How far have we fallen?

T.A. Barnhart

Tonight, at the Bus Project, I received a vicious threat by an irate man while phoning his son to vote. "If you ever call again," he shouted, "I will blow your ass away". Whether he would ever do exactly that, he was deadly serious. And to say that I am shaken is an understatement.

I don't do all this political stuff because I believe I am the holder of Truth. I don't do it because I think I know better than the poor, misled fools out there. I don't do it because I'm bored, or self-righteous. I do it because I think that together, we can make our communities, our country and our world better. I have two children I love dearly, a brand new granddaughter, and a ton of people I care about with all my heart. I want them to enjoy a good life; I want their children — all the children — to have long, happy lives. And I believe that politics is one of the necessary means for making that better world.

I also believe that the beliefs of other people are as legitimate as mine. I may disagree with them; but if they are sincere, if they are seeking, like me, to make a better world, then I believe we are on the same democratic page. Our values and goals may differ, but that's what politics should be about: a community of people working together to learn how they can live together in peace and mutual prosperity despite their differences.

This is not a value universally shared.

In many parts of the world, we would not be doing the things we do at the close of this election: going door-to-door, phone calls, face-to-face attempts to convince and persuade. In many parts of the world, we would keep our silence to keep our lives. We would accept fear and violence as the norm; stepping outside of our pre-determined place in the society would be an invitation of an invisible death.

But not in America, goddammit. That is not how we do elections, not in this country. It's those crazy Serbs and Croats that slaughter each other, the Irish and Arabs and all the rest. We don't do that, not in the United States. We are a nation of laws, after all. We have a constitution that millions of our forebears fought to defend, that thousands died to preserve. In America, we may hate one another, we may shout at one another, revile one another on radio and tv, but that's as far as it goes. It's "those people" who kill for politics, in Central America and all those other countries where they don't respect law.

Tell that to the family of Dr George Tiller. Tell that to the people of Oklahoma City.

Yes, I know this was just one pissed-off man hollering at some stranger on the phone. But he didn't say he'd kick my ass; he said he would blow my ass away. Blow. My Ass. Away.

Or will it be the next person to knock on the door trying go get another vote? Perhaps a census worker, or some poor guy trying to make a buck selling some crappy product door-to-door? Who knows? This man crossed the line, not merely being rude and hostile — I've had plenty of that, not just in politics but in retail and tech support — but using words that likely constitute felonious assault. Did he mean it? Would he actually do it?

I have no intention of finding out. I'm setting the law on his unAmerican ass. I think of my son in Iraq, a place our country has no business being and yet he is willing to go and do his duty for that country, to risk his life for his buddies, to his job — and this guy thinks he can get away with that kind of threat because I'd like his son to cast a ballot — a ballot he casts in freedom and privacy because countless thousands of Americans have shed their blood to protect that privacy? I don't think so.

I try not to be melodramatic. I do carry a fair bit of fear inside these days, and will until the Guard deployment ends, but I'm pretty level-headed about the nonsense that goes on around me. My biggest concern regarding my life and safety is not "bad guys" but the cars surrounding my bike on Portland's streets. This is different. This is so far beyond acceptable, and I hate to consider what I know to be the awful truth:

This man is not alone.

For so many different reasons, people are full of rage. It may be a damn miracle that murder rates are actually going down given how fearful, frustrated and angry so many people are. But scattered among the 300-plus million of us are guys like the one I spoke with, on the brink of going over the edge. I am afraid, I will admit, to report him in the morning; I do not know that he will not react badly to being arrested — which I fully expect him to be. I guess I should post this anonymously, or not at all; I shouldn't give some guy the chance to find out who turned him in.

But I have a responsibility to do two things. I have to turn him in, and I have to tell you about it. Not for the story, but for what must come next. And that is something I am trying to do through politics, and what I often fail to do through my own humanness: Create a society based on respect and care for one another. I want everyone who reads this to understand the real point: not that there are people who are violent, that we might find ourselves in danger at some point. No, that's just the basic condition of living in the world. Ask a sardine out in the ocean.

The real point is that we have to do better, all of us. Bad-mouthing "them" — whoever they are — has to stop. Rush and Beck and O'Reilly and Cheney and all the rest: yes, we believe their political views are repugnant, we are dismayed at the effect they are having on society; but calling them names, talking about how deranged they are or using personal slurs — it has to stop. The Tea Partiers: they aren't fools, they aren't brownshirts, they aren't whatever your favorite phrase for them is. They are Americans with very little in common with progressive, liberal Oregonians. We must begin to view tham as fellow citizens and seek to show them respect we may not feel they have earned, not because they deserve our better nature but because our country requires that we heed and obey our better nature.

James Madison, in Federalist Paper No. 10, wrote:

AMONG the numerous advantages promised by a wellconstructed Union, none deserves to be more accurately developed than its tendency to break and control the violence of faction. The friend of popular governments never finds himself so much alarmed for their character and fate, as when he contemplates their propensity to this dangerous vice. He will not fail, therefore, to set a due value on any plan which, without violating the principles to which he is attached, provides a proper cure for it. The instability, injustice, and confusion introduced into the public councils, have, in truth, been the mortal diseases under which popular governments have everywhere perished; as they continue to be the favorite and fruitful topics from which the adversaries to liberty derive their most specious declamations.

I have always read the word "violence" in that first sentence as meaning a form of anger or strong, fervent belief, perhaps to the point of refusing to get along nicely with others. How naive. Madison, having watched his country barely survive a war of revolution at great price, meant nothing so sweet. He was writing of the willingness of people, gathered in factions, to attack and kill one another. Divisions among people bring "instability, injustice, and confusion introduced into the public councils" — and can anything more accurately describe our current political situation? These are, he wrote, "mortal diseases", and he could see no way to remove the causes of faction other than ending liberty and reason — a path he was not willing to pursue.

Madison, and many of the other Founders, saw in the division of governmental powers and the size of the nation itself the answers to faction they sought. "In the extent and proper structure of the Union, therefore, we behold a republican remedy for the diseases most incident to republican government." In the creation of the uniquely American form of government that was the new Constitution, Madison saw his nascent country have within its grasp the possibility of surviving the "influence of factious leaders" and "the mischiefs of faction".

What's critical to recognize, at this point in our nation's history, is not our constitutional or republican form of government; it's that the citizens of the young United States respected one another sufficiently to conduct both a dialog regarding the formation of a new government and a peaceful "contest" to decide the outcome of an experiment we continue to conduct to this day. We have often failed in both the attempts at respect and peace, but somehow, we find ourselves pulled inexorably back in those directions. It's as if the American spirit refuses to give into the lesser angels demanding the selfish gratification of violence and destruction.

But that spirit is failing us today. We are not even listening to each other. Today, I wrote a comment without even double-checking my facts, which led another person to a bit of name-calling; a double-shot of disrespect I am glad to say for which with both apologized. But that's how easy it is for this to begin when we release our grip on the best of what it means to be an American: respect for the law, and respect for our fellow citizens.

I can honestly say I do try to practice a politics of respect, and quite clearly, I am going to apply myself to that practice even more diligently. I know I am surrounded by Oregonians and other Americans who also seek to live their politics in that manner. But we all know how often we give into the temptation to demonize, to mock, to belittle. It has to end, in all manifestations, or we know the outcome. It will be more George Tillers, more Oklahoma Cities.

It will be Serbia or Northern Ireland emerging on our continent.

We are not a special people on this planet, but we have a special opportunity because of our history and of the brilliance of the Founders in cobbling together our Constitution. There is nothing in our make-up as humans or citizens to prevent us from succumbing to "the mortal diseases under which popular governments have everywhere perished". We have to improve our treatment of one another. Practicing a politics of respect is the one thing we can do that will determine whether this nation moves forward in a progressive, mutually beneficial manner — or sinks under the weight of humanity's inhumane history.

I don't know why that man was so angry he was willing to shout what he did into the phone in front of his children (and christ, the rant that probably followed). Has he been out-of-work for months, close to foreclosure, appalled at the babykillers and faggots, disgusted with the way the liberals are taxing him and other hard-working patriots half-to-death? I hope I never know; I want as little future knowledge of that man as possible. But I will never forget him. He will be every stranger I meet, every call I make on behalf of a candidate or campaign. But I won't see him in fear; I'll see him as a challenge for me to speak and listen with respect, whatever his beliefs, whatever his attitudes towards me.

We must all do better, but I have control over only one of us: me. I hope I can do that. I hope we all do. Because if not, there is nothing in our Constitution to guarantee that truly horrible things won't happen. Only when we choose to live under the spirit of the law with respect for our fellow citizens will we be able to progress from the "mischiefs of faction" to a "wellconstructed Union".

  • darth spadea (unverified)

    Only when we choose to live under the spirit of the law with respect for our fellow citizens will we be able to progress from the "mischiefs of faction" to a "wellconstructed Union".

    Oh, please! You guys have spent close to a year now calling us "teabaggers" and snickering while looking down on us from high up on your cloud of Smug. And you are surprised that some people don't love you!

    Over 20 years ago when I was high school age I worked a series of phone jobs. I got responses like that every day. I just hung up and moved on.

    Grow a pair already.....

  • Malle Kalle (unverified)

    "I want as little future knowledge of that man as possible." Well said!

  • extramsg (unverified)

    Good for you. I hope you mean it and I hope people join in your commitment. I've been dismayed by what I see as hypocrisy in Portland. I always believed that liberalism was the ideology of tolerance. But I don't see much more political tolerance in Portland than in Texas. They just tolerate different people -- the people they agree with.

    eg, recently I saw people promising to stop their subscriptions to The Oregonian because they disagreed with an editorial on 66/67. Same day, I saw someone via Twitter say they were never going into a local restaurant again because they owner said she was against 66/67. Ugliest example I saw here was a person online who asked if there was a directory of Christian-owned businesses so they knew who to avoid.

    What kind of world would that lead to? A society and economy segregated on religious & political passions? How is that different from people in the south who agree to avoid black-owned businesses or Jewish businesses? How is it different from the blacklist of the McCarthy era? I grew up despising that sort of action. It shocked me to encounter it here in Portland and soured me to "progressive" politics.

    And beyond just the morality of it, it seems to be counter-productive. You can't convince people that you won't talk to, won't live with, won't work with, won't buy from, etc. You'll just further distance these people you disagree with and increase antipathy for your beliefs.

    I think if you take your thesis seriously, you'll find that the liberal Oregonian has a lot more in common with the right-wing tea partier than you think -- maybe not in what policies you think are best for the country, but at least the end result of the policies: a better society, a better America, a better Oregon.

  • Abby Norml (unverified)

    So, would you have sex with someone that had just been raped, like nothing had happened? On the "robocall" post, I think a lot of people made it obvious how violated they feel by the abuses of telemarketing. Many, many people are deeply offended by it. And why shouldn't they be? Were you prepared to change your opinion? But you expected the callee to. How do you react to a salesman that shakes his head when you don't buy his pitch and says, "you just don't get it", because you didn't immediately buy his product? All the way back to Xmas, on Steve Novick's "dinner" post, people were saying that it's not just another tool. Everyone here knew too much to listen, tho.

    Your intentions may be 24 carat, but it's pretty insensitive to make cold marketing calls and think that you will be judged on your merit. You're right about the tone. I suggest starting with Democrats not copying every last stupid thing that Republicans and marketers do because you think you have to to compete.

    How about starting with the insulting google ads at the top of this page? Google is building the great firewall of China. I don't want to see an ad for trophy bass while I'm reading an article on conservation. I don't want to be prompted to "say no to Obamacare" while I'm reading about health care reform. I don't want to see another insurance scam while I'm reading about how the banks and insurance industry are giving it to us up the butt. What is the revenue for, anyway? How sleazy is it to raise money for Democrats under the guise of debating conservatives?

    You don't have to do any of this marketing crap. If you continue to, people will naturally assume that you do it because you want to. That is what they will base their opinions on, not your political label or sense of righteousness.

    We have to improve our treatment of one another

    Anyone ready to have fewer children? Then dream about it.

  • Abby Norml (unverified)

    . Ugliest example I saw here was a person online who asked if there was a directory of Christian-owned businesses so they knew who to avoid.

    Yeah, let's ignore that Christians are repressing millions, preaching a gospel that will lead to the destruction of the environment, fostering overpopulation, engaged in a holy war with Islam, and have lower IQs than non-religious. None of those is a reason to boycott a business! I want a dumb, superstitious, pro-car, rat mongering intolerant to take my hard earned money!

    I actually agree with t.a. The fly in the ointment is that you have to call shit, shit. That's not a negative tone, it's reality. Name calling for its own sake is stupid, but making the language polite, when the described behavior is not, is creating an environment where the abuses can continue. You become an accomplice.

    Reread extra MSG (come from Richardson?) Hear the "it would be a lot nicer for me if" in the message? Nicer doing what? Spreading Texas values in Oregon? Preach the gospel of humans and business uber alles? That is precisely why we need to turn up the heat. Need to flush those trying to poison the meal out of the kitchen!

    I agree that Portland liberals that won't debate issues, that only talk to you to judge if you position is good enough, are every bit as bad. They are a disgrace to Portland's good name. You can start with OSPIRG and Sam Adams. I can tell you the next time an OSPIRG canvasser knocks on the door and snears at my opinion because I'm "not down with" whatever, he is getting a foot in the nuts. You want civility? Start by whuppin' the crap out of those whose parents think they can raise a kid in this society by asking them to do things nicely, and debating with them when the don't. They didn't love them enough to raise them right, why should I love them more? They see a Reagan speech, get inspired to screw, spend more time on the kid's name than on communicating any values, let them lie everytime they feel inconvenienced, and grow up like a weed, and it's up to me to be more civil? You have got to be kidding me!!! It's up to me to tan their hide, like their parents didn't care enough to do.

  • Cafe Today (unverified)

    Abby, I hope you're not comparing robocalls to rape. Because if you are, that's pretty offensive.

  • Red Cloud (unverified)

    When you have lost the ability to think for yourself because you've let others do that for you, you end up in a world a lot more like that of 30's Germany than the principles upon which this country was founded. I'm forever accused of hyperbole for making this comparison, but too many years delving into this period make it difficult for me to draw any other conclusion.

    The recent Supreme Court decision on money and the first amendment pose a great threat that we will so more shallow, bigoted tea-bagger types than we will see supposedly corrupted elected officials. Perhaps they goes hand in hand, but what we will see primarily is sound-bite ideology leading to narrow-minded politics.

  • ghn (unverified)

    t.a. - you need mental help. You may not be clinically narcissistic, but you have character issues that you put on display in a supremely self-centered way that is sad to witness. Your entire overly long, maudlin post makes it blatantly obvious you are not trying to transcend anything as you try to imply, especially near the end. Your post reeks of just making a show of trying to play the victim, seeking sympathy in the characteristic way of the particular Oregon/Portland liberal political circles you obviously inhabit.

    You may have fooled one or two of the commenters who obviously aren't the shiniest dime in the roll, but make no mistake about this: You and the people like you in those social and political circles you inhabit are a huge negative to whatever causes and candidates you profess you support. (Note to readers: t.a. and that too-large segment of self-centered Oregon/Portland-area liberals t.a. typifies are NOT at all representative of Oregon Democrats, liberals, or whatever label you feel you have to use.)

  • Ricky (unverified)


    Whatever happened with the young man fighting so hard to register voters who was threatened at knifepoint at the MAX station?

  • (Show?)

    Powerful, timely post, TA. Thanks. JG

  • Richard (unverified)

    It appears T.A. has also fallen.

    "Kevin Mannix, purveyor of Measure 11, currently bankrupting our state with out-of-control spending on innumberable prisons? Ross Day? Is Gordly out of her fucking mind? These are people who have spent their career attacking the State of Oregon, specializing in pushing policies and ballot measures that harm her former constituents more than anyone else"

  • Bob Soper (unverified)

    Well said, TA, & never mind the tr0lls. Best wishes for your son to come home soon & safe!

  • Anonymous (unverified)

    TA, if you want to pick one thing you can do differently, try dropping the fake "we" when you mean "they" -- it's patronizing and dishonest.

    So is talking about "children" when the "child" you were calling was at least 18. Such people are called "adults." If you want to grow mutual understanding, you do it by communicating honestly. Would you describe yourself as calling to encourage "children" to vote? A more neutral phrase would have been "his adult children."

    Finally, you claim you want to listen with respect, even though you want as little future knowledge of this man as possible. This really comes across as disingenuous. You're going to listen with respect while wanting to know as little as possible?

    On BO, every non-progressive is assumed to be wrong at all times. On BO, listening with respect is not modeled or practiced. And in this posting, that includes you.

  • dartagnan (unverified)

    "I'm setting the law on his unAmerican ass."

    Good for you. Let us know how it turns out.

    I think the Web and cable TV have a lot to do with our increasing political polarization, intolerance of other people's views and strident rhetoric. When there were relatively few outlets for news and information, those that existed tried to appeal to a broad audience, which meant they had to present a more or less balanced picture. With the advent of cable and, later, the Internet, purveyors of news and information were able to target specific demographic and political niches. Today it's possible for Americans to spend their whole lives inside an ideological bubble, never being exposed to an honest presentation of views that run counter to their own. Since cognitive dissonance is unpleasant, the temptation to seal oneself inside such a bubble is strong. So, paradoxically, the technologies that were supposed to make us more well-informed end up making us less well-informed -- and less open to divergent opinions.

  • Greg D. (unverified)

    Can you imagine the gridlock that would be caused to the telephone and law enforcement systems if every telephone solicitor called the police to report the fact that the receipient of a solicitation call said something mean or nasty or threatening?

    On the rare occasion that any type of solicitation call makes it past my "do not call" registry listing and my caller ID, I cheerfully tell the caller to F+k Off! I don't care whether the caller is representing a corporation, a political party, starving orphans, a church, OPB or whatever. I guess I have always assumed that the jerk calling me at 6:45 pm is smart enough to know that when I tell him to F+k Off, I am not actually suggesting that he engage in any sort of sexual congress with himself or others. Hopefully he won't report me to the sex abuse hotline.

  • Ms Mel Harmon (unverified)

    Honestly, TA, I think you've been unusually lucky if you've never been threatened before while doing political work. Even in Portland and East County, I've had people call me all sorts of vulgar names, scream at me and in at least two instances verbally threaten me.

    In Oklahoma 25 years ago it was worse. My car was keyed, bricks were thrown through my apartment window and I had a guns shown to me on a regular basis in conjuction with "get your liberal ass off my property or else" type of statements.

    Does anyone have a right to threaten another person? No. Does it happen? Sure, especially if you are going unasked onto people's property or cold-calling them. I'm glad you are reporting the man who threatened you...just don't get your hopes up that much will come of it. Maybe it's too many years of doing this or my naturally cynical nature, but I would've just went "asshole" and gone on to the next call.

    I'm curious, so if anything comes of your reporting this, post an update.

  • Zarathustra (unverified)

    Brave to post about it. Do you think he reads BO?

  • JerryB (unverified)

    Death threats are way over the line. Accepting that kind of behavior is promoting that kind of behavior. There should be no hesitation in prosecuting someone for that.

  • mp97303 (unverified)

    Based on some of the comments here, not as far as we are going to.

  • zull (unverified)

    What I can't believe is that there are commenters here who actually are arguing with Barnhart here and siding with someone who made a threat to kill on the phone. Here's a hint...they're proving his point. If you read what the man had to say, you should have gotten the point "we may even hate one another...but that's as far as it goes". That caller jumped right over that line. If a collector called you and threatened to kill you if you didn't pay up, you'd probably be pretty shaken too. That cuts both ways. If you are threatening to kill someone because people in the media have called your beliefs "names" like teabaggers, you have something fundamentally wrong with your brain and you need help immediately before you end up doing something unbelievably stupid.

    I occasionally try and point out to Barnhart that he totally overlooks pedestrians when he goes on rants against drivers (hey, some drivers actually are stuck commuting 30 miles to work because there aren't a lot of jobs around...and they sometimes lose focus and screw up...but I've been clipped by more bicyclists while I'm crossing the street on foot than I have by cars), but he's dead right on this one. If you disagree, donate some time to phone banking, even if it's for your beloved Tea Party, and get some experience being treated like dirt. I've phone banked, and I treat any person donating their time to a cause with respect, even if it's someone calling on behalf of the GOP (though normally, they just run autodialers anyway). Treating those people with respect is what decent people do. Trashing them is a junior high school bully move. The type of bully that has problems and should have learned from his first 5 trips to the principles office, but was too stupid to learn his lesson.

  • Ian McDonald (unverified)


    Sorry about this incident. It sucks.

    I can't tell if you think an incident like this has become more likely in recent years. The word "fallen" in the title seems to suggest that premise. If so, I disagree.

    I also think you're misreading Madison, somewhat. He says you can't eliminate the reality of factions, not just the causes. We got factions, we always will, their presence beats the alternative (which you noted), and the best we can do is manage their size, in relation to all the other factions. And I also think he meant "violence" as literally as you please.

    I'm bothered by this passage:

    it's that the citizens of the young United States respected one another sufficiently to conduct both a dialog regarding the formation of a new government and a peaceful "contest" to decide the outcome of an experiment we continue to conduct to this day.

    To paraphrase Mae West: respect had nothing to do with it. Still doesn't.

  • (Show?)

    Ian, you're right that Madison said we could never remove factions; i agree. however i do think the Constitutional debate was conducted with respect for the opinions of their fellow countrymen (to be precise). not universally, perhaps, but in the main.

    today we barely seem to try. i make an attempt to be respectful in my writings but, as i noted before someone else tried to assist me, i often fall short. respect is about looking at or listening to another human being and deciding their opinions, beliefs, attitudes, practices and lifestyle have the same legitimacy as do your own. nothing in their about agreeing or liking; just legitimacy that compels you to not belittle or attack them. we can confront vigorously those with whom we disagree, and we'll actually have a productive outcome -- as did the Founders -- if our disagreements flow through an attitude of respect.

  • Ian McDonald (unverified)

    TA: I think you are consistently respectful in your writing here, and I admire that. We should all aspire to it.

    I think hatred, contempt, and general vileness defined early American political discourse, not respect as you describe it. Actually, make that early, middle, and late American political discourse. Sure, there are exceptions. But if the American system relied on a uniform expectation of respect, it would have disappeared a long time ago.

    Given a choice, I think most Americans want to see their political opponents destroyed. Maybe not destroyed in the sense they should be "killed". But we want our opponents to disappear. We have created a system that denies the illusion of that choice. I think that's why it survives.

  • Rogerisright (unverified)

    I have encountered more intolerance as a somewhat vocal Portland area conservative Republican than any gay man, black man or woman could ever imagine having to put up with. I have always believed that some of the biggest racists in the world today are members of the so called racial minority what I do know for sure is that the most intolerant people in this state are those that preach the hardest for the tolerance of others. Want to see intolerance in it's ugliest form ...go see Ann Coulter speak at a university. Anti-gay marriage and can explain why? Give it a minute and wait for the chorus of name callers and intolerant lefties trying to shame you into selling out on an important social institution. One of the other posters started to question if it might have been the internet ...cable news or talk radio that has caused all of this intolerance... ??? Huh? In other words could it possibly have been the advent of news and opinion sources not controlled by the main stream liberal media that has caused right wing intolerance. NO! This country asa wole is just right of center all those alternative news sources did was provide a place where the views of the majority of americans could hear viewpoints that most closely matched their own. William F Buckley said it best when he said:" “Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.” The views you see as "intolerant" are actually the same views that a majority of americans have held for a very long time calling them intolerant not only belies your prejudice but it's also intellectually dishonest. Those views are just different from your own. We all tolerate eachother and eachother's views. In the case of things like gay marriage's not the religious right who stands alone on this topic's the majority of americans. Those same people have tolerated gays and their viewpoints for a long longtime ...they also weren't the people who were trying to change an important social institution...the GLBTG (?) would get alot further in their agenda if they would stop being intolerant of the views of others and angrily beating them over the head with their beliefs like they were clubbing a baby harp seal, calling them hater, hijacking the civil rights movement to push their agenda forward. I don't believe intolerant name calling and shouting down those with opposing views is the way for the minority to effectively dictate social norms to the majority. When left wing loonies like algore (aka the "goracle") came to portland to spread his self serving tripe sure you saw demonstrators outside but did you see a group of people intentn on not allowing him to say what he was there to say without interuption ...Nope! Had that been Sean Hannity or Bill O'Reilly or Glen beck can you say the same thing? Nope! charity and tolerance begin at home and it's not a one way street "

  • BlueCapitalist (unverified)

    Zero mercy for telemarketers, political robo-calls, door-to-door carpet cleaners and vinyl window salespersons and any entity which violates the privacy of my home -- no matter how well-intentioned.


  • rw (unverified)

    To be honest, I do not appreciate being called even if you are For what I am For. I prefer to make my own mind up and also drive my own schedule of thought, access, ignorance and tendential capacity.

  • rw (unverified)

    Dear Roger: suffer up. Look at the redsie/bluesie map, and then either move to where it's red, or just get it that this is not your neighborhood. I dislike the adamantine tyrrany of the pedagogue no matter which colour - but it's reality.

    I felt as you do when I lived in Nevada, Oklahoma, and I probably whined about it the way you have here. I'm kinda myopic that way. But the fact is that for a while I LIVED in those states, and then I made a CHOICE - I took my beautiful, bright little boy and made a home where I felt certain his spirit would have a chance to not be stunted or stymied in ways that I felt daily as a woman in a culture that preferred to see the brilliant women hogtied, not speaking...

    In other words: ok, so you live where it's blue. And apparently you live where it is deep midnight blue instead of just slightly periwinkle mixed with red blue.

    Get over it and grow some skin. And be a really really wonderful, articulate and communicative representative of conservatism that we all admire and welcome. :)....

    I probably failed a bit in this regard myself while immured in cardinal country.

  • rw (unverified)

    T.A., when I read your writings I get school on how I sound. Passionate, heartful, and, often, completely wrapped up in my own vision of the world. You are clearly a romantic soul, heart on the sleeve and I feel certain that if I were truly within your circle of care, I would know that I am loved and supported.

    Buuuuuut: your post seems to say that just because your heart is in the right place, we should welcome your calls to help us do our best. And if we don't, we just are not with that loving and caring, believing and sharing program you so truly are.

    I beseech you to allow us curmudgeons, mild or pickled (or vinegary and violent as your communicant of last night was... ) the space in this world to be just as concerned and true as your sweetly blue heart, and still not welcoming of such calls.... I have the same reaction you do when an Okie pronounces the Muzlimz as not valuing life because they have heard them EyeRakees will jump into a grave... well, I do indeed feel beleaugered and put-upon to orient in such a social context. But, yet, I gotta remember that this person probably loves as fiercely as I do, and they sure enough believe like that too!

  • rw (unverified)

    And maybe one more pestering political phone call unrequested pushed him over the exasperated edge. Blue pesters Red, Red pesters Blue and they all are mad and righteous about only meaning hte best and believing all should have their room.

    Dunno. Dunno. Maybe you should give up phone banking if it gets you so het up - I know I get somatically ill when attacked. So I don't do the actdivities that invite it anymore. I choose other means to contribute and so somewhat avoid requesting my buttons be pushed. Just a thought.

    I will quit now. But you got me to thinking about my own stuff here.

  • Zarathustra (unverified)

    Posted by: BlueCapitalist | Jan 26, 2010 11:07:09 PM Zero mercy for telemarketers, political robo-calls, door-to-door carpet cleaners and vinyl window salespersons and any entity which violates the privacy of my home -- no matter how well-intentioned.


    I think you hit the nail on the head, expressing the "anti" camp. I grew up in a Catholic German household, and my mother used to flatly regard a phone call as no different than someone climbing in through the kitchen window. It's a privacy matter. Telcos have marketed the hell out of telecommunications, and there's a bigger camp that thinks they're entitled- hell, you're anti-social if you don't make yourself available- for phone calls. Cells glued to their heads, inevitable babbling on about nothing consequential, oblivious to the fact that they don't work and they aren't phones!

    It's a different mind-set. So, tell me. If someone climbed in through you kitchen window at dinner, would you threaten them?

  • rw (unverified)

    I agree with Zara. I held the line,on the Board of a wonderful non-profit to insist we will NOT assume we can add a web visitor's or event attendee's information to any appeal list we like and take the -centric attitude that contact = permission. It simply does not, so let's not insistently SAY it is as if saying it makes it so.

    I pointed out that we will damage contacts that are precious if we do not put in the effort to ASK if we can contact them in the future with news, funding requests, updates. Thankfully, it was agreed that, given my interest in this, I shall help in the care and feeding of these contacts.

    <h2>I'm willing. It's the price I pay for holding the line against telco style abuse of trust.</h2>

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