and possibly to their early deaths and/or way too early sterilizations. I also have some friends and family members worried that it may become illegal to help people get out of the country if it becomes medically necessary as they’re even worried contraception of any sort (aside, maybe, from condoms) could become illegal — and that’s a worry because of the VP more than 45, as Pence is known to hate contraception along with abortion with a passion.

        Barb Caffrey

        June 28, 2018 at 2:24 pm

      • Then quite frankly Pence is a fool (Sorry about that, it’s very hot in the UK at present, I hate very hot weather and not slept well….tolerance is low)

        Woebegone but Hopeful

        June 29, 2018 at 2:52 am

      • Yes, he definitely is. You are quite right to say so. Many of us do, in fact…maybe to cheer you up (as I’m sorry it’s very hot in the UK; it’s not pleasant here in the US at the moment either), you might like to ponder this:

        About a year ago, a good friend of mine and I donated money (along with my mother and a few other ladies) to Planned Parenthood in the name of Mike Pence. (That way, Pence himself gets the “thank you” letter.)

        We weren’t the only women who were doing this, mind. But we were perhaps the first ones in SE Wisconsin to do it… 😉

        We may have to do that again, too, if we can.

        Barb Caffrey

        June 29, 2018 at 2:58 am

      • Great idea!
        After being married and having daughters and so witnessing the everyday trials and tribulations women have to go through I have no time for men who pontificate.

        Woebegone but Hopeful

        June 29, 2018 at 3:24 am

      • 😀

        Barb Caffrey

        June 29, 2018 at 1:28 pm

      • I still don’t get this talk about violence, Paul. What’s going on where you live that your mind immediately goes there?

        Barb Caffrey

        June 27, 2018 at 8:30 pm

      • You haven’t been paying attention to “your side”.

        Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        June 27, 2018 at 9:07 pm

      • Again, Paul, please name these people or list some cites for me. I haven’t any idea what you are talking about.

        Barb Caffrey

        June 27, 2018 at 10:42 pm

      • That is what I worry about the most, Roger…that we’ll split up into a bunch of different little nations. I hope it does not happen.

        And yes, we need to talk with each other. Badly.

        Barb Caffrey

        June 27, 2018 at 8:30 pm

      • I could map you out a scenario Barb based on the experience of many nations where that could happen.
        As much as it has achieved in staying untied the USA is not immune to separation.
        The UK could go down a similar diluted sort of path after Brexit.
        ‘In unity there is strength’
        Or ‘A House Divided’

        Woebegone but Hopeful

        June 28, 2018 at 4:40 am

      • Yep. I see that, too, Roger. And I don’t have any idea what to do to stop it, except what I am doing now in my small way — saying I do see a problem, and want to fix it if I can.

        Barb Caffrey

        June 28, 2018 at 6:11 am

      • Do as much as you can, as best you can, how you can, when you can Barb and keep on keeping on. As long as even one person keeps on trying to spread consensus and concern, Hope will stay alight.

        Woebegone but Hopeful

        June 28, 2018 at 12:54 pm

      • Thanks, Roger. I try. I know some others who are trying, too.

        Barb Caffrey

        June 28, 2018 at 2:21 pm

      • Then God Bless you all.
        Blessed are the Peacemakers.

        Woebegone but Hopeful

        June 29, 2018 at 2:51 am

      • Thanks, Roger. Let’s hope we can do some good. I just don’t know what else to do, other than point out what I see, and keep trying hard to let people know exactly what is wrong with this picture.

        Barb Caffrey

        June 29, 2018 at 2:57 am

      • Keep on keeping on Barb, even when it seems hopeless. There is dignity and above all you are keeping the flame alive.

        Woebegone but Hopeful

        June 29, 2018 at 3:21 am

      • That’s been my motto since the day my husband died. It may seem hopeless, but I’m going to continue to fight in whatever way I can.

        Barb Caffrey

        June 29, 2018 at 1:27 pm

      • And you should.
        The important thing is to keep dialogue open and always refer back to more than one source when a news item comes into your view

        Woebegone but Hopeful

        June 29, 2018 at 1:35 pm

      • Absolutely. 🙂

        Barb Caffrey

        June 29, 2018 at 6:56 pm

      • 🌺 🌸 🌼 🌻 🌞

        Woebegone but Hopeful

        June 30, 2018 at 4:16 am

      • Paul, what is this kick you have about violence today? Where did I recommend that?

        I _don’t_ recommend that. I recommend nonviolence, discussion, and peaceful action.

        I think compromise is a mess right now because the left and right have both chosen in the past ten years to do whatever the Hell they wanted when they were in power in all three branches of government. I said so in my blog.

        What is good for the goose is good for the gander, is all I’m saying.

        In 2008, we had too many Ds, arguably, for the country’s liking.

        Now, in 2018, it seems to me we have too many Rs, and one of the reason for it is that they aren’t doing anything to check the chief executive…just as the Ds didn’t do much (or maybe anything) to check the chief executive either.

        And “bloody?” Really, Paul?

        What is the point of that?

        C’mon. I don’t want that. I can’t believe you do, either.

        Barb Caffrey

        June 27, 2018 at 8:27 pm

    • I agree with you, Roger. We have to have some sort of way to talk to one another. It worries me that we can’t concentrate on what we agree on, but instead concentrate on what we disagree about…I honestly don’t know what to do about it, other than say we should be able to freely dissent when needed. (That this sounds revolutionary is another problem in and of itself, methinks.)

      Barb Caffrey

      June 27, 2018 at 8:23 pm

      • A clock is ticking Barb, not just in the USA but across Europe too.
        Lessons learned in blood are being forgotten.

        Woebegone but Hopeful

        June 28, 2018 at 4:36 am

      • I know. I see it. I took a class years ago in the history between World Wars 1 and 2. I think we have to learn as much as we can from that time and do whatever we can to head off a similar path. Isolationism and obstructionism, along with xenophobia, paranoia, and a whole lot of finger pointing seems to get us nowhere except back where we started, and that is nowhere you and I want to be as denizens of the 21st Century.

        Barb Caffrey

        June 28, 2018 at 6:05 am

      • For a while we were haunted by the echoes of those wars an scared of the potential of the next one, which quite frankly was a ‘good’ thing as it made everyone think.
        We now live in an age where there are assumed to be instant solutions, like ready meals. Where we are quick to put folk into boxes to suit our perceptions.
        We pretend that everything is somehow done with a malevolent purpose by governments, when in actual fact most of the time the damage is caused by our own communal foolishness.

        Woebegone but Hopeful

        June 28, 2018 at 12:44 pm

      • I agree with you, Roger. And the collective short attention spans don’t seem to be helping, either. (They think, “Well, that can’t happen, we know better,” and go merrily along their way. Which is not right, and not left, and not center…just is wrong, wrong, wrong.)

        Barb Caffrey

        June 28, 2018 at 2:20 pm

      • I have exchanged views with someone who is waiting for ‘it’ to happen. Saying out it is better to go down fighting. It seems folk have little idea of what civic conflict is.
        And as you can see from earlier comments on this thread others will not heed warnings out of histories or others experiences.
        It can be depressing….
        Sometimes I imagine I have a time machine and I can drag some of them to the piles of German bodies at Stalingrad in 1943 of the ruins of Berlin in 1945 and scream at them ‘Are you ready for this? Is this the path you want to walk?’
        Then take others to the fields of Gettysburg, Antietam or Cold Harbor in the aftermath of rotting bodies and ask them the same questions.

        Woebegone but Hopeful

        June 29, 2018 at 2:50 am

      • We have to hope that somehow change things for the better. I know I will not be silenced, not easily, and by my will and hope and effort, hopefully not at all.

        Barb Caffrey

        June 29, 2018 at 2:56 am

      • Fight the good fight Barb. If a person embraces Compassion, Respect and Tolerance then irrespective of their views talk with them. If they will not:
        Then taking the theme from Matthew 7
        “And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.
        Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.”

        Woebegone but Hopeful

        June 29, 2018 at 3:20 am

      • Good point, Roger. Thanks. 🙂

        Barb Caffrey

        June 29, 2018 at 1:27 pm

      • You’re welcome Barb. It applies to both sides. I have witnessed as much intolerance and ignorance amongst parts of the UK’s Left (technically my political home) as you would care to meet on the most unpleasant Alt Right site

        Woebegone but Hopeful

        June 29, 2018 at 1:33 pm

      • It certainly does apply to both sides.

        Barb Caffrey

        June 29, 2018 at 6:54 pm

  4. Too many people talk past each other rather than too each other now. It leads to a lot of misunderstandings.

    But there are some things that speak louder than words. People blocking traffic aren’t looking for a discussion or to gain support. Their stated goal was to make people as uncomfortable and inconvenience them as much as possible as a way to show them how other people feel. Antifa goes out with the intention of assaulting people, not to convert them into allies. When protestors are tossing molotov cocktails at police, breaking into private property and defacing/destroying equipment, or blocking rail road tracks, that’s domestic terrorism. And it’s all done with the implicit (and sometimes even explicit) approval of the national and international media.

    Why don’t many Americans trust our national media anymore? Because they can see, with their lying eyes, that what the pontificators are spouting isn’t what is actually happening. Media bias has become a huge reason behind the discord in this country. The major news outlets are no longer the only purveyors of news, they can no longer twist it any which way they want. However, the ubiquity of the internet also allows those who want to make up stuff to cause dissension can easily do so.

    kamas716

    June 27, 2018 at 6:46 pm

    • Kamas, I agree with you.

      And yes, there are a lot of media people who do not seem to have any idea what the truth is. Unfortunately, these folks work for most news networks.

      The folks I do trust, within limits, include Shepherd Smith of Fox News, Don Lemon of CNN, and Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell of MSNBC. (The latter two are both more liberal than some, but they explain the process of how votes work, and they are always well-versed with how things happen as well as what. They don’t always agree with each other, much less with other news sources, as to why this happened, but I can think for myself and I enjoy listening to the various perspectives.)

      And you are absolutely right regarding the internet, how people can make stuff up, the stuff about domestic terrorism and how damaging it is (you speak with much more authority than me, and you are correct), and how too many folks talk past each other right now leading to misunderstandings.

      I just want folks to realize that we have more in common than not. And start working for the common good, realizing there is still such a thing, and not working only for division, strife, and who gets the most “feelz.”

      Barb Caffrey

      June 27, 2018 at 8:40 pm


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