A Break From the Litany...

I grow weary of the constant stories which focus on the division in our political identities.  I am even more weary and disturbed by the constant barrage of news about the divisions in our society, of the reaction to the natural changes which occur in an open culture that we profess to have. Bad news sells, and bad deeds which foment bad feelings are the focus of bad news these days. And it sells, so we see a lot of it.

And yet, hear is a story that evokes a vision of hope. It is a hard story, well written, about a community which does evolve and as a community works through problems. It isn't perfect by any means, but this is a story about values and ideals that represent the best of what America is and can continue to be.

It is the struggle, the process, the willingness to move forward. Not by stamping out change, but working through it. Stupidity does not go away, it happens. How we respond to the actions that stem from stupidity is our choice.  This community has responded well, not perfectly, but well.

I wonder when the rest of America will begin to forgive itself for being imperfect, and move forward in the spirit of doing well, of being well, of being willing to face the change that makes us unique: And doing it well.

This is a long read. There is a lot of background information in it. It is worth the time taken just for the hope it brings to the reader.  I hope you might take the time....

The Article


Conservative - What it is...

I recently ran into a post by David Brooks which lays out the ideals that I as a conservative hold as important. I have been trying to articulate this for myself for a long time. I provide the link to the original article below as well as the full text which is important to me. I hope I am not infringing on copyright by doing it this way...

There are references to the current administration in this that provide context, but are incidental to what I believe is the enduring strength of the proposed characterization of a Conservatives values.  Those things that are important to my way of thinking have bold headers.

The original article here:

The text of the article below:

Donald Trump is not the answer to this nation’s problems, so the great questions of the moment are: If not Trump, what? What does the reaction to Trump look like?

For some people, the warriors of the populist right must be replaced by warriors of the populist left. For these people, Trump has revealed an ugly authoritarian tendency in American society that has to be fought with relentless fervor and moral clarity.

For others, it’s Trump’s warrior mentality itself that must be replaced. Warriors on one side inevitably call forth warriors on the other, and that just means more culture war, more barbarism, more dishonesty and more dysfunction.

The people in this camp we will call moderates. Like most of you, I dislike the word moderate. It is too milquetoast. But I’ve been inspired by Aurelian Craiutu’s great book “Faces of Moderation” to stick with this word, at least until a better one comes along.

Moderates do not see politics as warfare. Instead, national politics is a voyage with a fractious fleet. Wisdom is finding the right formation of ships for each specific circumstance so the whole assembly can ride the waves forward for another day. Moderation is not an ideology; it’s a way of coping with the complexity of the world. Moderates tend to embrace certain ideas:

The truth is plural. There is no one and correct answer to the big political questions. Instead, politics is usually a tension between two or more views, each of which possesses a piece of the truth. Sometimes immigration restrictions should be loosened to bring in new people and new dynamism; sometimes they should be tightened to ensure national cohesion. Leadership is about determining which viewpoint is more needed at that moment. Politics is a dynamic unfolding, not a debate that can ever be settled once and for all.

In politics, the lows are lower than the highs are high. The harm government does when it screws up — wars, depressions — is larger than the benefits government produces when it does well. Therefore the moderate operates from a politics of skepticism, not a politics of faith. He understands that most of the choices are among bad options (North Korea), so he prefers steady incremental reform to sudden revolutionary change.

Truth before justice. All political movements must face inconvenient facts — thoughts and data that seem to aid their foes. If you try to suppress those facts, by banning a speaker or firing an employee, then you are putting the goals of your cause, no matter how noble, above the search for truth. This is the path to fanaticism, and it always backfires in the end.

Beware the danger of a single identity. Before they brutalize politics, warriors brutalize themselves. Instead of living out several identities — Latina/lesbian/gun-owning/Christian — that pull in different directions, they turn themselves into monads. They prioritize one identity, one narrative and one comforting distortion.

Partisanship is necessary but blinding. Partisan debate sharpens opinion, but partisans tend to justify their own sins by pointing to the other side’s sins. Moderates are problematic members of their party. They tend to be hard on their peers and sympathetic to their foes.

Humility is the fundamental virtue. Humility is a radical self-awareness from a position outside yourself — a form of radical honesty. The more the moderate grapples with reality the more she understands how much is beyond our understanding.

Moderation requires courage. Moderates don’t operate from the safety of their ideologically pure galleons. They are unafraid to face the cross currents, detached from clan, acknowledging how little they know.

If you have elected a man who is not awed by the complexity of the world, but who filters the world to suit his own narcissism, then woe to you, because such a man is the opposite of the moderate voyager type. He will reap a whirlwind.


Little Friend

Dyada, park go
Says my little friend

Dyada, big truck up
Says my little friend

Dyada, I want ants house looking
Says my little friend

We walk to the park
and along the way

My little friend stops to show me ants
letting go of my hand

And then taking my hand, we walk

My little friend finds mushrooms
letting go of my hand, he shows me
he counts them

Dyada, more mushrooms
Says my little friend
He takes my hand
We walk on

Dyada, butterfly
Says my little friend
letting go of my hand
He squats down to look

Dyada, flying away butterfly
Says my little friend
He takes my hand
We walk on

Dyada, I want swinging
Says my little friend

I give my little friend a push
We count to three

Dyada, sit down
Says my little friend
I swing with my little friend

Dyada, more swing push
Says my little friend
And I push

Time to go home
I say to my little friend

And as we walk
he takes my hand

Dyada, more park after sleep
Says my little friend

Yes, I say
to my little friend