October 3, 2008

Unity

My last post has had me thinking, did I really advocate talking to Republicans and trying to understand where they are coming from? I think I did. In addition to my own deliberation, two people have left some comments that I would like to address here in a new post, rather than in the comment section. Before I do, let me try to condense my point into a more manageable thesis:

The battle lines that have been drawn in America should not be between red state vs. blue state, or liberal vs. conservative, religious vs. atheists, insert any volatile dichotomous pairing here. The battle should be based on class interests. The fight that we should be fighting is between us, the 99% of Americans who generate the wealth in this country- the people who fight the wars, bailout the CEOs, collect the trash, and teach the children. We are rural and urban, black and white, gay and straight, educated and illiterate, we attend churches, mosques, and Zen centers. We should not be fighting amongst ourselves.

So who should we be fighting? To whom should we direct our wrath? That 1% of people who make up the ruling class. The people who just stole $700 billion dollars form our pockets, the people who orchestrated the Iraqi war to line their pockets with oil money and established control of the Middle East, the people who manipulate our media to make it seem like Joe-Six is angry with liberal boogey man, or vice versa. But the reality is that the single mom hooked on crack in Baltimore has more in common with the single mom working at Wal-Mart in any town USA. The same force that is keeping them apart is keeping them down.

This force is not some ambiguous, conspiracy theory. So what is this force? We all know it is naive to lump all of America’s problems on the lap of “The Man.” This force, this ruling class to whom I refer are the people, they only make up about 1% of the population who have access to the capital. Take a look at your news they are currently running away with your money. They own the banks, huge media corporations, defense industries, agri-business giants, and pharmaceutical companies. Take a look at the fortune 500 top companies and you will find the culprits.

The men and women who profit from these companies are the same ones who are destroying our nation and the world at large. Joe Six pack is just another cog in their machine as are we. Until we join forces, we will be at each other’s throats for another century.

The point of my post is that the political machine is manipulating the left just as much as the right- worldwide! We need to look past brazen attempts to make heartland Americans the enemy, and realize who is truly attacking our rights.

Deanna made some great points:
I can't really claim to celebrate diversity if I'm only celebrating people who are just like me.
It is hard to understand our adversaries especially when a third party is constantly pitting us against each other. It is to the ruling classes’ advantage that the myth of Red state Blue state goes on forever. They are hoping that neither side will muster up enough energy to fight our true enemy. If I am a republican conservative losing my farm in Iowa, it is much easier to blame some liberal conspiracy and big government. If I am a liberal teacher, it is much easer to blame the crumbling school system on the loss of my candidate because of the ignorance of country yokes, who admire Sarah Palin, but the reality is that the same agri-business interest that are sweeping up farms in the heartland, have their hands in the educational system, and the justice system. The entire system. As corporate interests take over our government it is up to the American people to join together and reclaim what is ours.

This bailout is a test of sorts. I am sure the House will pass this bill and spin it as a heaven sent prize for the average American, when in reality it will be one of the biggest heists in American history. How the American people, both red and blue state citizens react, will be litmus tests for the future.

Deanna goes on to say, and I agree:
We are really coming from the same place.

He and I are both operating from a place of deep deep sadness and fear about the state of our world. And we even have common ground in our beliefs about what it would take to fix it. We both believe that a connection to spirituality, a belief in ethics and morals, and a strong sense of family and community are what's missing.
This disconnect is not an accident. This sense of alienation is the ruling classes’ way of keeping us divided and at each other’s throats so we cannot organize based on our shared class interests. Instead we bicker on hot topic issues that have nothing to do with our day-to-day lives.
We've become disconnected from our support systems and that makes us vulnerable to manipulation from governments and entities that do not have our best interests at heart.
Exactly what I have been trying to say!
It was eye-opening, and heart-opening, to realize that even this ultra-conservative old middle-class white guy and I have much more common ground than difference. That seems important somehow.
My question is how can we have more of these interactions? How can we invite opposing groups to come to town hall meetings and simply try to communicate- not about gay marriage or religion, or even war, but about everyday problems that we share like the loss of the wealth we generate to 1% of our population, or the affects of globalization and privatization on our communities, the rise of agri-business and the affects on our rural infrastructure. We need to be discussing class-based issues!

More Deanna:
So to give my answer to betmo's question, why would you want to understand someone who is bent on destroying the american way of life? Because in understanding is your only chance of averting it.
As for Betmo’s comments, I really appreciate your anger and frustration, but it is important to remember that change, healthy meaningful change will never stem from anger. When you say things like,
a large chunk of them want to take away civil liberties from everyone in order to maintain their fragile facade of a fearful life.

Or

they have no right in a free society.
You are simply playing in to the hands of the ruling class. We need to be able to collectively pull ourselves out from the orbits that the ruling class has put us on and join forces to see how we are being controlled.

I am not sure how we do this, so I am all ears if you have any ideas. I hope some conservatives are reading this and can join the conversation.

4 comments:

  1. you say 'should'- we should be taking on the corporate interests and we 'should' be taking on the wealthy class- and dividing on class lines. and i agree- because i am able to think critically. bz- the people i don't choose to understand aren't interested in critical thinking skills. they aren't interested in getting to know my point of view. they are interested in someone to focus their anger on. something tangible to hate or be against- hence the 'war on liberals', the 'war on muslims', the war on pretty much everything. when you have at least 25% of americans (and probably more) who are 'at war' with the other half- i am not going to apologize for defending myself. we didn't create this environment- and as much as i would agree with you at probably any other time- i won't now. it isn't just about dueling ideologies- it is about neo cons and wanting unconditional power and their minions helping them in the fight. this isn't about a simple election- it's much bigger. if you listened to palin speak last night- mccain isn't going to differ from bushco- in fact, she wants to expand her vice presidential powers. and a woman interviewed after said she would definitely vote for mccain/palin because palin seemed 'real.'

    why would i choose to understand that? america is on the brink and these folks don't get it. many on the left don't get it either. we cannot sit around singing 'kumbaya' and talking about our differences in peace and love. even the monks in burma got that. if it was about a simple election, i probably would be on board- but what is there to understand? that these people fear change? we all do. that there is something in their makeup that causes them to follow authoritarian leadership blindly? then, they shouldn't be in charge. that they long for simpler times without so much turmoil? we all do. i get it- but in understanding the underlying issues- i also understand that there comes a time in life where you have to draw a line and defend it. now is that time. as much as i am loathe to say this- i will anyway- we have 2 choices in november: we can vote for 8 more years of bushco and see this country and the world swirl down the toilet; or we can vote for 2 people who we don't agree on entirely and probably are in lobbyist pockets on some level but who grasp the serious nature of the issues and will at least not lead us off the cliff. not a great choice for sure- but even ralph nader knows he hasn't got a shot.

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  2. I had a roommate once who was studying neuro-linguistic programming (NLP). I think the line analogy I'm about to share came from her studies.

    Anyway, we Americans tend to see things in a very binary way. Black/white, love/hate, male/female, etc. So let's say you take two opposites and draw a line between them. You've got love on one side, hate on the other. We tend to operate as if this was a realistic demonstration of the way the world works, but it doesn't really.

    If you take the two endpoints of your line, and wrap the line into a circle, you've got love and hate right next to each other, adjoining points in a circle. I feel like that's the same picture you're trying to draw with liberal and conservative. And then, way over on the other side of the circle is all the really really rich people.

    But here's the trick. Any time you define another point, you've defined another straight line. So now you've got a line between all of us regular people over here, and the 1% "Others" over there. And that's not how the world really works. Take that line and wrap it into a circle and you discover that really really rich people are pretty much just like us also. They have families and kids and cuddle with their dogs and they want what's best and they have deep deep sadness and fear about the state of our world.

    As long as we continue to see anyone as the monstrous "Others" that we must wage war upon, we all lose.

    I agree that there is a machine that needs to be stopped, but it isn't run by the individuals involved in it. Take a look at Emergence Theory. At some point, an entity (like a corporation, or an anthill, or a government) begins acting in its own self-interest, regardless of the interests of the individuals that make it up. The people who protest against it, and vote in it, and fight it, and work for it, all make up the greater structure that allows the system to run. The only way to not participate in it is to not participate in it, with your love or your hate.

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  3. Reading back through your entry again, I was struck by this quote,


    "it is important to remember that change, healthy meaningful change will never stem from anger"

    which I thought I would quote back to you with a smile and a friendly nudge.

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  4. My mind works like a pendulam. One day I can say one thing and the next I will argue the opposite. This thread has done wonders for my thinking. Thank you Deanna for helping me stay grounded and remember what is important. Again, let me address some points.

    Let’s start with Betmo:

    @Betmo the people i don't choose to understand aren't interested in critical thinking skills. they aren't interested in getting to know my point of view. they are interested in someone to focus their anger on. something tangible to hate or be against- hence the 'war on liberals', the 'war on muslims', the war on pretty much everything. when you have at least 25% of americans (and probably more) who are 'at war' with the other half-

    What I have been trying to distinguish between in my last few posts is that there is a difference between the neo-cons who make up the ruling class and their “minions.”

    I feel that the first are controlling the latter to do their bidding. I find it frustrating that we vent our anger on the people who are victims of a system that has subdued them and forced them to be ignorant and trapped. Why do they lack critical thinking skills? Why are they bent on a war on everything? Let’s for a second not call them republicans, or Americans, let’s just see them as confused and deluded human beings who suffer at the hands of their own ignorance, what can we do next?

    we didn't create this environment- and as much as i would agree with you at probably any other time- i won't now. it isn't just about dueling ideologies- it is about neo cons and wanting unconditional power and their minions helping them in the fight. this isn't about a simple election- it's much bigger.

    Sure, I agree, but if that is the way you think this election will not fix the problem. The neo-cons will simply work behind the scenes, building their base, feeding their minions more lies. Our future lies in uniting Americans not on ideology, but on grassroots activism. Nothing short of a cultural revolution will save the empire from collapse, and even that will come too late.

    we cannot sit around singing 'kumbaya' and talking about our differences in peace and love.


    I kind of resent this last comment. I never said that we need lovefest; I simply said our tactics need adjustment, and that we need to redefine our enemies.

    what is there to understand? that these people fear change? we all do. that there is something in their makeup that causes them to follow authoritarian leadership blindly?

    Yes. We need to figure out what that is. What is it that makes them so afraid? What is it that forces them to simply follow like sheep? It would behoove us to look at the Nazi’s. I think America is a fascist nation not too far beneath the surface. So how to we cure that, not fight it.

    i also understand that there comes a time in life where you have to draw a line and defend it. now is that time.

    I agree, but I haven’t lost hope in humanity just quite yet. We have tried hard enough yet. We have simply allowed the power structure tell us to trust and who to hate. American’s have not taken politics into their hands for far to long. We have forget what it means to live in a democracy. We have allowed ourselves to fall asleep, and whilst we slept our nation has been stolen out from under our noses.

    Now unto Deanna’s comment:

    If you take the two endpoints of your line, and wrap the line into a circle, you've got love and hate right next to each other, adjoining points in a circle. I feel like that's the same picture you're trying to draw with liberal and conservative. And then, way over on the other side of the circle is all the really really rich people.

    But here's the trick. Any time you define another point, you've defined another straight line. So now you've got a line between all of us regular people over here, and the 1% "Others" over there. And that's not how the world really works. Take that line and wrap it into a circle and you discover that really really rich people are pretty much just like us also. They have families and kids and cuddle with their dogs and they want what's best and they have deep deep sadness and fear about the state of our world.

    As long as we continue to see anyone as the monstrous "Others" that we must wage war upon, we all lose.


    These last three paragraphs have really awoken something in me, and I really appreciate you bringing these thoughts to my attention. I will let them stew for a bit longer, before I comment, but I would love to create a visual of these circles. Great job. Thank you. You are right.

    I love this:

    I agree that there is a machine that needs to be stopped, but it isn't run by the individuals involved in it. Take a look at Emergence Theory. At some point, an entity (like a corporation, or an anthill, or a government) begins acting in its own self-interest, regardless of the interests of the individuals that make it up. The people who protest against it, and vote in it, and fight it, and work for it, all make up the greater structure that allows the system to run.

    Somewhere in this line is the answer:

    The only way to not participate in it is to not participate in it, with your love or your hate.

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