OP/ED: Feeding the White Elephant

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posted on Dec, 26 2005 @ 11:54 AM
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Once again Val you have written an excellent OP-ED piece that generates a substantial amount of thoughtful discussion. I think we all tend to use language that is quite often laced with connotationally loaded words that incite other posters to reply emotionally rather than dispassionately. I know I do it, sometimes on purpose. Even if we fight off the tendency to post an emotionally based retort we still tend to fire off a reply in more haste (and thus with less thought) than is warranted. A second, or even a third, look at what we intend to post would often save us from having to backtrack later, or apologize, or, in some other way, qualify that which we posted in haste.

I am sometimes in absolute awe at the ability of some posters to write at breakneck speed and still keep everything more or less together while responding to numerous attackers more or less simultaneously. However, the postings that tend to stick in my mind the most are the ones that often come hours afterwards and reflect the deeper thinking that went into them.

We cannot prevent political thinking from leaking into our thoughts and thus into our postings, but we can be more aware of what we are writing and we can try to find alternatives to what we know are emotionally laden words that are likely to draw an equally emotionally based reply.




posted on Dec, 26 2005 @ 06:56 PM
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Bob LaoTse: Well.... that's your view and your welcome to it. I DO get the point, and I made a valid example of two instances of the same law.... even if it was two Dems or Republicans, doesn't matter.

If you still haven't figured out that the wiretaps are LEGAL, then you haven't read much on the subject.

And, yes, there ARE different levels to things.



posted on Dec, 31 2005 @ 07:31 PM
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Originally posted by ValhallMajor point you're missing in this argument: if you think the PATRIOT Act is a reasonable measure due to the attacks of 9/11, and that these measures are in place to thwart, or have thwarted, further terrorist actions you MUST admit that if the Republicans had not killed the passing of the Omnibus bill in 1995, SEPTEMBER 11TH MIGHT NOT HAVE HAPPENED! YOU CAN NOT HAVE IT BOTH WAYS.



Valhall,

You have a very good point and I'm sure we're all guilty of the "Can't you see it!?!" attitude once in a while.

However, I would like to point out in your quote that you assume that it was foreign terrorists that leveled the WTC on 9/11. There is currently a conspiracy under a considerable amount of scrutiny here at this site that suggests that this was an inside job. If that is the case then that conspiracy would include members of both parties and the party issue becomes a moot point.



posted on Jun, 17 2006 @ 07:45 AM
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Since the trend for the day is to feed the elephant with both hands and a shovel, I thought I'd bump this. And go a little further in saying...

I personally believe any of you who want to divert a topic of issue by spewing vitriolic rhetoric at the "evil other side" of some political battleground you've created in your head are...

MEANTARDS!

That's right, meantards...people who talk like they know something, but really don't know enough to talk intelligently on the subject, and are also hateful-heads all wrapped up in one aggravating persona.

Meantards!



posted on Jun, 17 2006 @ 08:29 AM
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Well though I have never been called hateful or a "meantard" (whatever that is HAHAHA) I would, at the risk of being run out of here on a rail, like to post my opinion.

Val, you wrote an entire piece supposedly about non-partisanship and yet, in your own article you differentiate between the two parties. I applaud your grand efforts, yet must point out the obvious futility of it. This is currently a republican administration and even though you defend your op/ed with some small snipes at the Clinton Admin, the very substance of your opinion must therefore be directed at the Bush Administration. You can not write something like this and it not be directed at the administration in power. You also can not expect those of us that admire and respect the President, to not also rise to the defense of this Administration when it is our feeling that they are doing a fine job. You may have railed against the Clinton Twins, but that really is not applicable here is it?

Does not your using examples of what the Democrats have done and what the Republicans have done, that you disapprove of, also further give separation to the parties? See where I am going with this? You can not have it both ways either. No matter what your grand intentions, any criticism of the current administration, no matter how you paint it, is a criticism of the administration. And that is fine, that is what this is all about and you have the absolute right. Yet to label it otherwise is not really fair is it, and also invites debate into the parties and their very seperation? Which is also wonderful, but many seem to be opposed to.

What is it that you suggest, that we all become moderates? I guess compared to Rush Limbaugh, I'm a moderate. yet to many on here I am a neocon (whatever that is) So do we do away with all the parties and all become Moderates and then have a one party system? That really is what we all are anyway. Moderates to one extreme or the other. There can not be any other explanation for all of our differing view points. Those of us from one party or the other in this 2 party system, simply gravitate to one side or the other as that side represents our core beliefs more than the other.

Trying to explain why "I" am a republican, or even what a Republican stands for (and I've seen it on here alot) is trying to get in my head and trust me there is not enough room with all the mud there. So do I feed the White Elephant or the White Donkey? No matter what you proclaim, you feed one or the other, even if it is only because one or the other is currently in power. Proclaim your self a Moderate and attack the current administration and you are expressing liberal views. Defend the current administration and your views must be conservative. All the while proclaiming, "I am a Moderate."

I absolutely do not endorse the Presidents actions in spending or the borders, yet proudly proclaim I am a Republican. See I can do both, support him on some issues, not on others and still be a Republican.

While I am at it, why is it that most "Moderates" seem to have very very Liberal opinions?

Just my views

Semper



posted on Jun, 17 2006 @ 08:38 AM
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Originally posted by semperfortis


Does not your using examples of what the Democrats have done and what the Republicans have done, that you disapprove of, also further give separation to the parties?


I would like to answer this bluntly, because IMHO you don't deserve a soft answer.

Answer:

Only in a meantard's mind.



posted on Jun, 17 2006 @ 08:46 AM
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Originally posted by semperfortis
While I am at it, why is it that most "Moderates" seem to have very very Liberal opinions?

In my 20+ years of attempting to engage in serious discussion about politics on several levels, I've never subscribed to one "party", and usually find myself in a "moderate" stance. That has resulted in an equal amount of being labeled liberal by conservatives and conservative by liberals.

The futility of the way you have allowed yourselves to be divided results in knee-jerk assumptions that anyone "not on your side" must be on "the other side"... which results in the classic -- you're wither with us or against us mentally deficient thinking.

Here on ATS, we aspire to higher standards of a focus on the issues without futile finger-pointing at the political flavor of individuals. Over the years, we have attempted several ways to inspire our members to focus on the important issues without baiting and sniping over personal politics.

Additionally, a growingly vocal minority are finding it impossible to understand two things:
1) A site with roots in conspiracy theory will be intensely critical of any administration regardless of party.
2) Intense criticism of an administration or government policies is not intense criticism of the nation.

As a result, we will be moving toward new ATS-specific encouragements to remain well-focused on the issues, and keep personal politics on PTS. More on that coming soon.

Carry on...



posted on Jun, 17 2006 @ 08:51 AM
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Nor did I ask for a "soft" answer val, whatever that may be. Yet my point remains. Does not discussing the issues of party separation, further separate. (to boil it all down)

Does calling me a meantard, again whatever that is to you, not also further exacerbate the very issues you wished to bring to light. the seperation. You just labeled me, thus farther pushing me out of the mainstream/moderate view that looks like you are aiming for.

I am sorry that you considered my opinion on your piece that of a meantard. (see I used it again, getting used to it) I valued your opinion enough to respond, yet if you think that I am not contributing, then i will leave this piece alone as it is your op/ed after all.

Thank you for your time.

Semper



posted on Jun, 17 2006 @ 08:55 AM
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You were voicing your own opinion? I thought you were asking a rhetorical question.

That's unfortunate.

Tell me, because I think when you point out a problem (such as pointing out the "problem" with my article that you claim causes further divisiveness) you should also offer the solution to the problem or at least a better idea, SO...

tell me please how would you have written an article aimed at pointing out that the issue (for instance the issue of the PATRIOT Act and its potential threats to rights and freedoms) is the important topic and that blame can be cast EQUALLY in the political arena when discussing the topic, so casting blame is futile and nonproductive, should have been written.

Please tell me the better way - since apparently looking at a subject with objectivity isn't, in your opinion, the best way to do it. And so far nothing you've stated in this thread is worthless to me, but it will quickly and decisively become so if you can't offer a better suggestion to what you have claimed to be in error.

[edit on 6-17-2006 by Valhall]



posted on Jun, 17 2006 @ 09:00 AM
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Because when I read your post above, what I read is this...

because I pointed out the faults of BOTH SIDES (i.e. because I dared to speak the faults of a Republican-dominated government policy), I am wrong.

I assume it would have been okay if I had left that part out? Is this the solution?



posted on Jun, 17 2006 @ 09:35 AM
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Originally posted by Valhall
You were voicing your own opinion? I thought you were asking a rhetorical question.

That's unfortunate.

Tell me, because I think when you point out a problem (such as pointing out the "problem" with my article that you claim causes further divisiveness) you should also offer the solution to the problem or at least a better idea, SO...

tell me please how would you have written an article aimed at pointing out that the issue (for instance the issue of the PATRIOT Act and its potential threats to rights and freedoms) is the important topic and that blame can be cast EQUALLY in the political arena when discussing the topic, so casting blame is futile and nonproductive, should have been written.

Please tell me the better way - since apparently looking at a subject with objectivity isn't, in your opinion, the best way to do it. And so far nothing you've stated in this thread is worthless to me, but it will quickly and decisively become so if you can't offer a better suggestion to what you have claimed to be in error.

[edit on 6-17-2006 by Valhall]


Val,
Why do you think I should offer a better solution to anything? You voiced your opinion in your OP/ED, I posted my opinion in a reply. Being it was your opinion, and my opinion, by the very definition of an opinion, they can neither be both right or both wrong. they are what they are, opinions. I valued your opinion, I simply posted mine in reply as is the point of this site.

Whether what I post is of worth to you, or worthless, is not really an issue to me, as I simply voiced my opinion. It is up to you how it is that you perceive it.

As for a suggestion, I do not in anyway think that having two major parties is destructive in anyway. I take a stand for one party and everyone on here knows that.



posted on Jun, 17 2006 @ 09:52 AM
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semper,

You're ability to jump to conclusions and make out-right erroneous implications toward other people is going to wear my mat out...it's also disturbing to me.

1. You accused me of suggesting every one become moderates.

LIE

I made no such suggestion. And that you read that into my piece is further disturbing to me. You don't seem to even understand politics and what makes the difference between the foundational platforms of the two major parties, yet you'll speak like you do! (I won't point out what that mismatch hints at.)

I suggested in my piece INTELLIGENCE in discussion of issues. I gave an example of one issue that was being discussed at the time of my OP/ED - the PATRIOT Act - which time after time degenerated to "the neo-cons are taking our liberties" and "the bleeding heart liberals" want us all to die. There is not a single policy in either major party that supports EITHER of those two accusations. The foundational policies of the two parties have nothing to do with the discussion of whether the PATRIOT Act is a threat to the U.S. citizen's rights. My piece was to point out that - SINCE BOTH PARTIES - have attempted to enforce the same type of threatening act as an answer to national security, it's not a partisan issue. It's a "we've got a broken representative system" issue. One where the people who are elected to go to Washington to preserve our rights forget that fundamental mandate before they even leave their respective states!

2. Who the living hell suggested we shouldn't have at least two parties? Why did you even say this?


I do not in anyway think that having two major parties is destructive in anyway.


It has nothing to do with the op/ed piece or anything else discussed in this thread. In fact, my contention is part of what is wrong right now is that we DON'T have two parties! We have one party with the same goals, the same mindsets, and the same dysfunctions - only they have different mascots and colors.

And then a final note I would like to point out that you can be "hard core" Democrat or "hard core" Republican and not be an extremist. For instance, a hard core Democrat would be staunchly in line with the platform of the Democratic party and the same in defining the hard core Republican - but that does not make them extremists!

It is the extremists of both parties - those who want to call the other side classifying names such as "bleeding heart liberals" or "neo-con right wingers" and use those name to connote the group they have deemed the bane of their own personal existence and the root of all societal and political evils, that are meantards. They can't intelligently look at a broken representative system that threatens their freedoms because they're too busy trying to figure out how to twist it to be blamed on the "other side".

The bane of my personal existence is meantards...I think they are anti-American and are traitors to their fellow citizens. They are allowing their fellow citizens to be gradually taken into captivity while they divert any attention from what is happening with their banal arguments and accusations. They derail intelligent discussions on worrisome and important issues with their name-calling and idiotic finger pointing at "the other side".

If "leftist liberals" and "neo-con nazis" can be inserted in what otherwise would be an intelligent discussion on important policy issues, then I demand the right to blame it all on meantards. Else discrimination abounds.



posted on Jun, 17 2006 @ 09:59 AM
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OK Val, you win.

I got half way through your reply and by that time I had been called a Liar, Unintelligent and ignorant of politics.

I can not tolerate an inability to debate or being insulted, so have fun on your thread and I truly hope you obtain whatever it is your going for.

Semper



posted on Jun, 17 2006 @ 10:07 AM
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Well, considering you got that much wrong in reading just the first half of the post...it's probably best you didn't continue.



posted on Jun, 17 2006 @ 01:17 PM
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before, I'm sure, but bears repeating:

"As sure as Love May Conquer All, Fear May Defeat the Strongest Resolve".

Val, is it not human nature to withdraw to a perceived "safe" position when threatened? Could it be that the tendency for some amoung us to resort to partisanship, and worse, stems not from a lack of control over aggression, (perhaps resulting from a degree of intellectual immaturity?); but merely from an exagerated sense of fear? When threatened, whether the threat is real or merely pereptual (conceptual?), these souls do the one thing that brings them relief and re-assurance: They retreat to their politcal/religious/societal "corners", only from whence they feel safe enough, en masse, to persue the "scarey thing" of debate.

I'm sure you'll agree that we live in times which can be both wonderous, and startling. For some, these wonders and revelations can be most disturbing to beliefs and world-views long nurtured in closely-knit social units. Indeed, I would venture to guess that we ALL have our own "Fear Points"; that point beyond which our fear of the "whatever" forces us to turn back to safety.

Just as everyone has a "threshhold of pain", might we not also each experience a "Threshhold of Fear"?

For some, this threshhold my be high, for some relatively low. Some, by sheer force of will, can overcome their personal thresholds. Some are seemingly forever to be limited by their "fear of fear".

I wish I could offer a solution to the dilema, but I'm not that wise. All I can offer is my vow to try to understand, and in that way, perhaps I can extend the bounderies of the fear that holds Me back.

[edit on 17-6-2006 by Bhadhidar]



posted on Jun, 17 2006 @ 05:01 PM
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I think a common sense means of reducing or preventing the problems Valhall describes is for everyone to think about what they're posting, and refrain from attaching personal positions to collective party positions.

For example, if someone believes the PATRIOT Act is a positive step, I can respect that opinion despite disagreeing with it, and carry out a hopefully productive dialogue with that individual. Further, if someone says they prefer the Republican party for that reason, I can likewise respect their reasoning and the equal validity of their life experiences to my own, and communicate rationally and cordially - even in a friendly manner - with them. I like people, and I respect people's views. I try to get along with those I have disagreements with, and in fact I have a very close Republican friend of many years who I would probably give the shirt off my back if it came to it. I'm sure he feels the same way. (I'm not a Democrat, but I probably lean more toward what is at least the outward appearance of that party than I do to any other.)

The problem arises, I have observed here and elsewhere, when it stops being about "you and I" and starts being about "us and them." Suddenly you aren't just debating an individual's stance on an issue, but instead find yourself attacking a political party. Pretty soon it isn't even about an issue so much as about what side you're on. For that reason, I think reminding ourselves to make sure the words "me" and "you" are more abundant in our posts than "us," "your side," "Republican," and "Democrat" would be a good first step and a rational rule of thumb.

Another thing I've thought about more and more lately and which I feel is critical to maintaining some small degree of participation in our government is the need to understand the motivations and goals of everyone involved, beyond caricatures, generalizations, and strict partisan lines. If we don't make an effort to do this, we are at the mercy of what each party tells us their objectives and agendas are. This not only leaves us open to being blinded to genuine agendas, but also largely limits us to repeating our leaders' partisan rhetoric, which further exacerbates the divide.

Think about the documentary film, "An Inconvenient Truth." Many democrats still see Al Gore as the true victor in the 2000 presidential race, while many republicans see him as a sore loser, and someone selfish enough to drag the country through what was almost a "constitutional crisis." Making Gore the movie's poster boy, if you're paranoid, theoretically accomplishes reinforcement of the image that this is a "liberal" film as opposed to a universal or "conservative" one, ensures support from many democrats, and results in dismissal or criticism by many republicans. The net effect is the sustaining of the status quo we already have with regard to the global warming debate, and the reinforcemet of partisanship in general. While I don't believe or disbelieve this hypothesis, I have at least considered as of late the possibility that this is the very reason Gore is so central to "An Inconvenient Truth." It's certainly not outside the realm of possibility, or even highly unlikely for that matter. The irony is that if this is true, it would mean that party is irrelevant and that bipartisan cooperation behind the scenes for the securing of "net outcomes" as I call them, while outward appearances would keep us none the wiser by reinforcing the partisanship some leaders are espousing publicly but not adhering to behind the scenes. This is something I've suspected increasingly over the years.

While that may sound a bit outlandish, the point is that these sorts of possible scenarios are why dialogue between citizens supporting opposing parties is critical. It's the only means available to us for determining if our real fellow citizens are as bad as all the mud slinging by our leaders would have us believe. In my experience, it's not the case.



posted on Jun, 17 2006 @ 05:56 PM
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Bhadhidar,

Excellent points. I do believe that "fear" is involved in the extremist partisan behavior. It has to do with some psychological factor where certain people can't accept a barrier that they deem to "scary" and massive to correct...so they pick something they can handle, something vulnerable enough to allow them a sense of control in the issue. I think this particular psychological reassignment of blame is more prominent in the conspiracy group than in the average joe.

For instance, al-Qaeda committing the 9/11 attacks is too scary. We can't, on a personal level, defeat an amorphous terrorist movement that is world-wide and spreading. But if we reassign the actions to our government - we have a snowball's chance. It is less scary; we may be able to "out them" and get control.

Your points are well thought-out reasons, but they don't excuse. An unhealthy behavior is just that - not very beneficial.

AceWombat04,

If everyone could be like you! Thank you so much for sharing a viewpoint that should be adopted by all.



posted on Jun, 17 2006 @ 06:42 PM
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Originally posted by Valhall
For instance, al-Qaeda committing the 9/11 attacks is too scary. We can't, on a personal level, defeat an amorphous terrorist movement that is world-wide and spreading. But if we reassign the actions to our government - we have a snowball's chance. It is less scary; we may be able to "out them" and get control.


I would beg to differ, living under a system that attacks those it was sworn to protect would be a much scarier prospect. At least with terrorists you always know what side they are on. I would prefer a foreign enemy to one in our own ranks anyday.



posted on Jun, 17 2006 @ 07:54 PM
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Valhall I'm not so sure I agree with this: " BOTH PARTY'S POLITICIANS HAVE DECIDED THAT THE FIRST LINE OF DEFENSE AGAINST ANY "DANGER" WILL BE DRAWN FROM OUR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS AND OUR FREEDOMS". Why have you come to this conclusion?



posted on Jun, 17 2006 @ 09:03 PM
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Val, I enjoyed your post and I'm probably guilty of feeding the elephant but sometimes I admit to playing devil's advocate. I don't think we can discuss politics without people taking sides. We all have our buttons that get pushed and unfortuneatly when emotions turn on intellect turns down. It really is hard to discuss political issues without emotion.

Just as an aside can I use the Meantards at work? It fits so many people there.



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