Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought. Diane generally posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome and appreciated as it turns an article into a discussion.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Can't we all just get along?

Three Sisters, Central Oregon, near Sisters

My opinion is most likely, no, we cannot-- IF we have to have our way, IF there are deep, core differences in our values, IF one of us wants to unfairly take what another has (which could be freedoms or material goods), IF we feel threatened, IF we see our cause as greater than anyone else's, IF we will win at any cost-- then we often cannot get along. We have to find a way to live with that fact.

Even in tribal peoples, basically they have/had someone who ran things. That was the one who decided if they fought a war, moved their camp, forced someone from their group. In some tribal situations, there would be one leader who ran daily life while another ran the spiritual. 

There was a reason a leader was agreed upon, maybe even chosen from birth-- humans don't get along real well. We are individuals and even for those raised within a tribe, those differences can still lead to conflict.

In a family, we see where some get so angry at others that they no longer speak. Agree to disagree means having to let something go-- not just stopping arguing for the moment but literally letting go the fact that two don't always agree. Some people simply have to convince others their way is right and the only way. Some will die/kill to further their causes and there is no way they can accept someone who sees it otherwise as having equal validity.

As a culture we have a Republic where we vote for leaders and what do we see happening-- one group trying to rig the system so they win power through whatever method it takes. Do they care if they have the will of the majority? Absolutely not and currently are gerrymandering state after state to win elections with the minority. Their latest plan would have had Obama winning 51% of the popular vote but losing the Electoral College.

Two recent examples of how we don't see things the same way:

When I watched the President's inauguration, I thought he gave a powerful but actually generic speech. He didn't nail one side or the other but said we should all respect each other, understand we all have value. There was more, but basically it seemed like a no-brainer. 

That wasn't how the right wing saw it. They saw it as an attack on their values. It was hard for me to understand. They wanted him to agree with them, agree with the principles on which so many of them ran and lost. When he did not, when he espoused other principles, it enraged them and some, like Ted Nugent, are now talking revolution again. Don't believe me on that? Listen to them on their punditry shows. 

Another example was when the right wing grilled Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Benghazi. She was using logic and the tea party types who challenged her were ideologues. When she got frustrated enough, she said, why does it matter why it happened. What matters is what we can do to make sure it doesn't again. Good Lord, you'd have thought she just suggested crucifying Christ again.

Their purpose was political, partisan power. They kept harping on four people died. Three of those who died were paid to protect. They were warriors. They were mercenaries you might even say and in this case in the pay of the CIA or State Department. They were there to do what they could to keep the Consulate and Ambassador safe. The Ambassador died from smoke inhalation, almost a fluke death as nobody deliberately tried to shoot him. One of the operatives did also. The other two from rocket fire. 

Exactly what was intended by the attack is not yet known. What we can pretty well determine is that the arms they used, their training, what is happening in Africa is a result of despots being removed. Sadly leaders like Gaddafi kept order at a terrible price in terms of human abuse. Now their weapons are being spread among terrorist organizations and Mali and Algeria are also feeling the effect.

That was logic. An Ideologue instead says-- if I was president I'd fire you for those four deaths. That guy doesn't care what happened. He cares that he can pontificate (a guy incidentally who will NEVER be president). One of the men Kerry addressed the next day admitted he was out there posturing but had not attended briefing meetings. 

That's the two sides of this-- one to posture and scream. The other to look at what we do now. How do they get along? A clue-- they don't.

Theoretically when we vote, doesn't that mean it's settled until the next election? Not hardly.  The arguing wouldn't be so bad if we could even apply the principles that just won that election to see if it works. It doesn't happen. 

We don't even see the word fair equally. It has become a partisan term that infuriates some to even hear. To them fair is a liberal word. If they think of it at all, it's what is fair to their own interests. I hear them talk about taxation without representation as if voting for something automatically means you get your way even if you didn't win the most votes.

Jupiter in proximity to the moon 
January 21 Central Oregon

As a nation we should agree that we want uniform voting regulations, places to vote, counting of the ballots, methods for campaigning. You know we do not and some feel that by limiting who can vote, they assure their idea of fairness. How do you get along with someone who is talking revolution when you believe in voting?

I know it's the ideal that we can come to a meeting of minds. I just don't think it's actually possible and am not sure why not. Is it brain chemistry that has two people looking at an image of a hungry person and one sees a need to do something effective that will help while the other sees a person who brought on their own problems and is now trying to get help they don't deserve.

It's amazing that we don't all see life the same way but we do not. Even with friends or family, sometimes we have to agree to disagree and look for other areas we can agree.

There was a book out some years back that said when you get into a situation where it's a win/lose; then your best option is to not play. Get out of the argument/debate because when one person has to lose, it's going to lead to trouble. The point of the book is to go where there is a win/win in any conflict. It sounds good and might work in personal relationships (or maybe not). It is harder when it involves deep, heartfelt core beliefs.

 Metolius River in January-- an energy place

So rather than having this all be negative, I thought I'd present some of my actual ideas on how we can get along. If you read this far and have others, I'd appreciate you adding them in comments.

Accept you won't convince everyone you are right (you might someday find you were wrong). 
When irked with someone, try to find those places where you can agree. 
Understand that everybody, even those you disrespect, is trying to do what works for their lives. 
Don't feel you need to give up your point but don't expect to always win. 
Avoid getting angry-- that doesn't win points-- with them or you. 
Be involved in the choices the nation is making because head in the sand doesn't cut it and leaves no way to whine with honor later. 
Vote for leaders who come as close to your core beliefs as possible-- it won't be all the way.
When your way doesn't succeed, work on other areas and wait for a new day.
Find things to think about besides all that's wrong with the world. The alternative is a good way to an ulcer.
Look for options in getting to a certain goal-- sometimes the goal is the same but the method is the problem and we can get hung up on details.
And when it's family-- love each other. Don't remember every grievance. Expect growth in them and yourself. 
Find activities that make you happy and where you can forget all that's gone wrong anywhere in the world and in your own life. 
Spend time in energy places and pull them into you for times when you'll need that.
For parents, when you see your children showing anti-social behavior, possibly fascinated with the macabre to an unnatural level, take some action. I think a lot of these tendencies to see violence as the solution start very young; and if parents would work with experts, try to deal with their reality not their wishes, maybe, some violent events could be avoided.

Finally on getting along-- when out in public-- be alert and aware what is around you. Pay attention to warning signs, noises, sights and it might be smoke in the air. Don't be oblivious to the weather, activity by others because when we can't get along, sometimes it turns ugly fast. I am not saying get a gun because that's not as good a solution as just staying aware. Never think it can't happen to you-- others thought that too. We can't always avoid violence but we can have a plan in our mind for what we'd do if we have time-- life is such that we won't always and that's just a reality and not unique to our time in history.


Ingineer66 said...

It is like what Robert Gates said about his confirmation hearings. When he was nominated for Defense Secretary by George W. Bush he was grilled by Democrat Senators and Republicans gave him a pass. Then when Obama kept him on, the Democrats gave him a pass and the Republicans grilled him.

If you have not already seen it, you should watch the Daily Show recap of the inauguration. It is pretty funny showing the different views of MSNBC and Fox News, and then that CNN only covered the fashion angle of the day.

Ingineer66 said...

I see that you have already watched it. :-)

Rain Trueax said...

Yes, I saw that and laughed. This event convinced me to watch such things on C-Span without all the instant partisan analysis or silly talk like the designer of the dress. It'd be a joke if it wasn't what passes for journalism in our country.

Taradharma said...

I daily practice getting along with my Tea-Party dad. His thoughts and feelings are iron-clad, just as my far-left liberal thoughts are. I have to step away and not engage. We're never going to bridge that gap. I can only thank "God" that neither one us carries a gun.

When I was a child, I had a naive notion that we could all get along and be happy. After all, life is beautiful and precious, right?

I've learned some hard lessons on that score...and now the challenge is to hold on to my hope for the human race even when so much evidence points to the perverse, the negative, the hate.

No, I don't think we'll ever all get along with one another. We all see the world from our unique perspective, fashioned from our experiences growing up.

Now, I just delight when opportunities for fellowship present themselves. An little island of love and connection is a vast stormy sea.

Diane Widler Wenzel said...

The partisanship goes deep into our prehistoric animal behaviors and could make me depressed the way it is playing out in the so called United States of America. But I try to step back and consider our less noticeable progress towards getting along. The United states is an excellent example of "cultural pluralism" in our changed attitude to our peoples from all over the world and our ntive Americans. I also like the checks and balances of our Constitution so not too much change occurs all at once.

Diane Widler Wenzel said...


Times are rough and depress me, but we can step back and see that we are in the process of cultural pluralism.

Rain Trueax said...

That's a beautiful example, Tara.

And Diane, I do think we have come a long way and there are many examples that encourage me. I just hope the people who are tea partiers will someday come to see that we are making progress-- not regressing. Change scares some people and our nation has changed a lot. There are things I have changed on that ten years ago wouldn't have been how I'd have seen it. So maybe there is still hope ;) We are very multicultural and some of us see that as good. Some are scared to death of it.

Rain Trueax said...

Some cannot tolerate the idea of cultural pluralism and want it all to be as they see is good, as they live. Sometimes it does have to follow the broader community's views but when it's possible to let us each be unique, it's one of the pluses of America, I think.

Ingineer66 said...

I think the Tea Party crowd needs to lighten up on social issues and the Liberal crowd needs to realize that spending one Trillion dollars more than you make every year is not going to last forever. If any of us spent 33% more than we made it would not be long before it all collapsed around us.

Rain Trueax said...

Obama with the GOP control of the House cut $1.2 trillion last year or something like that. The end of wars around the globe will help some but then what do we do about Mali and northern Africa? As long as the right resists tax increases, they don't want to cut military, the only thing left is taking it out of the poor, isn't it? Their idea of chained CPI will hurt military families also who are on disability due to their injuries. It's not going to be easy to cut more because each state thinks their projects will be good for jobs. and on it goes.

Ingineer66 said...

How much did Obama increase the budget first and how much is Obamacare going to cost? He said he was going to reduce the deficit but it has grown every year under his administration.

How is cutting the budget always taking it out on the poor? Although being poor in this country means that you only have 2 flat-screen TV's and one cellphone and you can only afford Starbucks once a day. There are plenty of places that could be cut that do not involve starving people.

Ingineer66 said...

Yes, one big war is over and another is winding down. But Obama has got us into 5 new little wars. Maybe some exotic weapon systems will be cut, and he is reducing the numbers of people in the Army and Marines. But don't expect giant defense cuts. Won't happen.
And Obama and the Dems got the tax increase they wanted.

Rain Trueax said...

Where are you saying we are in wars right now? Not denying you are right but trying to understand how you define them and where you see them?

The Affordable Care Act will demand that people get insurance and it will help those pay for it who have limited incomes. How much do you expect that to cost the government? Medicare is the big cost but it could be made cheaper by letting seniors buy their prescriptions from wherever they wish. SS is only part of this equation because the government has been borrowing from the trust fund, otherwise it wouldn't be a factor.

I've put up charts here showing how much spending went up under Obama and it's the least of any president in a long time. Reagan increased our debt 185%. Bush 80%. Obama's spending by 35% and some of that was stimulus which 1/3 went to tax cuts; 1/3 to the states to increase jobs; and 1/3 for various programs the feds decided would do it.

I always wonder when you talk like this about the poor-- how many do you know directly? Living out here in the country, I happen to know quite a few and don't know any with the kind of luxuries you seem to believe they all have. I won't say we cannot do better with being sure the wrong people aren't being helped; but what about the money that goes to oil corporations, fat cat farmers, etc. And waste in the military with weapons programs that we don't need and don't end up working. Why do Republicans worry so much that a disabled veteran might get too much help and not that the Koch brothers got it?

Hattie said...

We just have a lot of people in this country with an authoritarian mindset. George Lakoff discusses this matter in his book, *Don't Think of an Elephant. *

Ingineer66 said...

Authoritarian Mindset?? Obama has more of an authoritarian mindset than anybody in Washington. He has said as much himself when complaining about having to deal with Congress. And last week the Court said that he violated the Constitution again. I know liberals think the Constitution is a "living document" that is outdated. But it is still the law of the land and there are a bunch of us that still believe in it. A guy that took an oath to defend it should be doing a better job of abiding by it.

Ingineer66 said...

I will have to research it to say exactly what countries. But about every 6 months or so, the President sends US troops to a new country where there are Islamic terrorists running amok. Mostly they are in Africa and it is not the top story on the nightly news for 2 weeks like it would be if there was a Republican war monger President.

Ingineer66 said...

I was a member of the poor, but I pulled myself up by my bootstraps. I see several members of the poor coming into Starbucks dragging their kids behind them.

You act like we are just handing money out to the oil companies like we do with Tobacco growers.
The oil companies get tax credits to stimulate exploration which creates jobs and new sources of energy. It is not a handout. It is not like we "loan" them billions of dollars and don't expect them to pay it back like Solyndra. It is a break from the taxes they are already paying and it stimulates more economic growth.

Most farmers that I know are in favor of ending crop subsidies if we end them for all crops. Like Labor unions, They may have had their place back in the day when we needed to grow food, but now we grow plenty.

Rain Trueax said...

And why did he do recess appointments? because there is a Congress that won't do anything thanks to filibuster. The righties only want righties appointed. Where is to the victors go the spoils? not in any right wing thinking. Whether what he did turns out to be Constitutional will depend on the Supreme Court. The issue that the vacancy has to arise during the recess is nothing Bush did either! The Suprmes will work this out and probably right to left again.

I'd like to see the numbers that you say are in these various countries. We know there is trouble in Mali but when Obama didn't send troops to Libya the right said he betrayed our country.

And finally you most likely came from lower income folks like I did. The ones I know out here who are poor don't do starbucks, don't have new TVs, don't have good autos, and a lot don't get any government help either unless they have small children. I grew up without a lot but never considered our family poor even though there was hand me down clothes and very little money for any luxury. I think you have to know the poor as people rather than assuming something based on seeing someone walk into a starbucks. I don't know any poor who go there and I know quite a few of them out here. Heck, I don't even pay the price starbucks asks!

Rain Trueax said...

And you prove my point about the inability of people to get along. Whatever the Koch brothers get Charles Koch welfare is good and whatever a poor child gets, that's bad. Food stamps not good but anything for oil companies who make massive profits well it's all for our good. You see what I am saying about the inability to communicate or get along. It's win or lose which is too bad. But it's what it is and right now the losers still want to act as though they won! Next time the victory needs to be bigger. Democrats got 1 million more votes for the House than Republicans who are doing all they can to manipulate districts to win anyway. Democracy? What is that???

Ingineer66 said...

I never said Food Stamps were bad. Having 40 million people on them is a bad thing.

Rain Trueax said...

What is your alternative? I hope you know that being on food stamps doesn't mean you get all your food that way. It might mean $100 worth for a month. It's calculated based on need. It is a bad thing we have so many people who are poor enough to need them. Having jobs that don't pay a living wage doesn't help. Who has profited from this system currently? Hint: it's not the poor.

wally said...

Recess appointments have been used by presidents throughout our history to overcome a recalcitrant Senate and avoid long term vacancies of government positions. They’ve been used by Democratic and Republican presidents alike. Congress has been able to prevent recess appointments by simply declaring pro forma sessions (no business is actually conducted ). George W. Bush made 171 recess appointments during his presidency, but Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader, was able to prevent additional appointments by not allowing Congress to adjourn more than three days, preventing a recess. (Ronald Reagan made 240 recess appointments. Bill Clinton 139)

The claim that these appointments are un-constitutional is unfounded. (Google Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution) It’s interesting to note that the senior judge on the panel that made the decision is David Sentelle, a judge who has spent the last 30 years practicing right wing political activism from the bench. If this decision is not challenged by the Justice Dept. the Republican Senate will be able to rob the president of his power to govern even more than they already have during his first term of office. But, they may have shot themselves in the foot. There’s coming a day when we will have a Republican president once more. The conservatives may be happy that they have sabotaged a Democratic president, but they have at the same time sabotaged future Republican presidents.

Rain Trueax said...

Thank you for that helpful information, Wally. I suspect they will challenge it as it certainly is not how this has been done. For one thing a recess appointment is not permanent. It just enables the work to be done-- something Republicans don't want.

Hattie said...

Lack of community and lack of strong intimate bonds are causing people to become angry and unmoored.
I am hoping that well thought out social programs can bring more of these isolates into the fold.

Rain Trueax said...

We certainly have a lot of that, Hattie. It seems with the violence there are two types in public-- the going postal like we just saw in Arizona and then these young guys who just want to blast away a lot of people. I am not sure what we can do as a community about either but sure ought to be doing something.

Ingineer66 said...

Obama violated a Federal Law again by not consulting with the Senate Intelligence committee on his Extra-Legal program to kill Americans. It is the Chicagoisation of DC. No authoritarian mindset there.

Rain Trueax said...

You cannot believe how little I respect that committee or any of them but let me ask you, since the drone program began under Bush, did it bother you then?

A lot of liberals are not at all happy about the drone use and maybe the courts will evaluate this but it really gets me when Republicans condemn Obama but didn't mind this and torture under Bush. Explain that one to me.

Ingineer66 said...

Like I said, I do not mind the Drone Program. But Obama broke a Federal law by not getting Congressional approval. Just like he did not get approval during the Libyan action. Bush got Congressional approval for drone strikes and the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Like it or not Congress (Democrats and Republicans) approved what Bush did. Congress is not even reviewing what Obama does because the guy that told us he was going to run the most transparent administration in history is illegally keeping everything a secret.

Rain Trueax said...

Some in Congress disagree with you ingineer. You find fault with ANYTHING the guy does. If it was okayed by Bush to do the drones, something I didn't check on, then it means a president had the power and it would carry over. Sen. Graham said it was legal. The problem with you is you listen and read right wing pundits who have only one stake in this to find anything they can to rile up their listeners.

And whether we should rediscuss this being a war is the issue, one which I will bring up on Saturday's blog on another topic but that ties into drones. If we are at war, then a president has the right to do things which included a nuclear bomb dropped on Japan during WWII. If it's not a war, then the rules change.

Democrats in Congress are more likely to find fault with this than Republicans who want the power themselves. In war you fight however you can. If it's not a war, then that should be redefined. He's Commander in Chief of the military and CIA is who has been doing the drone attacks which is also something Congress has okayed.. but just not okay when it's a Democrat, huh?

Rain Trueax said...

And on Libya, how do you find fault with him not sending in our military to Benghazi while you also fault him for giving air support to the Libyan rebels? Frankly that's way off base. One way or the other, don't you think? I've heard you criticize him on both fronts. You just hate him and quit saying you don't. You prove it by what you say time after time.

Ingineer66 said...

That is what the judge that I listened to on the radio said. If it was a declared war by Congress then it is OK to target Americans overseas as we did in WWII. Since this is not a declared war in Pakistan then it is not really legal. Most Republicans really don't mind that we are killing Al Qaida leadership so they are not making much of a fuss. But it should be done legally. It is matter of principle.

Again I do not have a problem sending the military in either case. In Libya, he did the first time and not the second time. But he should follow the War Powers Act. It is nothing less than you would demand from a Republican President.

Rain Trueax said...

Congress and the American people have felt they were at war with the terrorists since 9/11 and they are still determined to hit us and other western nations. I think that whether it's declared or not, most Americans know it's not over. The issue of drones and fighting it elsewhere is do we go after them or allow a country like Pakistan, which has the nuclear bomb but also a very active terrorist element to dominate what we do? Most Americans would say we should go after them. The question about the drones goes deeper. Whether we like them or not, how do we trust when the other side has the power. Judges are partisan; so this will get decided by the Supremes is my guess.