June 21, 2006

Bloggers of The World Unite

I have spent the last few days exploring a limited section of the blogging world, and the search has left me both optimistic and weary. I have been examining various Blog Rolls and trying to find sites that I can sink my teeth into. I try and ask myself what is it about a site that captivates a reader? Do my posts do that? I have found a few sites that have sparked my interest and I have listed them in my newly forming Blog Roll. (Although I am still a bit weary about making a massive list that I can’t keep up with.)

Realizing that there are so many people out there, thinking and writing and trying to connect with the world is truly inspiring. I finally feel like maybe I am not totally alone in trying to shake up the world using words as my only tool, but having said that I am seeing how futile the endeavor can be. The people on the left are writing for the people on the left and the right is doing the same. We occasionally cross paths and insult each on the comment sections of each other’s blogs. So what is the point? What is being accomplished?

I recently posted this passage on a comment page, and I would like to explore the idea a bit further here on my own blog:

I have spent the last few years, since about 2000, tuning up my political tool belt. I have gone through phases of anger, apathy, and utter disbelief. I have spent time trying to lure people away from Democrats to more revolutionary parties, if you consider Nader revolutionary. I have read my Marx, my Zinn, my Tariq Ali and Chomsky. During this time I have argued, debated and almost lost my lunch listening to ignorant right-wingers trying to get a rise out of me. But now, my wife and I are having our first child soon and all I can think about is how are we going to make the world a more livable place for her. I don't want to simply preach my politics, but to make change. I want to stop wars, poverty, imperialism, not just read and talk about it.

I am not sure how much blogging back and forth from the right and left will do. At best, it feels like empty words or preaching to the choir, at worst it is name-calling and a waste of time. I am looking for some concrete action that can help educate people, so we can close the rifts that separate us and bring about a world that will function on the basic beliefs of freedom, justice and liberty for all. I am not talking the hypocritical bullshit dished out by the US government, but ideas that will lead us to a extablish a viable, sustainable society on this planet, which we can all live.

I am curious. What do the people who are conservative and pro-war really want? Do you not want to send your kids to decent schools and be able to spend time with the people you love in a world that isn’t built on the backs of others? Is there more to life that that? On the left, why can't we get our shit together and become the force I know we can be in global decision making. So I am taking this time to ask for some help from both sides of the political divide. I am looking for tangible actions we can take in our everyday lives to bring about change. I would like to invite people out in the Blogsphere to pipe in and give me some ideas.

I am sure some rightwinger or ultra leftist will comment about how worthless these ideas are, but I feel that until we start communicating nothing will change. I want people on the right to know that here on the left are not monsters. We are simply people trying to make the world more bearable. What is it you want? How can we make this happen?


  1. I'm feeling you, bro. I am a mom, with 4 kids from 7 to 19, and I think about this all the time. How do we communicate? Why do we seem to live in two distinct and separate worlds? Given that the overwhelming majority of us are basically decent people and not monsters, why do we have such a difficult time seeing the other guy's point of view?

    I have my own theories, and I think that a liberal or conservative viewpoint is emotionally based and not factually based, considering that the actual facts cannot be altered. But I must admit (being a liberal) that I feel that our way is the healthy, sane way to deal with the world, and my heart breaks when I think of any mother's child being killed - for what? Why don't the people with the beefs kill each other, and not send other people to die? Just call me a nutty, moonbat bleeding-heart liberal.

    Good luck with your blog.

  2. BZ.

    Thank you for the comment on my blog.
    I would love to talk with you more and if you like contribute. I think we may disagree on many things, but the most important thing to remember is that Neil Young Rocks!

  3. Hey Sacromentovoice,

    I would love for you to consider some of the points I brought up and share your thoughts. As an Iraqi vet I think you can bring a lot to the discussion. What are the men and women there on the ground thinking? Do they realize that we, on the left, are not against them; we are simply trying to bring about peace and justice to a people who have had it stolen from them, by our government, for generations.

    I would love to see some ideas that you have that would help us fix our country and get us back on track.

  4. Oh we know how the left feels, we know many of you are looking for any chance to turn this into another Vietnam, we know that you don’t have the stomach to stop tyranny in the world. We know that often times you think it is ok to compare Pres. Bush to Hitler and us to terrorist. I have herd the thank you’s from grateful Iraqis, I have seen the orphaned children, not from a mistake but because the old regime wasn’t happy with there Dad’s. We know when you condescend us with statements like”Do they realize that we, on the left, are not against them; we are simply trying to bring about peace and justice to a people who have had it stolen from them, by our government, for generations.” as if no thought was put into our own actions. so yes I think we know how you feel.
    Oh yes and I have some ideas for putting us back on track.

  5. first two things:
    1 Neil Young Rocks.
    2 Good luck with the baby.

    OK.. it's about grains of barley.. "what?" yes.. every word you write, every idea you explore and every post you make are grains are barley adding up, filling the sack, tipping the scales. Your grain added to mine, added to the next. It matters... what sometimes gets overwhelming and depressing is thinking like one grain, instead of the filled sack. Commit yourself to the long haul. Reaching people who haven't thought about things is key.. We can spar with the right all day... they are the priests of the ruling sect, and their dogma is impenetrable. don't waste your energy trying. (well maybe sometimes just for fun)Provide ways on your site for people to take action. Challenge them to write letters and make calls... to be mighty grains of barley! :) I'm nutty but it's my gig.

  6. I have actually been quite restrained when it comes to my condescension. I am trying to be open and understanding. So my comments were trying to find some common ground from which we can start. I think that you are right we are trying to “turn’ this into Vietnam, because that was a time in US history when a large number of Americans began to understand the lies and violence their government was involved in and they took it to the streets and help stop an unjust war. It would be great if that would happen again today. But with the threat of global terror, that may be a bit harder to come about. We are not saying that the soldiers on the ground have not put any thought into what they are doing. I am sure you and many of your peers actually feel what you are doing is right, but I feel that maybe you are not aware of the history that has come before you, in that or any other region of the world.

    You said you had some ideas to help unite the world, but you did not offer any. Next time that would be great. As for the stomach to stop tyranny, we are living in the belly of the most tyrannical government the world has known. We are engaged in stopping tyranny right here at home. Do you have the stomach to look in the mirror and see that maybe you are the very tyranny you so want to stop?

  7. I can see what you mean about engaging the right and becoming exhausted. I am right there with you left of center. And I also understand your “grain” theory and agree in large part. The thing to consider, however, is that there are more than two sacks. I am trying to find away for us. on the left. to also come together and do something. I look on all of our blogs and see thousands of articles educating each other on what is going on. I think most of us understand the beast we are up against. The global capitalist system with the US in the lead is ruining our planet. Dwindling resources are leading the “first world” into strategic land grabs that are reminiscent of the two world wars. The future is bleak. Iraq is only the beginning. So besides writing our corporate sponsored Senators, what can we do!

    It is funny that I am writing this, because among my friends, I am the eternal optimist. I know that we can only change things piece by piece, and if you read some of my post you will see that I am starting to understand that until we change ourselves and find peace within our own hearts, we have no hope of achieving it globally. I just get frustrated sometimes…okay everyone you heard LOC start to fill this bag of grain and let’s see if we can’t tip a scale or two.

  8. Simply: How can these people in the government here, ever talk about (and people believe) that they want to help the World, when they obviously don't want to help their own people in the US?
    Jobs, Schools, the Arts (they started after this awhile back. Surely don't want any creative thinkers).
    Big business is the protocol for our government, and if there's anyway to turn the tide for this one, it looks as if it it'll take some doing ; (

  9. Well, this ignorant right-winger sympathizes with your sentiments, which obviously spring from a healthy instinct, and bids you fair welcome to the world of parenthood. You can check out my rants over at "Lose the Noose;" I have chosen them as my approbatory outlet on the liberal side.

    You appear to be engaged in a process of maturation common to many who are preparing to leave their "tweens" behind and enter full adulthood. Your reflections on fatherhood/motherhood and masculine/feminine are a natural consequence of that. To see masculinity as "emotionally weak, insecure, afraid and jealous of the feminine strength" is the universal reaction of those emerging from youth, where the unquestioning provision of love, affirmation, and care from a mother has been the most dominant theme. It has been said with some justice that girls grow naturally into women, while boys must learn how to be men. It is certainly true in our culture that women have a much more acceptable and politically-encouraged role than men do. This is not going to change anytime soon.

    The one bit of advice I give to first-time dads is this: do not try to be another mom. It doesn't work. Kids can tell Mommy from Daddy right away. The principal thing your kid/s will expect from you in childhood is to be the Old Reliable. Kids expect consistency from Dad above all things. Talk little, do much--quiet Dads are the most fondly remembered. They like it when you keep your chair in the same place (and "Dad's chair" is a powerful thing: if you don't have one, get one and establish it immediately, and Mom is NOT to use it), when you always read your favourite paper and watch your favourite game, when you always grill the burgers (or the tofu or whatever)--even if you always burn them--when you always mow the lawn on Saturdays, when you always take them on the same summer trip to Camp Ni-Tas-Ket (they will always complain, but they will love you, and you will josh them along), and when you always make the same lame joke about some recurring family topic. Establish some "Dad things" and stick to them without fail. With any luck at all they will come to take you for granted. Mom is a source of security for them, but YOU are Mom's source of security; love their Mom. This is the most vital thing.

    Your role will be a relatively minor one until they reach adolescence. Thereafter your role will increase in importance for the rest of their lives, while Mom's will fade away into an afterglow that will be adequately served by cards and flowers at the appropriate holidays. Even when they are in their fifties and you in your eighties, or whatever, you will be significant to them in a way that Mom no longer is. You will be very wise if you start building for that now.

    Best of luck to you and yours from your Catholic rabbi, whose own 'blog a thoughtful person such as yourself is always invited to check out.

  10. As I Dad of three young booys and a full time parent (works from home and cares for kids) I can agree with all the good advice you've gotten. Also, it's not just about the child.. take care of mom too, she's been through alot. :)

  11. “we are living in the belly of the most tyrannical government the world has known.”
    Are you serious? More so then Po pot’s, more so then Mao’s, more so then Taliban”s, more so then Hitler’s?
    I think the main deference between us, is that I over all feel that we live in the greatest country the world has ever seen and you feel it is the worst.
    As for you saying that I said I had some ideas to help the world unite, when did I say this? I believe what I said was I have some ideas to fix this country.
    Oh yes and your Memorial Day post was amazing, I loved the part where you called the marines murderers, then the criminal Investigation not been completed.

  12. Thank you podvizhnik, for the great post, now i guess i should go buy a chair.

  13. We need to Elect people that will actually do what we voted them to do, not what they want to do. This has been going on for too many years, yet, with the decline in people voting (why?) the people that get elected, are paid, by others, not us, since the one with the most money spent, almost always gets into office. Why this came to be, and to
    be accepted has been beyond me. Also, forget labels, right, left, repub, dem, black, white, in the scheme of things that really doesn't matter. Cut and Run, WMD, soundbites is all this President can seem to spew, over and over and over again, in hope we believe it. More and more will come out about this War, unfortunately, even though many are there believing there's a cause, they too are coming back without arms, legs, not being able to sleep (just ask any War Vet what it's like when they get home) it's all embedded in their brain, and it doesn't go away. Is this what we want for these young people.
    What about the schools here, minimum wage, health care, etc, etc, etc. Oh wait, if we keep hearing about the terrorists (remember Russia is coming in the 50s & 60s)....more Brain Drain from those manipulating or trying to.
    Debate, not on your life, but lets take away pensions you work for to help these big companies go Bankrupt? What's this all about.
    Anyway, onward and upward, let's hope people will finally have enough and get rid of all the representatives who've made a lifes job hanging out in Wash. DC taking money and getting further ahead, at our expense ; (

  14. bz, this is the only country in the history of the world founded upon the belief that humans have inherent, inalienable rights--not rights ordained by god or government.

    true, the executive branch of the federal govt has grown to the point where it threatens to suffocate us in our boardrooms and bedrooms, but we also have the freedom to enact changes for the betterment of everyone, which is what i think you're getting at with the post.

    i reject the idea that the political sphere can be neatly divided into "conservatives" and "liberals," and the notion that members of each group can be stereotyped--i know plenty of conservatives against the war, and a few self-descibed liberals who are for it.

    it's not that we don't all share the same goals--it's that we disagree on how to get there.

    and i think it boils down to different concepts of "society."

    there are utilitarians who favor the collective, and formalists who favor the rights of the individual. both outlooks exist in each major political party (i think of the christian right as the utilitarians and the economic conservatives as the formalists; social justice advocates as the utilitarians, ACLU-ers as the formalists in the Dems).

    you give yourself away when you talk about "a world that isn’t built on the backs of others." explain to me how else a world is built. and please don't point me to russia right after the bolshevik revolution.

    the far left cries about the "tyranny" of our government, yet points to solutions that call for more government!

    muse is right--we need to knock out as many incumbents as possible, but i'd go further.

    localize and privatize. people will take responsibility.

    do you think if the people who were adversely affected by the failure of the levees in New Orleans had been in charge of keeping them up, that they would have failed? of course not.

    and localizing is also how we get people from different backgrounds to work together on a problem without the big, sticky national issues coming into play.

  15. My goal is the move people away from the fake good old boys club "opposition party" called the Democrats and into a real opposition that wants real change the Green Party. I have to say I have far more luck recruiting members in person than in the blog land. But anyway here is my bloghttp://progressivesagainstdemocrats.blogspot.com .

    And remember this-children should not play with toys made by the slave labor of other children.

  16. The problem with the left is that it is very fragmented, more so then the right. I think it is an excellant idea to try and unite the left leaning side but the common ground frustratingly is just not there and the right always seem to have the more aggressive, louder voices which attracts the attention.
    The Iraq War was a huge rallying point for the left but the numbers we attracted filtered away to the numerous factions. To be succesful, we need to find a way to unite the left and bring in everyone from the Communists, anti capitalists, Socialists through to the Marxists. No easy task, i have been trying all my career. I really hope you have more success.

  17. Wow! So this is what it feels like when people actually read and comment on a post. Since the beginning of my blog, I have been quietly typing my thoughts in obscurity frustrated that I had no readership, and now that I have a tiny one, I feel a bit overwhelmed. I am starting to learn, however, that it may not always be possible to respond to all comments made. And in the longer run that may not even be necessary. So I want to thank those of you who have contributed and hope that you will be back.

    I was discouraged, however, to see that the name-calling and mudslinging has come early. But very few people actually responded to the question I raised. I said: I am not sure how much blogging back and forth from the right and left will do. At best, it feels like empty words or preaching to the choir, at worst it is name-calling and a waste of time. I am looking for some concrete action that can help educate people, so we can close the rifts that separate us and bring about a world that will function on the basic beliefs of freedom, justice and liberty for all.

    So while I appreciate your emotion and anger, sacvoice, remember we are trying to find solutions not simply say, “I’m right. Your wrong.” I am not sure if you read my Memorial Day post carefully enough.

    As for podvizhnik,

    I think I may be to blame for creating a dichotomous rift in parenting based on gender and sex. I was simply trying to show the strengths of my own two parents and give them something to reflect on. I actually believe in the blurring of gender roles when it comes to parenting. So, I don’t think I will be raising my child from a chair as mother prepares the dinner, and I stoically sit being dad. I want to engage my kids and be both mom and dad to them, as I hope my wife will do the same. But, thanks for your advice anyway.

  18. What's up, bz. Blogging is either vanity, narcissism, intellectual masturbation, or simply a vain act of desperation to spew forth the mental diarrhea and inanity of our mundane existence. I personally seek no active dialogue with left or right, liberal or conservative. All sides have their flaws and all sides have their pathetic moments, both in written discourse and in practice. As I've stated before, I don't give a fuck who or what you are. Politics is corrupt bullshit, its perpetrators are malicious, and its followers are liars. I am all about the transcendent and the connection. I'm all about the struggle to get there. It's the battle and the experience which is most important; its the greatest teacher of them all, moreso than any petty sociological or political ideology thought up in the minds of man. You'll find more truth in art and culture than you ever will in trying to dialogue with the egos of cretins.

  19. Correction:

    Neil Young (electric)w/ Crazy Horse ROCKS!

    Neil Young (acoustic) Rules!

  20. Hi BZ,

    I'll add you to my blogroll. I'm a Wobbly. It's possible for any wage-slave to join the One Big Union, no matter what their specific politics are, as long the person agrees with the principles embodied in the Preamble to the I.W.W. Constitution.

    For the OBU,
    Mike B)

  21. "I am not sure how much blogging back and forth from the right and left will do. At best, it feels like empty words or preaching to the choir, at worst it is name-calling and a waste of time. I am looking for some concrete action that can help educate people, so we can close the rifts that separate us and bring about a world that will function on the basic beliefs of freedom, justice and liberty for all."

    Hi BZ, and welcome to the blogworld. Your concerns about blogging point out what's good, and what's bad, about blogging. First, because of the tremendous anonymity in the electronic world people feel it is just fine to ignore the simple dignity of good manners. So, name calling ensues. Second, people tend to flock toward blogs that they agree with, so yes, there is a lot of preaching to the choir.

    For me, living in an area with a lot of blue collar Republicans, I have found it a wonderful way to find my voice. I've found like minded people, and it has re-energized me. I'm not afraid to speak the truth any longer, and because of my blog-sisters and brothers, I am able to speak the truth out in the flesh and blood world.

    But you ask about concrete solutions: there is a spiritual principal that you go first. It is wrong to wait for others to effect change, and change needs to come in a decent, effective manner. Get involved in a local campaign for someone you believe in. Recycle. Write your elected Representatives, again and again and again. And speak the truth over and over and over again.

    As for the child you and your wife are expecting -- this changes your world forever, and it is amazing. Congratulations, in advance.

    A blog you might like is Dharma Bums, it's on my blog roll.

  22. yes as for the joining of the roles, will you be breast feeding her from your own nip?