Enemies and Rivals

We have met the enemy and he is us.  – Pogo

I’m tired. I work hard, I run hard, and I never seem to have enough fun. Everywhere I turn these days it seems someone is showing me their angry face, or I’m reading yet another snide blog post from someone who is angry at someone else who is taking all their hard-earned money and having a great life at their expense.

I’m so tired of the rhetoric.

The election is over and we’ve all moved on. Right? Wrong. And of course we shouldn’t just “move on.” That’s not how democracy works. We should all be ready to roll up our sleeves, dive in, and get this country back on track. All of us, We the People, not just the ones who vote the same as we do.

And that’s what is making me tired.

Seven years ago I started running. The people I run with are the best friends I have. We laid one to rest yesterday and perhaps it’s the reason I woke up this morning with these thoughts pushing their way to the front of my crowded brain. Things that once seemed important no longer do. Life is short, and I have some things to get off my chest.

My friends and I run crazy long distances for hours at a time, and no subject matter is off the table. Within my larger circle of running friends we rarely talk religion or politics, which pretty much mirrors life at large. I suspect most of us don’t talk religion or politics with our less close friends either. Within my smaller circle of running friends, however, religion and politics is what we talk about the most, kind of like what we do with our families.

Even amongst my less close running friends, we all get along great. We come from all walks of life, have very different jobs from one another, enjoy varying interests outside of running, and we break bread and toss back a cold beer together quite often. We really like one another.

Beer

Beer: the great equalizer

Of course we all stay in touch on Facebook when we’re not running together. But something happened these past two months. We had to choose our next president. For some people, Facebook suddenly became a battlefield. Things I never would have expected to see were posted, not just by my running friends, but by everyone. Some of the posts were funny, some rude, some mean, and some downright ridiculous. What bothered me the most wasn’t what was said — though some of it was very surprising — it was the vitriol behind the words, the hatred and disrespect if you felt differently.

The other day I read a blog post that disturbed me, but I couldn’t figure out why:

When we answer to each other, as we do now, we are only as successful as our neighbor allows us to be and he is only as prosperous as we permit him to be.

When one neighbor can pass a law or raise taxes on another neighbor, then we all lose making one man’s tax benefit another man’s income loss. This negative spiral of self-defeating tax and law resolutions causes every man to have a small piece of his own personal freedom (and income) taken away from him by his neighbor. In this way we each take turns taking from, and losing to, each other until in the end, everyone is just a slave to everyone else.

Many people feel this way. Even my better half leans in this direction, and I still love him. I find those words sad and cynical. What happened to being my brother’s keeper and all that? The fact that for this person his “neighbors” are the ones keeping him from personal happiness (and solvency), and his equating this to slavery, makes me wonder how we got so far off track. I appreciate his thoughts, though, because I’m trying really hard to understand views that are so different from my own.

(Personal aside that really bugs me about his post: he eventually throws in something about having to pay for his neighbor the teacher’s higher salary, health care benefits, pension, and school building improvements. Sigh. Those evil, greedy teachers who are once again out to steal money from those who have real jobs. At least he didn’t bring in the unions. For 18 years I was admired for being a teacher, and about two years ago I seemingly overnight became the root of all problems in this country, without even being a member of a union. Fighting teacher-hate makes me really tired. I apologize for the digression.)

Dog

Shasta asks the question: Can’t we all just get along?

The entire point of my tiredness is this: WE, the citizens of this country, are not the enemy. When did we let ourselves be convinced to turn on each other, to be each others’ victims and rivals? We’re spending so much time these days hating some other guy (myself included, apparently, considering my response to the aforementioned blog post) that we’ve lost sight of the fact that our country is only as great as we make it.

We own this place. Those people in Washington are there as our representatives. I live in Texas and I’m not a Republican. My congressional representatives rarely represent my views. That doesn’t mean I throw up my hands and cry uncle. I don’t want to go out and shoot up a school, either, but I do bitch and moan a lot because I earned the right to do so when I voted.  I continue to make my views known to my Senators, even though I rarely agree with their votes, because that’s the way it works. I have to trust in that. If I didn’t, I would try to change it.

As for taxes, of course there are problems. Teaching in a low income neighborhood for 20 years illuminated a lot of welfare abuse. I saw it firsthand. But here’s the deal: those poor families and their children who need assistance aren’t going anywhere. They aren’t going to magically disappear and suddenly leave more money in your pocket. Isn’t it better to try and help their children, and at least offer them a good education as a way out of poverty? If we can’t see the benefits of having good public schools, as a way of preserving our country’s future, without resulting to privatization and making a profit off our kids’ education, then there’s no hope for us. None. Hopefully those tax dollars will come back to us in the form of intelligent, responsible citizens. They won’t all be lost. I’m willing to help my neighbor with that, and I’m willing to see the bigger picture and think of the ramifications for the future, not just my own small, short life.

Poor people are not the enemy. A larger share of our tax dollars go to mega corporations in the form of tax breaks, grants, and incentives. These corporations then use our tax dollars to develop new products, which then leads to jobs being outsourced overseas to people who will work for pennies a day. Then these same companies turn around, pay the guys at the top six and seven figure salaries, and the corporation pays little to no taxes. Isn’t this just another form of welfare? Socialism? Capitalism? I’m not seeing many benefits to our country by continuing down this path. I’m not anti-business. I would love to run my own small company. But if you’re going to use my tax dollars, I’d like you to at least contribute something back to society.

We have plenty of money in this country, it’s just in all the wrong places. But, really, rich people aren’t the enemy either. We all know that. Let’s work on putting our money where it can be put to good use.

Maybe we should all turn off CNN and Fox News and start thinking for ourselves. Look around. Talk to those neighbors you resent so much. Bandy together and see what you can do to change the things you don’t like. Accept that there will be differences in your beliefs. Those differences are what make life interesting. Assume that most people are smart enough, and have enough common sense, to be able to make good decisions. Debate. Talk.

And, please, let’s get rid of all the catch-phrases and labels. Liberals, socialists, conservatives, entitlements, idiots, blah, blah, blah. I am not an idiot because I think something other than you. It’s not okay to belittle someone because they’re different. Please, be respectful.

Houston Marathon 2012

Houston Marathon 2012

I didn’t support the decision to go to Iraq. I had a teenage son at the time and worried about all the sons and daughters being sent off to die for something I wasn’t convinced was right. It hurt when others felt my nonsupport was unpatriotic and treasonous, as if the simple acts of questioning war and fearing for the safety of our troops made me less of a patriot. Now I shake my own head in disbelief at those who talk of secession. Is that a more honorable solution, to walk away rather than work towards a better future? I’m very confused by this.

It’s all much more complicated than I’ve stated. There are no easy answers. I would lose any debate on this issue, I’m sure, and get way too emotional for my own good. I’m just someone who is tired of the way we all seem to hate each other these days. I see it when I drive my car, when I buy groceries, when someone steals my lawn mower and my grill, and when people talk about others they don’t even know. I honestly think our differences are smaller than we imagine. We seem to have lost sight of the ability to “walk a mile in someone’s else’s shoes.” Compassion is not only reserved for those who believe as you do.

I sometimes feel as if we’re treating each other as opposing sides at a football game, with our future, the football, being thrown around so haphazardly. Us against them. Maybe we could take a lesson from my running group, all of us so very different, but all running — together — towards the same finish line. I think we owe it to each other, to our children’s futures, and to the future of this country that we all love.

We have a lot to lose if we don’t.

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52 comments

  1. traci

    I cannot express myself in written form as well as you – but I’ll try. As it relates to how we treat others I’ve been thinking on this for several years. There’s a verse in the Bible that says to ‘love your neighbor as yourself’. Do you think we don’t love ourselves as we should, so we take out our own frustrations on others? Or maybe we love ourselves so much that we have no room for others?

    • Mind Margins/Run Nature

      That’s a very good question, Traci, and maybe it’s a little of both. I can see some people hating themselves and their lives so much that they want to punish others for their misery, but I also see many, many people who can’t see past their own noses. They are so wrapped up in their own little worlds, and pretending that the rest of us are so far beneath them, they can’t see the larger good. We have to find a better way.

  2. iRuniBreathe

    I think we want to all get to the same start — and finish — line without always knowing how to do it. When we are worried about “losing” something for the sake of another, instead of seeing that as supporting another person, we start to create differences. Sure, we can’t all think the same way, but we all want the same basic results, regardless of our principles. It’s hard to all get along when no one is willing to stop putting themselves first.

    • Mind Margins/Run Nature

      But I see people today who I really don’t think want “the same basic results” because they can’t see the similarities between themselves and others. I think some people honestly don’t care. As long as they have their piece of the pie the rest of the world can go fuck themselves (and I don’t use that word lightly). We forget that we’re no different from anyone else. Aside from a few superficial differences, most people really do want the same things. I just think we can work together, rather than blaming and hating each other, and moving forward from there.

  3. westerner54

    Amen. Actually, I don’t think it’s more complicated than you’ve said at all. Compassion really is key, and an education that helps us all understand that caring for others is not a zero sum game; if your neighbor gets something because you’ve paid taxes, it doesn’t mean that you will get less. And teaching…that’s the most important endeavour of all, because if we become a country of people who can’t think, and can’t understand what someone else is thinking – or why they might think that – than we really are in trouble. Good job.

    • Mind Margins/Run Nature

      I could go on and on about the current state of educational reform, of course. It’s a subject near and dear to my heart, and it’s heartbreaking to see how public educators are being vilified these days. No one goes into teaching for the money, so all these claims of greedy teachers bleeding the system are ludicrous. The large majority of teachers love children and love teaching. They aren’t the enemy. They would love nothing more than to see public education improve, but very few people are willing to involve them in solutions.

  4. Marty

    FB, twitter and texting aren’t helping things either. So little face to face. Angela, you need to get out of that big-ass city for a weekend and decompress and unplug. Go camping and hiking and let Mother Nature soothe your ills. What was it that John Muir said? Go to the mountains and feel its good tidings. (Paraphrase)

  5. riverlaketrail

    Thoughtful post. I’m with you on all of that stuff. Sometimes I wonder how I ended up with so many friends and relatives who think so differently and have so many mean-spirited and often ludicrous comments. And yet, when I talk to some of them in person (or directly some other way), they are not quite so far out there, and we find common ground…sometimes. No wonder I love being in the woods.

    • Mind Margins/Run Nature

      That’s what surprises me the most, when people I know who are kind and thoughtful in person post things that are offensive or mean-spirited, or insinuate that my IQ suddenly dropped 50 points because I stated an opposing opinion. It usually makes me laugh now, and I think some people sincerely don’t realize how they come across. I’m with you. I’d rather head out to the desert and look at the stars.

  6. joannevalentinesimson

    Beautiful blog post. Thoughtful, considered, and right on point. It seems to me that a lot of the hatred and mistrust out there are fueled by fear, a fear that has been growing since 9/11. Moreover, the flame of that fear has been fanned by some politicians in their drive for power. And some of the hatred is, unfortunately, an expression of racism, a residuum of slavery, a “sin of the fathers that has been vested upon the children and the children’s children.”

    • Mind Margins/Run Nature

      That’s a very good point and I have to agree that fear fuels much of the current hatred and mistrust, and that politicians on both sides of the aisle seem to be masters at fanning those flames for their own nefarious reasons and political gain.

  7. timmay

    Holy cow lady! Nicely stated! I am convinced it is much the doings of social media these days that has us in this unsocial (uncivilized, unfriendly, unethical, unreal, un-understanding) quagmire of tough-talk without having the face-time backbone. As you elude to, perhaps when politics is no longer thought of as an athletic event (with a winner and loser and everyone clamoring for field position), then we might be able to collaboratively get something done. In the mean time…did you you step outside and notice the full moon tonight? Maybe its time to go for a late night run by moon light… 🙂

    • Mind Margins/Run Nature

      The moon has been gorgeous all week, hasn’t it? I loved the halo the other night! I hadn’t thought much of the influence of social media, but I think you raise valid points. The impersonal aspect — and the cloak of anonymity — give some people something to hide behind. You see it all the time in comments that are posted online on news magazines and political articles. Trolls are one thing, but I will never get used to the level of incivility that you find there.

  8. Dylan

    Others have said it already, but this is a wonderful post. The ability to express yourself as completely as you have in this post must come as a (partial) relief to the anxiety and concern you have conveyed. One word from this stood out in particular: compassion. Where is the compassion? Where did it go? Certainly, people are passionate, but to be passionate about something is not enough.

  9. monica

    wow. really, really nicely written. i commend you for posting this. you are so articulate and i although i have thought similar thoughts i would never be able to put that into writing. thank you for a fabulous saturday morning read. i love the first comment, too. “do unto others…” has helped me out in numerous situations in which i need to make a decision. i don’t know what else to say except – to know that there are people out there thinking like this has made my day brighter. 😀 oh, and freshly pressed would be nice, too. 😉

    • Mind Margins/Run Nature

      All of your comments are MUCH better than ever getting Freshly Pressed! Some posts seem to write themselves, and this was definitely one of those. I think my melancholy mood from the world losing such a great guy as my friend, Bob, coupled with another blog post, triggered something and gave me a moment of clarity. Thank you so much for your lovely comments. They really mean the world to me!

  10. gtarallo

    Well written post Angela. I felt similar feelings during this past election. Even living in a highly democratic state like Massachusetts, all my closest friends and family are very conservative republicans, and I am the lone democrat. Election time becomes very, very uncomfortable for me. At times, I want to just stop reading Facebook or Twitter because of the hateful postings from some of my friends. I sometimes feel so confused as to why is it that these people can see the world in such a different way than I do? Even my husband is a Fox News-loving republican. We both learned long ago to not talk politics, but it does creep into the conversation now and then. I am so glad the election is over, but some people still can’t seem to let it go and move forward in a positive direction for the good of everyone.

    • Mind Margins/Run Nature

      But the strange thing is, you love your family and friends who think so differently from you, and the bottom line is that you probably really DON’T think all that differently about the big issues. I don’t think we’re really all that different at all, we just have all these political pundits telling us that “the other guys” are evil and immoral and that our country will be destroyed if they win any elections! I think most of us know better, but it still gets to me.

  11. skippingstones

    I’m sorry about your friend’s death, Angela.

    I’m not much into politics, and I know that rubs a lot of people the wrong way – like it’s my job as an American to “do the right thing” by being heavily involved in that aspect of american life. And I know that the people we put in office make differences in my life, particularly financially. But for me, it’s just now becoming something that feels more important to be aware of. I think part of that is all of the turmoil and bitterness and just ugliness that you’ve talked about. It’s emotionally safer for me to know nothing and have no opinions, than to deal with those opinions and feelings being beaten to a bloody pulp by someone who doesn’t agree. And that’s how I often feel about politics – that if you don’t agree with someone, then they’re going to beat you up about it. And frankly, I’ve never been able to defend my opinions on anything very well, not in conversation. In writing, when I have time, maybe.

    I agree with timmay, that social media makes it much easier for people to be mean spirited and ugly. It’s one thing to insult and verbally abuse by typing some words into a box when no on is looking and from the safety of your own home. It’s quite another to look a friend or family member in the eye and say those things to them out loud. The worst part is that the more practice we get on the computer, the more natural those words and hatred feel, until those things slowly leak out into the rest of our lives.

    • Mind Margins/Run Nature

      Thanks, Michelle. Bob was a great guy. When I lived in Switzerland in the 90’s the average European knew much more about American politics than anyone in this country. I was embarrassed by that and made myself more knowledgeable. When I was busy raising my kids, which also coincided with the Bush presidency, I became very disillusioned by all the partisan politics and the hateful rhetoric being bandied back and forth between both parties and really stepped back from it. It was exhausting trying to keep up with it all — and I think the average American is so busy trying to make a living and raise a family these days they just plain don’t have much time to be aware of what’s going on in Washington.

      However, I think it’s very important that we make the effort. Like I said, it’s OUR country, all of ours, and we have to find a way to work together to make sure that our government works FOR us — and for ALL of us.

  12. Thomas

    Great post Angela! ..and quite different than what you normally post. I completely agree about the level of vitriol that seems to have seeped into every crack and crevice of our society. It is also equally abrasive on both sides of the aisle. Both Obama and Bush were each publically likened to Hitler. That’s somehting I never thought I’d see…a US president likened to Hitler.
    It’s a representation of how divided our house has become. All the talk of seccession is just that, for now, but we should not be so naiive as to think that it could not happen to us….again. Our country was just as divided socially and politically then as it is now…only then the Federal Government was much weaker.
    A free society is about like-minded people banding together and accepting compromise despite their differences in order to peacefully coexist. When the point arrives when such behavior is no longer possible, what are we left with? When each group feels that they simply can no longer compromise, what is their final resort?
    I’ve seen a nation at war with itself and it isn’t a pretty picture. We might want to think quite a bit about where we are headed in the next few years.

    Also, I’m sorry for your loss.

    • Mind Margins/Run Nature

      Thanks so much for your comments, Thomas, especially since your reblog was the impetus for my post. You epitomize exactly what I’m talking about. I know that your political ideas may be very different from mine, but we nevertheless agree on the same fundamental ideas — and I think most of us do. The idea that compromise is seen as unacceptable by some of our representatives is mind-blowing to me. Like you say, what are we then left with? What is our final resort?

      You are absolutely correct when you mention the Hitler references. I had many, many liberal friends who used to say the most horrible things about Bush, as well. Both sides are the same in that regard.

      I would like to think we, as a country, are not foolish enough to seriously entertain the idea of secession, but perhaps I am being naive in thinking that it could ever go that far. I think a lot of the country already wishes Texas would!

      • Thomas

        I suppose it all depends on what each of us values more. Eventually each person has to ask themselves some hard questions. What am I willing to live with? How much am I willing to compromise in order to secure peace? Where do I draw the line for myself and my family?
        These aren’t easy questions but they do make one think. Just like your post…

  13. melissabluefineart

    GREAT post! You have courageously voiced many of the things I’ve been feeling lately. It seems to me we are suffering from a bad case of fear and lack of respect. I recently saw a special on Guthrie (Arlo’s Dad, I think) who wrote may patriotic folk songs, including “This Land Is My Land…” He said what you did~ we own this great country. We must take responsibility for it and the freedoms we have.

    • Mind Margins/Run Nature

      One of the reasons I loved teaching fifth grade was because I got to teach American History. I learned so much every year, and always ended the school year realizing that our founding fathers were brilliant and that we are all so incredibly fortunate to have been born here. I still feel that way, but I think the average American forgets just how much power they truly have. No matter how much money is thrown at politicians by people and entities with greedy motives, it still all comes down to how we vote. We decide. We can change things. And we really can work together.

      The loss of a good man in this world (my friend, Bob) has awakened a sense of responsibility to try and leave the world in good shape for the next generation. I don’t even have a clue which way Bob leaned politically, but his loss reminds me that life is short, and some of the things I thought were important really aren’t.

  14. Jon Wilson

    Wonderful post. To paraphrase an old bumped sticker, “Greed Happens” and I guess there’s nothing we can do about it. I once was a Republican, but left the party when President Reagan began practicing “Voodoo Economics.” Unfortunately, “Voodoo Economics” now seems to be the Republican norm.

    • Mind Margins/Run Nature

      Thanks, Jon. I’m really not trying to pick on the Republicans. I can’t even say that I’m really a Democrat. I’ve been guilty of everything I write about. It’s time to act responsibly and stop the fighting and hating, and it starts right here with me.

  15. The Landy

    Very thought provoking, and seemingly it doesn’t matter which country you live in, the issues are similar. I can’t tell people how to live their lives, but if I see an opportunity to help someone, anyone, I will, and that helps me shield myself from all that negativity…after all I’d like to think we can all make this a better place for all…

    • Mind Margins/Run Nature

      Really? That is so sad to me that you have to deal with these same issues in Australia, but the world has certainly gotten smaller. Or is it that U.S. politics has exported many of its own problems to the rest of the world?

  16. firstxmarathon

    Wonderfully stated. While I’m sure our philosophies differ completely–I’m one of the exotic species of “California Republicans”–I completely agree with the core sentiment in your post. I’m so far from perfect, but I try to live my life if only to set the right example for my daughters and not infuse them with the cynicism that’s everywhere. As I get older I do find myself talking much more openly about what I believe, not specifically to convince others but because a. I care less now about what others think of me, and b. if you talk thoughtfully and respectfully the debate gets better. When we lived in CA I was in the closet as a Republican (lost quite a few pseudo-friends who felt betrayed I could feel that way) and held my beliefs to myself in the pursuit of not making waves. I’d even adopt a position contrary to mine in certain situations (e.g., cocktail party with strangers) to keep the peace. And to what end? No more. Keep the conversation going, sharpen the logic of the debate, respect differences, and with fits and starts we’ll all get there. The world didn’t end for me when Obama got reelected (despite the fact I was supporting Romney). But it changed the terms of the debate I this great democracy. Exciting.

    • Mind Margins/Run Nature

      I love your attitude and your willingness to “keep the conversation going, sharpen the logic of the debate, respect differences.” If everyone was willing to do that I have no doubt we would all realize we have common goals, and would be able to work together to solve the problems we’re facing in this country (and the world). And I think the key words you use are “thoughtfully and respectfully.” I’m no longer willing to give anyone any of my time if they come from a place of anger or disrespect — and that goes for any discussion, not just politics. I think that’s my overriding complaint about society these days, that we’re so incredibly uncivil to each other.

  17. Heather

    I work for state government – I don’t do this for the money (I honestly earned far more in private sector). I chose to work in this area because I wanted to help people and make our community better. I see families struggling everyday to afford basic things like food and medicine. It is heart-breaking. I see people I work with try to help in the only way they can and be treated with a complete lack of respect for the most part and then occasionally someone will actually thank them for their help.

    I want to help build our country – with the recognition – that sometimes we all need some help.

    • Mind Margins/Run Nature

      That’s why I taught for so many years, because I wanted to help others and because I really believed in what I was doing. You are making a difference, Heather. I’m glad there are people like you who are so willing to help those who need help. Thanks for commenting.

  18. MikeW

    I’ve seen the ugliness voiced from members of both parties. The parties have come to represent a great mutual lie. The special interests behind both are deeply selfish and render each party full of contradictions, hypocrisies and back room prejudices. Each election is like a new divorce. I hate to say this, but I am thoroughly convinced that the party organizations and the most committed party members are essentially the same in their tolerance of inhumane platform positions and policies. Each justify these by blaming the other, and offering up their own good deeds, aka indulgences. They both support inefficiencies so long as their own constituents somehow benefit from them. As in the Cold War, the fear and distrust have spawned justified evils and lies. The oxymoron, “necessary evils” has come to rule politics. And yet, here is the sequence that such politics seem to produce…

    Lying causes distrust. Identified agents of lies have associates. This attracts the logic of implied associated distrust. Associated distrust causes generalized fear. Generalized fear causes defensive anger. Defensive anger causes reverberations of responsive fear. Mutual reverberations and articulations of fear and anger cause behavior that imposes mutually inflicted suffering.

    Fortunately we’re only talking about word wars at this point. Credit the Genesis story, a few quotes from Yoda, and a vague recollection of George Washington’s Farewell Address for the content of this comment. Except that Washington’s earlier prophecy foretold the Civil War. We as a nation have all fallen short of the glory in many things but have also done what is right and good in many things, sometimes as a penance, sometimes as a heroic initiative. We have all sinned grievously politically, socially, militarily and just about every way one can assess it. It seems that when a country has become so ridden with combative lying, generalizations, half-truths and moneyed interests behind it all, there are two courses left: more and more repentance or if that is refused, unravelling.

    Nor am I so naive to think that outside powers and nation states which fear or hate our country as a traditional platform to remain in power at home would not try to help fan the flames of our internal discontent and conflict. They surely were doing so during the Cold War.

    The religious gene in us and the scientific gene in us seem also to be politicized now, such that what is made of both religion and science is no longer actually religion and science, but political predation that mimics them most convincingly, and draws them up into politics so that it is hard to identify anything that is not politicized. And scarily, if the same syllogism above, that distrust leads to fear leads to anger holds sway within communities of science and religion, we will see the last bastions of common rationality and love disintegrate. We will then be hard pressed to find any unifying commonality in such a diverse land.

    What is so interesting about all of this is that although religion, science and politics are part of human behavior and emanate from human beings and our collective relationships, we do not seem capable of telling a common truth to ourselves and accepting what is wrong with all of us, and what would unify all of us which would lead us to cure what is wrong with us.

    From families to political parties to nation states, this seems somewhat recurrent. The treatment and cure must also be recurrent. Wisdom must quench ignorance and love must quench hate. Work must quench sloth and apathy. Efforts at morality by example must quench the duplicitous male-female prostitute archetype that dances jigs of enmity and distrust among us.

    I do not believe any of us were formed for such things, but instead for noble, good, loving and wise futures together that subscribe to all for one and one for all.

    • Mind Margins/Run Nature

      I honestly can’t disagree with anything you’ve written. Thanks for sharing such deeply thought-out ideas and concepts. We’ve become so numb and desensitized by all the lying, cheating, and greed, because it so pervasive in our government and society, that many people have thrown in the towel. They avoid politics like the plague, mostly out of disillusionment and a deep distrust. It’s understandable, but not excusable. We’ve got to do better and start changing things. It will be very, very difficult to get the big money interests out of politics, but it can be done.

  19. imarunner2012

    Well said, probably because I agree with everything you said! That is rare. Very comprehensive and well written.
    I recently found that a member of my running club is a Tea-bag, well member of the Tea party is you can be a member of that group officially. I was told not to discuss politics with him as he gets wound up pretty good. I consider my self middle of the road but cannot understand why anyone votes R.

    • Mind Margins/Run Nature

      Here in Texas I’m very much outnumbered, but I have many Republican friends, and even a few who consider themselves Tea Partiers, and we all get along just fine. I don’t even agree with a lot of the ideas coming from the Democrats these days. I think the two parties really aren’t that different in how they do business in Washington.

  20. jodysjourneys

    I have been extremely frustrated at what I view as a lack of understanding, and I can become very passionate when I feel I must speak up for people that cannot speak for themselves or a minority voice. However, what I have learned very quickly since my family outnumbers me in political views is that it does no good to have a discussion or argue with people that already have their minds made up except to ask questions. Instead of getting defensive which is my immediate response, I find questions are almost magical in, number one, making sure that what I perceive they are saying is in fact what they are saying (many times it is not as bad as I think) and, number two, they almost always engage me where instead of me spouting off what I feel and them getting defensive, they tend to feel heard and understood by me and sometimes will actually ask me what I think. I even had someone apologize at the end of a great conversation for posting something I found offensive on facebook, but the conversation sure didn’t start out that way. I bit back my first response and instead put it in question form asking if they had viewed the entire video they had posted. Of course, they hadn’t at all. For those that can only preach and be negative, I try to find my sympathy for that person and the life they must live.

    • Mind Margins/Run Nature

      That’s an excellent way of creating enough space for a conversation rather than an attack. I’m going to try that the next time I get into a heated political argument with someone. Thanks for the idea.

  21. petspeopleandlife

    I discovered you from from Steve’s blog Texas Wildflowers. I just clicked on your pic. I am a Texas by birth and lived here my entire life-same county. I think the same as you where politics are concerned. That is all that I will say for someone is bound to come along an attack my way of thinking.

    • Mind Margins/Run Nature

      Thanks for visiting. I think my entire post addresses your last sentence, that no one should be attacked for their way of thinking. And we seem to do a lot of attacking here in Texas, don’t we? We need to learn to stop attacking and start listening to each other. Maybe then we can actually begin to change some of the things that need changing in our country. Rhetoric aside, I truly believe we all want the same basic things.

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