Tag Archives: Compromise

In Search of Compromise…

“For man seems to be unable to live without myth, without the belief that the routine and drudgery, the pain and fear of this life have some meaning and goal in the future. At once new myths come into being–political and economic myths with extravagant promises of the best of futures in the present world. These myths give the individual a certain sense of meaning by making him part of a vast social effort, in which he loses something of his own emptiness and loneliness. Yet the very violence of these political religions betrays the anxiety beneath them–for they are but men huddling together and shouting to give themselves courage in the dark.”

Alan M. Watts, The Age of Anxiety, 1951

“…for they are but men huddling together and shouting to give themselves courage in the dark.”

This line broke the wall. The wall that has divided me from expressing anything other than contempt for those that would support a presidential candidate like Donald Trump.

When I envision these folks, frightened…alone…huddled in the dark shouting for courage…I am able to set aside my incredulity, derision, and anger. I am able to feel empathy for my fellow man.

For I too am that man huddling together in the dark with my tribe…holding onto my ethos with a sense of triumphant superiority. And it is at this intersection that I have lost all ability to compromise. To seek consent. To reach out and experience life as another does.

I cannot call on others to share or even respect my point of view until I am willing to understand and embrace the motivation behind theirs. And until we are both willing to take this leap of faith, not only is consent impossible, progress is virtually shut down. The democratic political system becomes mired in gridlock.

Sound familiar? It should. We are experiencing exactly this discord at the present political moment. I challenge you to seek to understand your rival/enemies motivation before you dismiss him out of hand. Seek the motivations behind the rhetoric. Understand that the 300 pound armed gorilla you are arguing with is, fundamentally, a scared little boy screaming in the dark for his mommy. This doesn’t diminish the man. It humanizes him and it empowers YOU to do the right thing. Explore your empathy and seek compromise rather than dissent.

I watched the democratic presidential debate tonight. Up until now, I have been undecided about which candidate I would support. I was enthralled at the political mastery that Sec. Hilary Clinton displayed. There is no doubt in my mind that she is, as she claims, the most experienced candidate/politician to occupy the White House come January. And it is also precisely why I cannot support her. As I’ve previously documented my disappointment with our current President, I’m willing to let faith and hope have another go at it. I’m willing to take a shot on Bernie Sanders. If for no other reason than to support a candidate outside the norm. And yes this is the same ideology leading several of those on the right to support Trump. But let’s be honest. A reality TV star is not the man I want running my country…especially one who plays fast and loose with the truth and appeals to the fears of those huddled in the dark…


The Death of Compromise…


As previously documented in this blog, I own guns and support the rights of gun owners and the second amendment.

But I’d like to think I’m willing to compromise. For example, if you can guarantee me that ALL guns will magically be removed from the hands of criminals and mentally ill in this country, I’d be willing to consider surrendering my guns.

I also feverishly support stringent background checks and waiting periods for purchasing weapons.

I’m also a (former) reader of Guns & Ammo magazine, and I particularly enjoyed the last page musings of Dick Metcalf. His insights on guns and the gun culture always seemed measured and reasonable.

So of course he was fired.

His termination brilliantly exposes the current state of the “gun culture” and the power of the NRA in this country.

Draw the line and don’t budge. Be afraid. Fight to the finish.

And die doing so…

I simply can’t believe that the majority of Americans will ultimately buy into the crap the NRA spews these days. And I suspect that in light of increasingly tragic school shootings, at some point the NRA will implode under the weight of their own fear and bigotry.

I hope.

This issue…this failure to find common ground: compromise, is very well-known in the middle east.

As the war criminals George W. Bush and Dick Cheney sip martini’s and enjoy their golden years, hundreds of thousands of children are dying in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen as the DIRECT result of the destabilization of that region by our government.

And now in this gargantuan power vacuum, Al-Qaeda in Iraq, or “the Levant” as they are now known, are predictably exploiting this for their own Neanderthal agenda.

Shia and Sunni. Black and White. Christian and Muslim.

No compromise.

My way or the highway.

An eye for an eye.

When does it end?

“There is no Them. There are only facets of Us.”~John Green

The Republican National Convention is in full swing and I think this is a good time to approach a subject I have tried to avoid, for the most part, on my social media sites:  politics.

I suspect that if you have had a cohesive, healthy emotional relationship with your parents, your political leaning have likely been shaped by them.  There are of course exceptions, but in my case this certainly rings true.  My father was a war hero.  He was a member of the 24th Marine Corps Raider Battalion and landed on many a beach in the South Pacific, including Iwo Jima, where he was shot by a Japanese sniper…when Korea rolled around he re-enlisted.  This man killed other human beings at close range and in his later years was haunted by the atrocities he had witnessed.

So it’s hard for a young lad like myself not to pay attention when dad tells you he met Ronald Reagan (at the time my dad was an executive with the NBC affiliate in Sacramento and Reagan was governor) and that the guy was a fraud.  Here is a war hero calling out a man that made-believe for a living and never experienced the horror of war.  Yet this man has become a beacon of the Republican party.

My dad was a liberal…a term of derision these days but he would have kicked your ass in his day had you told him that.  Here is a guy that knew what it was to sacrifice for his country and he had little tolerance for the political posers or the racist of his day.  Dad was a proud supporter of the civil rights movement and when your father espouses these beliefs, with his credentials…it just makes sense.

I’m a liberal too…and I’m not afraid to say it.  I have very strong beliefs that our government exists partially to not only provide economic freedom and growth, but to provide for those less fortunate, to stand up for the little guy, to root for and support the underdog.  I also believe in capital punishment and strongly support the second amendment.  I’m a former member of the NRA who rejected my membership when they launched their paranoid campaign to defeat President Obama in the last election.  I don’t believe in big government but I believe in universal healthcare or socialized medicine if you will.  I simply cannot believe in this day and age, that we are one of the last first world countries without it.  We provide military, police and fire protection for our populace, but somehow healthcare, by definition a life-and-death proposition, is not worthy of that basic tenet of the function of government.

So I guess I’m not a pure liberal…I share some beliefs with my Republican friends.  However, I am disgusted and frankly frightened about some of the rhetoric I hear from the G.O.P. in recent years.  It is so far from the norm, and the dialogue so vitriolic that it angers me.  I want to react, I want to fight back.  But for the most part I don’t.  My vote is my sword.

The political discourse in our country has become toxic at the state and national level.  In many cases it has digressed into an uninformed, base schoolyard fight.  I feel bullied at times by the hateful rhetoric but remain willing to fight to the death if necessary to protect my beliefs and the sanctity of my country…the country my dad fought for.  And if you’re a Republican and a Romney supporter, you may feel the same way about some of my beliefs.  I am only too aware that my Democratic party has its share of shrill idiots and merchants of hate.

What I find unsettling is that some people in my life who I love, friends that I cherish, are Republicans and by extension, I see them as believers of the Hannity’s and Beck’s and Limbaugh’s.  That may or may not be an accurate assessment but the bottom line is I am so disappointed when I find out these people don’t share my cherished beliefs.  I want them to see the light.  In my mind, I want them to open their minds and be better people.  Alas, they are probably hoping the same for me…maybe worse…I don’t know.

What I do know is this…the political discourse needs to change if we are to stay the UNITED States of America.  If you don’t pigeon-hole me as an “elite liberal” or simply a derisive “liberal”,  I promise to try not to unfairly categorize you and your beliefs.  If you agree that we can disagree without personal attacks, I’m all over that.  Finally, if you can take the biggest step of all…if you can agree that at some point, compromise is not only necessary, but inevitable for any union, then we can return this country to something better than what I’m afraid we are leaving for our children.  If you are a Republican…God bless you and your family.  I’m a liberal Democrat…I hope you can reciprocate.




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