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Tonight’s Dinner February 21, 2008

Posted by littlebangtheory in Dinner with TCR.
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2 comments

Tonight, Chicken sautéed with an assortment of herbed olives, and a generous side of asparagus:

chixasoar1-small.jpg

‘Twas guuuud.

Part III – Two Bridges December 20, 2007

Posted by littlebangtheory in Politics and Society.
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6 comments

Part 1 of this triad of posts dealt with the re-identification of progressives as “The Left,” and what that meant for the “branding” of our ideas and values.

Part 2 looked at “The Right;” who they really are and what they really want.

This segment, Part 3, is a synopsis of where we’ve been and a suggestion of where we need to go.

I’m going to begin by apologizing for the rambling nature of the first two parts. Their form and direction morphed so much in the writing phase that the results are barely recognizable to me! Whereas I’ve been for some time both amazed and appalled at the pervasiveness of “othering” in our culture, the concept of the Paradigm of Opposites came into being only as I struggled to convey to you my nebulous but growing feelings of dis-ease as we, the Progressive Blog-O-Sphere, have become more disgusted and vitriolic in our responses to “The Right.”

We need to stop doing this. We need to stop now. We need to not buy into the lie of polarization. We need to see Reality as a continuum, as a complex palette of colors without borders, to acknowledge that in a rainbow of ideas, blue becomes yellow by way of green, and all of the intermediate permutations have a place and a value. We need to start seeing Gray again, and to embrace it as the Bridge between Us and Them.

And then we need to Grok the un-Grokable.

We need to understand that WE ARE THEM.

That We The People, the real Body Politic, have far more in common than our Common Enemies would have us believe.

That the fiction of Red States and Blue States is just that, a fiction. That there are conservatives in Massachusetts and there are progressives in Alabama.

That the continuum of Good and Evil is a bell curve, with most of us sharing that middle ground with our Conservative Brothers and Sisters.

And we need to understand that, as polarized as we are, there are people Across the Divide who are coming to understand this as well. Newt Gingrich, that Quintessential Conservative who folded the Religious Right into the Republican party, laments the division of our People in his book, “Winning The Future.” Pat Buchanan’s recent book, “Day of Reckoning” is sub-titled “How Hubris, Ideology and Greed are Tearing America Apart.” In it he decries the ignorance and arrogance of the Bush Administration and the horrendous loss of lives, expenditure of resources and diminution of our Country’s standing in the world which has resulted from their Corporatist policies and actions.

The Time is Now, people. It’s time to can the hyperbole and roll up our sleeves and build the bridges which will unite us in our struggle to provide some kind of decent future for our children. We Progressives want that, and Conservatives want it too.

But Building Bridges doesn’t just happen by pitching our building blocks into the rift which currently separates us. First we need to identify where we are; then we need to know where we’re going.

Our First Bridge must originate from our deep concern for our Economic futures, must emanate from our outrage at having spent half a trillion dollars so far on a war which has neither achieved its nefarious goals nor done We The People a whit of good.

This bridge needs to link us to the Fiscal Conservatives in the Republican party. These people aren’t only ready for our efforts – some of them have already begun massing their resources to begin construction on their side of The Rift. They’re beginning to see that a bloated Pentagon budget isn’t educating their kids. They’re beginning to see that the massive bureaucracy of The Department of Homeland Security is sucking them dry. They’re beginning to understand that their children’s futures are being mortgaged to the hilt for all the wrong reasons.

This bridge will need to bear the two-way traffic of ideas, to carry to the other side our hopes and dreams and deepest fears. We will need to listen as well as talk. We will need to acknowledge our idealism and accept responsibility for the harsh words we’ve directed at our Conservative brothers and sisters.

But first and foremost, this bridge must be a conduit for the most important message of all: that the half-trillion dollars we’ve thus far borrowed from China isn’t in our pockets or theirs, nor has it dropped through bomb-bay doors to coat the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan.

No, that money, money which was never even ours but which our children are indentured to, is safely ensconced in the corporate accounts of the Architects of Divisiveness, the 1% who won’t rest until they have it all – The Corporacrats.

There are an awful lot of Fiscal Conservatives who will understand this message, and they won’t be happy about it, not even a little bit.

Of course there are other messages which we’ll need to carry across our new bridge, such as the message that Universal Health Care would cost less than we now pay for less-than-universal Health Insurance; that cheap goods purchased at WalMart might save Americans a few bucks a month but are ultimately costing us our jobs. We’ll need to make the case clearly that the reason our health care problems and our employment problems haven’t been “solved” is that the Corporacrats at the top of our collective food pyramid are very happy indeed with the current status quo. And why shouldn’t they be? They have the best health care our money can buy. And they have the best jobs too, don’t they?

So what of the other group of Good Americans with whom we Progressives are currently at odds – the Social Conservatives?

This will be a tougher group to reach, primarily because they’re being sold a black-and-white Paradigm of Good and Evil, with The Left cast in the roll of Evil On Earth.

But putting the rhetoric aside, we need to acknowledge that most of them are Good People, trying to live as Good Christians.

And then we need to build a bridge from the goodness of our imperfect hearts to the core precepts of their Christianity.

This is our Second Bridge. Its construction begins with Forgiving Them Their Tresspasses and continues by demonstrating our commitment to helping the less fortunate, the needy, the innocent. It means joining hands with those in the religious community who are making earnest efforts to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, to minister to the sick, to feed the poor, to live simply so others may simply live.

This bridge must allow us to carry the message to our religious friends that causing the deaths of 600,000 innocent people is not a Christian act, that Jesus would disapprove of people getting fabulously wealthy selling medicine to the sick, that the only people against whom He ever raised a hand in anger were the God Damned Money-Changers in the Temple, the historical corollaries to the sub-prime usury frauds who are foreclosing on our neighbors and the Wall Street Fat Cats who are wriggling out of paying their fare share of taxes while they’re amassing ungodly fortunes.

This bridge must carry the message that a Nation which can’t take care of its children and its poor and it sick old parents because it’s too busy killing people is NOT A CHRISTIAN NATION.

There are many, many Socially Conservative Christians who will hear this message and respond as Their Lord Jesus would, as any person with a heart and a conscience would, as most Progressives have been responding all along.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Our efforts at building these bridges won’t go unnoticed or unanswered. The Theocrats who want to control our government have everything to lose if we can persuade their flocks to eschew the Paradigm of Opposites, to let go of their hatred, to recognize Progressives not as Some Other Thing spawned in hell, but as an Earthly reflection of the words and actions of their Savior, sharing what we have with the less fortunate, championing the causes of underdogs, making certain that everyone has enough to get by.

The Theocrats will insist that we’re manifestations of The Anti-Christ, come to destroy their Church. I’m going to be so bold as to suggest that we refrain from attacking Christianity in any broad sense, and instead focus our criticisms on specific practices which we find problematic. Let’s remember that Jesus preached Peace and Love and Compassion, all ideas we should find easy to support, even as we remind The Faithful that he never railed against homosexuals or carried on about abortion.

And what of the Corporacrats, née Neocons? Does anyone think they’ll watch idly as these bridges are built?

Of course not. They’ll bring the Big Guns of their consolidated Main Stream Media to bear on us, shutting us out, vilifying our Important Voices. We have to be there when that happens, before it happens, writing letters in support of the Voices of Sanity and Reconciliation. We need to vote with our dollars, letting advertisers know that we won’t tolerate censorship and won’t patronize businesses which fund it. We need to anticipate attempts to control The Internet and Blogging, the Last Free Voice of We The People, because it’s coming. We’re making too many waves, too much of a difference, to be allowed to speak and to organize.

But we’re many, and we’re committed. And our ideas have integrity.

And if we focus, if we all agree on some basic principles and strategies and stay that course, we can do this.

At least, I believe we can.

So I’m challenging YOU, my friends, to think about these ideas, and to pass them on to others who don’t come to my little blog-from-the-sticks, and to get back to me with some feedback, with your excellent ideas, with your Action Plans.

And starting now, I’m publicly denouncing the Paradigm of Opposites and challenging all of you to join me in this new way of thinking.

I will no longer be on “The Left.” I’m a proud Progressive.

I will no longer rail against “The Right;” but rather I will Stand and accuse the Corporatists of misinforming and misleading my Conservative friends and neighbors and of usurping the rights and powers of We The People.

I will no longer hurl broad invectives at Christianity or the Catholic Church; that alienates and unjustly wounds too many good and kind and righteous people, including some I know only through the gift of blogging, and who show me daily how to live a life I can be proud of. I hope you know who you are. Thank you.

But I will continue to be critical of specific policies and practices and positions held by Christian churches which I believe are not constructive or beneficial to the People and Country and Planet which I so dearly love.

I’m sure I’ll falter, backslide, say hateful things, use divisive language. Hell, a half-century of habituation to the bad habits of othering is going to be a hard act to unlearn.

But I’m counting on you to call me on it when I do. And I hope you’ll forgive me if I offer a gentle reminder now and then that “no mind was ever changed with anger.”

m’k?

Good.

Now get out there and get building. We have many new friends who are waiting to know us.