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Right now on on this web site there are at least two Obama diaries at odds with each other. One skewers Obama, and the other piles on the admiration. The comments on each are a fury of emotions. Twenty years of counseling have put me in the middle of this very dynamic on many occasions, so I know the dynamic and it's consequences very well. But...there is a recovery path to take. What has happened here, happens in many homes.

As the wife of an alcoholic, a trauma survivor myself married to another trauma survivor, let me tell you that there are a host of skills we could be using that would decrease the damage to one and another and elevate the truth. It would require understanding some new terms, practicing some new skills and trying a new paradigm.  This journey is the same one taken by families dealing with autism, alcoholism, Parkinson's, Brain tumors and mental illness. This is a journey we are meant to take. What if the paradox of Obama is not meant to destroy us? What if these very real differences in perception are meant to cause a change in us?

There is very real fear in each side of the Obama argument. The dialectic is a form of argumentation producing a type of logic that is spiral rather than inductive or deductive in nature. The dialectic is currently being used in a therapy called Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). This type of argumentation helps to confront the double binds of black and white thinking...the kind of thinking fueled by emotion and often found in the destructive threads of these diaries. An important part of this journey would be to understand the emotion behind each side of the argument. Those supporting Obama very strongly are "afraid" that he will not be re-elected and even worse that a republican will be in charge. These folks likely remember the Bush years with terror, and there is truth to that fear. The anti Obama folks have fear too. Both sides fear invalidation and not being heard. Meanwhile the anti Obama folks fear that no one is seeing an erosion of rights, and a support of the corporate corruption being seen as perpetuated or helped by Obama's policies and behaviors. Both sides fear losing the "American Dream". When there is strong emotion, there is black and white thinking. There will be more judgments and more theory.

When we work the dialectic we acknowledge truth on both ends of the polar. We make a commitment to the notion that nothing in the universe is truly "black or white". We accept the journey to synthesis the truth at each end of the polar argument. We learn to find a kernel of truth in each end of every polarity. Just as there is non truth in each end of every polarity. Both sides carry truth, both sides carry non truth.

Obama is not bad or good. He is both. The key to synthesis is to be able to confront, and lay out the truths on each side of each polarity. There are many polarities to be explored here. Corrupt and not corrupt. Progressive, not progressive. Accountable, not accountable. Synthesis requires developing the skills to argue more than one side of the argument. This produces a paradigm shift. It produces the ability to acknowledge an opposing view with respect. It produces dedication and commitment to synthesis over taking a polar stand. Synthesis is about doing what works, in this moment, given the truth and non truths of each polarity.

If we continue to seek "right" over synthesis of truth, we will destroy opposing factions. We will have to destroy or refuse to recognize certain elements of the truth. The key word for using the dialectic is "and". This argument AND that. "And" replaces "OR".

My husband is an alcoholic. His childhood had some trauma much like mine. His behaviors while drinking hurt me. And yet, I understood him. Peace came to me, by managing the polarities. The truths. I had to be able to acknowledge the real value of him in my life, and the real cost. I had to be able to balance the real harm of staying with him and the real harm of leaving him. In my case, confronting the truth of each end of the polarity resulted in more effective and honest interaction with his disease. It helped me put an end to denial, resentments and rage. It helped me learn to do what works, facing my fears, my denial instead of trying to change his.

The issue of Obama is much the same way for me. We could likely argue ways that he is the best president and ways that he is the worst. There is truth in each end of that discussion.  He is a mixture of both. He has done "good" things. He has done "bad" things. He has done "positive" things and "harmful" things. And the same argument could likely be made about every other president in history. The idea is to avoid an argument about who is "right" or "wrong" and understand that both positions have truth. In this discussion about Obama there is synthesis. We have to accept certain truths. He exists. He is currently in office. We begin with a list of truths...facts. We extend the facts as far into each polar as we can. We look for effectiveness over right or wrong or any polar position. We look for an idea about what will work. He is progressive in this way and not in this way. The synthesis may be different for each person. We don't all have to agree to interact with these polarities in the same way. We can choose what works for us.

When dealing with alcoholic families or families where there is a severe disability like autism. Oftentimes, the first discussion is about staying or leaving the person perceived to be causing the pain. It is as if these two positions are the only two that exist. We either put him in a home or keep him. We kick him out or keep him. We put him in treatment or keep him. We change him or keep him. In many cases "keep him" requires change him. But in reality what works is to stop needing to change the other person, and to change ourselves to meet the truth of the situation. So with autism it might mean facing a truth about the amount of change that is possible and confronting that truth with more tolerance and effectiveness. With alcoholism it might mean facing a truth about trying to change an alcoholic.

It first means that we must accept what is. What is really true. When we are busy defending a position over seeking truth, we will often times only allow "truth" or the polar truths that support our end of the polar. Leaving or staying is a polarity. So the truth about staying,  the truth about leaving will bring an different perspective than...we should stay with Obama or leave Obama.  We should stay with Obama AND leave Obama. The synthesis is how we choose to interact with the polarities in an Obama administration. It focuses on what we WILL do in response to the kernels of truth in each polarity. Not on arguing one side over another.

In my work as a counselor, many families have learned to stop focusing on the question of leave or stay, and have found a synthesis for what is. In that synthesis they have found peace for themselves and the family. In my case, my husband drank through almost two years as the family "stayed" facing the truth of his disease. We stopped denying and started dealing with the reality of the disease by seeking effectiveness over leaving or staying. This required learning to do things that were often uncomfortable. Not leaving the kids with him instead of trying to get him to promise to stay sober. Refusing to let him drive the vehicle that was in my name. (no matter how angry he got.) Learning to leave the house to prevent an argument and to do it with my children in mind instead of my emotions driving. So, with happiness, a trip to the store with the kids. (for them) He eventually quit drinking. My work synthesizing the reality of his disease was a lesson for me in truth and consequences. That journey was a blessing while the journey of trying to change him or leave him only produced emotions, chaos and sorrow.

The journey led by truth and synthesis did require my learning new skills but at every level it was obvious that the change required in me was for the best in the long run, not only for me, but for my children to witness. This is what happens when we focus on synthesis over imaginary static positions at the polar end of a discussion.

Many families are facing these types of scenarios. This is part of the design of the human experience. We can let it destroy us, destruct us, cause us to behave in ways we know don't really work, cause us to act out of emotion, forsaking our rationality AND we can seek resolution, seek truth over righteousness, effectiveness over argumentation, empowerment over destruction.

There is synthesis in those difficult threads. The word "destructive" was used at the top of the page, but as this diary ends, we could instead discuss how these diaries can be "instructive" as well as destructive. Not "or" but "and".

10:11 AM PT: Wow! Rec list...did not expect that! Maybe it is all too obvious but sometimes the obvious needs to be said.

11:27 AM PT: Sorry didn't mean rec spot light...Thanks!!!

Wed Jan 04, 2012 at 4:34 AM PT: Can I just say the tone of the thread is interesting to me. Having read the comment threads of other Obama posts...I would say there is a noticeable difference...and I like it!

Originally posted to wavpeac on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 08:09 AM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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  •  Tip Jar (149+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomP, Jazzenterprises, shanikka, Sylv, pfiore8, Supavash, shesaid, vcmvo2, Lorikeet, MuskokaGord, Chitown Kev, mumtaznepal, cardinal, elmo, Nulwee, zett, la motocycliste, Sybil Liberty, democracy is coming, herbalina, Kurt from CMH, annieli, commonmass, Dark UltraValia, kenlac, Burned, pileta, citizendane, EJP in Maine, ktar7582, EthrDemon, svotaw1992, ItsaMathJoke, MKSinSA, ruscle, SnyperKitty, roses, mallyroyal, Betty Pinson, Anton Bursch, elengul, OpherGopher, robertlewiws, saluda, skyounkin, little lion, Catte Nappe, elwior, nzanne, stonedoubt, I give in to sin, fou, readerwriter, zerelda, MKinTN, surfbird007, TexMex, Cronesense, Cofcos, wide eyed lib, Ashaman, hillbrook green, A Person, TheGrandWazoo, stegro, LABobsterofAnaheim, greycat, tegrat, Heart n Mind, lgmcp, joanbrooker, ProfessorWho, SwedishJewfish, HoundDog, Brunette, davekro, wishingwell, Eddie L, Little Flower, CupofTea, LillithMc, quill, ATFILLINOIS, kathny, dkmich, ferment, bnasley, TBug, TheHalfrican, JayRaye, palantir, Happy Days, Andrew F Cockburn, Odysseus, bmaples, YucatanMan, lilsky, mozlover, Wary, Leslie in KY, rmonroe, Nowhere Man, Matthew D Jones, exsimo2, BeninSC, ParkRanger, New Rule, dle2GA, newinfluence, peachcreek, Cobbler, kalika, frankzappatista, Michael James, magicsister, poe, vadasz, AaronInSanDiego, Ocelopotamus, Medium Head Boy, triplepoint, OLinda, DiegoUK, Foreign Devil, sewaneepat, Statusquomustgo, mujr, MasterfullyInept, matching mole, Leftcandid, hlsmlane, zukesgirl64, smartdemmg, guyeda, on the cusp, Delphi, kurious, dotsright, rantsposition, glitterscale, Unbozo, meek isle, EclecticCrafter, redlum jak, greengemini, shwing, Amber6541, freeport beach PA, Onomastic
  •  Interesting diary. (23+ / 0-)

    Thanks for it.

    I'm from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner Wing of the Democratic Party!

    by TomP on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 08:15:12 AM PST

    •  Interesting, but not fully developed (20+ / 0-)

      I think it brings out some aspects of the tension between progressives and Obama, but causes us to NOT see other aspects. You use the example of your husband and thank you for sharing so bravely.

      But let's try to apply this to relations between the Congressional Republicans and Obama. Does it offer us insights there? The Republicans are locked into a dynamic driven more by their pursuit of partisan advantage, playing to their base and looking out for the interests of the rich than they are interested in the common good for the majority of Americans.

      They prefer to deny the threat of climate change, for example, than to move towards sustainable energy policies, not for HONEST reasons, but for partisan and corporatist reasons.

      Obama and the corporatist wing of the Democratic Party start from a point only slightly better on this. And from that watered down position, in their effort to attain a "synthesis" with the GOP, they agree to destructive policies AND undermine the enthusiasm (and self-interst) of their base.

      Let me emphasize a different aspect of the dialectical approach. Social struggle, political struggle arises as a result of OBJECTIVE conflicts, and the "unreasonable" dynamics which exacerbate the conflict are secondary. The key to a useful dialectical analysis to to recognize the central conflicts and build alliances along those fault-lines . Within your alliance, there is an inherent tension between the UNITY of your alliance and the STRUGGLE between somewhat different interests.

      I agree some of the "anti-Obama" and "pro-Obama" diaries on here reflect an incorrect emphasis on what the key struggle is. We are stuck with a political system which divides into two camps, the Democrats and Republicans. We cannot extract ourselves from that terrain though the exertion of wishful thinking, no matter how hard we cross our fingers, no matter what slogan we come up with for our Third or Fourth political party.

      The election of Obama and the Democratic coalition is preferable to the realistic alternative open to us, which is the election of a Republican. But recognizing this does not mean we should suppress our criticisms of Obama and the Democrats. We need the proper balance of UNITY and STRUGGLE or we either become drone workers for the Dems and taken for granted OR we slip off into irrelevant, unproductive Naderite fantasies.

      Obama is a "centrist" and a "corporatist." He views his centrism as a VIRTUE. And the marketplace of politics, balancing campaign contributions and positive coverage from the corporate media, rewards CENTRISM. Essentially, despite his urbane personality and smooth tongue, Obama is a Blue Dog or DLC Democrat. People on BOTH sides of our perpetual divide should recognize and accept that.

      So vote for Obama in November. And vote for "Better and More Democrats" in the down ticket races. But never stop struggling against Obama's corporatist policies, nor his imperialist foreign policy. He may be a charming fellow and a "nice guy" at a certain, important level. But he has demonstrated he will not be a strong advocate for the kinds of economic, environmental and foreign policies we, and the world, need to respond to the crises we face.

      A "dialectical" approach should NOT cause us to avoid conflict, but provide us with an approach to manage it on a principled, productive basis.

      So unite with him in the sense we should vote for him. But criticize him when he is wrong, as he often is.

      Back to the drunken husband example, I WISH we could sometimes take the keys away from Obama. But that is not within our power. Build a big enough movement for social change, and a future president will be more responsive to us.

      "... if I can lead you into the promised land someone else can just as easily lead you back out again." --Eugene Debs

      by Shliapnikov on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 07:17:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Agreed. And well said. (5+ / 0-)

        Obama is "both," (good and bad) is the correct (and frustrating) truth that Progressive Democrats are faced with.  

        This diary attempts to make a virtue out of the DISCUSSION of BOTH sides.  And I agree.  We must support him when we can, and oppose him when he crosses lines no Progressive should.

        Your description of Obama as, "Essentially, despite his urbane personality and smooth tongue, Obama is a Blue Dog or DLC Democrat," is as brilliant a synthesis of the man as we've seen.

        As Progressives, we like he attributes, the way he speaks, his obvious intelligence.  But his life has been spent "getting along" with power, or he wouldn't be where he is.  That "power" is what most of us have spent a lifetime working against.

        People painting him as "all good" simply do a disservice to these facts, just as those calling him stupid things like "Hitler" do.  

        He is the hand we've been dealt, as Progressives.  He will be better than the best Republican.  But we must never paper over his flaws, or Progressives, like our Constitutional and Human Rights, will cease to exist.

      •  Dialectical approaches have more to them (8+ / 0-)

        than Thesis, Antithesis, Synthesis; they are a process of asking and answering questions where you need the right questions to get the right answers.

        In Parenthesis, or adding on something more beside to the discussion , Obama in stark contrast to the Republicans criticizing him is a competent administrator.

        He's competent, but also strangely willing to allow the survival of some really stupid ideas like SOPA and indefinite detention, FISA, the Patriot Act, Hypothesis.

        In the balance his accomplishments certainly outweigh his failings, but in terms of his judgement and analysis of the consequences of his actions he doesn't seem to have been able to measure, weigh and judge where he is taking the country.


        Yes, when he took office the Republicans had already spent all the money, directing it to the haves and have mores and destroying the middle class, and continuing deficit spending to get us out of the hole the Bush administration dug was necessary but only now is he getting around to jumping on that OWS bandwagon.


        In the short term It may indeed be necessary to strengthen his unitary executive powers to survive the Republicans obstructionism in Congress, but long term this is 180 degrees out from the right course. We will never get back our bill of rights.

        Generally, the Justice Department prosecution of the political bureaucracy and the corpocracy that bought them is deplorable. Only recently has Holder begun to fight back against voter suppression in SC, and the totality of what Halliburton through Xe have been allowed to get away with viz a Vis war profiteering is just mind boggling.


        I get it that he got the START treaty reducing the threat of nuclear proliferation, quietly encouraged Arab Spring, is on board for the use of diplomacy to make human rights a part of the criteria we use in deciding where our foreign aid goes, got more out of the last conference on climate change mediation than expected, but he's still wrong, wrong, wrong on nuclear power, alternative energy, clean coal, cleaning up the Gulf, and environmental protection generally.

        Obama is missing an Esthesis, an ability to discern what is right and proper. Where he both able to tell right from wrong and competent we would have a different presidency.

        When we look at the Metathesis of his administration or the long term consequences of his eleven dimensional chess playing I think its fair to allow that some of the moves he has made were positional but whether we the people end up winners because he has caused the Republicans to self destruct is still unclear.

        I suppose Obama will get some mileage out convincing the competent Republican candidates to wait till he's gone to make their move, but he also needs a Democratic Congress in place to back his play and at the moment that is far from a safe bet.

        Even with that for me the real question is whether his next four years results in another progressive addition to the SCOTUS and that's the crux of our hopes and fears. Replacing Ginsberg brings no advantage and its doubtful that Roberts or Alito will be going anywhere soon so it comes down to Scalia and Thomas.

        I honestly don't know if his careful play sets up a decent end game to what I have seen of his dialectic so far.

        Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

        by rktect on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 11:16:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Excellent analysis. (0+ / 0-)

          In the final analysis the end game is the entire game.  That is what we are playing for.  And I see a better outcome for us with Obama gone then with him in place for another 4 years.

          Send your old shoes to the new George W. Bush library.

          by maxschell on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 11:37:05 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  You make great points (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wavpeac, aliasalias, Dirk Thrust, rktect

          and I think most of us (on the anti-Obama side) are smarting cause we thought we got an environmentalist and a constitutionalist (even though he voted for FISA.) And somebody who would right the economic ship.

          I think you are right that he has the instincts of a competent administrator, but he seems to also be that DLC persona who will listen to the Rahms and the Summers rather than Krugman or any of the other economists. So his decisions come down on the DLC side rather than a progressive side.

          Apparently, when we ask for somebody to step up and run for president, it requires certain traits. One trait seems to be that of never second guessing themselves. Obama USES progressives but not progressive issues. He USES republicans (and has done so marvelously at times) but doesn't really care that much about the outcomes of the wrestling matches they and he engage in.

          We also cannot say he is tone deaf. He knows exactly what the talk is but he walks that DLC walk all the time. He might USE OWS but he will never side with OWS.

          I don't believe that anybody here thinks he is dumb. But neither do we need think he is concerned all that much with the outcomes of his actions. For instance, 2010 he was content to let the dems twist in that wind of health care reform. He could have mobilized the troops and educated folks differently but chose not to.

          Congress is at 9% approval rating - within the +/- of making herpes more popular than congress! - Webranding

          by glitterscale on Wed Jan 04, 2012 at 10:32:27 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  it does change the picture a bit...doesn't it? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            When you break it seems like there is more of a direction in regard to what we CAN do in response to who he seems to be.

          •  I like to think he is learning on the job (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Onomastic, glitterscale

            Obama both outperformed and underperformed, so his performance in office is the wrong criteria to evaluate his presidency. All of us have plenty to be thankful for and quite a bit that drives us nuts.

            I'd suggest we look at the consequences of his being President rather than John McCain, or for that matter this years insane clown posse roller coaster that presently is throwing up Santorum after throwing everyone else under the bus.

            Bottom line, focus on the critical path to having the next six SCOTUS appointments be progressive. That begins with how Obama uses the next four years and who that delivers to us in 2016 as his replacement

            Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

            by rktect on Wed Jan 04, 2012 at 02:01:33 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Scalia is 75, Thomas 63, other right wingers young (0+ / 0-)

              Scalia can be around for another 10 years minimum.

              The other right wingers will last longer.

              Justice Ginsberg, bless her soul is 78.  I pray she outlasts Scalia and the whole crew but that is not likely.

              I think she can hang on for another 4 years though.

              Breyer is 73 and he could also hang on for another 10 years IMHO.

              So if you vote against Obama you are betting that Ginsberg will be OK for 4 years.  Downside there is that we lose a seat.  Upside however is that we may be able to ride the OWS movement to a much more progressive candidate.

              Then if Ginsberg can hang on, and we are able to create a progressive wave, we are guaranteed at least 2 justices that are more progressive than Sotomayor and Kagan.

              That should be our goal.  Not an unlikely 20 year plan to replace 6 justices.

              Send your old shoes to the new George W. Bush library.

              by maxschell on Wed Jan 04, 2012 at 09:46:07 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Getting six progressive supreme court justices (0+ / 0-)

                starts with preparing the ground in academia so that the best and brightest can mature properly outside the Federalist Society.

                Assuming we are unlikely to get a non lawyer appointed to the SCOTUS, think about the judicial networking, mentoring and discipline that it takes to be brilliant, graduate from law school unblemished by arrests for smoking pot, DWI, sexual or financial impropriety, OWS or other protest activities, clerk for a justice, be upwardly mobile and influential as a progressive judge without being labled activist.

                Lets allow that out of 300 million prospective Americans there are six who would be acceptable, both young enough and seasoned enough within the twenty year window now through 2032 we are imagining.

                I'd love to see us developing lists of people we want to nurture now so that twenty years from now they can play the roles we need them to play so that by the end of their careers the east coast of the United States isn't called the drowned lands.

                Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

                by rktect on Fri Jan 06, 2012 at 03:54:17 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

  •  When people refuse to consider... (13+ / 0-)

    that THEY might be the source of conflict, then you can never have the kind of realization that you wish to provoke.

    There can only be a synthetic solution when both sides acknowledge that each one has a different perspective worthy of understanding.

    Otherwise, you're just wasting your time.

    It was nice of you to see that your husband's alcoholism was a symptom of larger issues, but frankly, for most people it doesn't matter.  The person is the problem...not the circumstances.

  •  A Necessary Contribution (40+ / 0-)

    To the discourse here, already sinking back into the mire after only a couple of months of relative calm.

    I hope your diary gets the reflection from the DailyKOS masses it deserves.  It is well thought out, and more importantly recognizes what at least to me is the truth:  there is truth on both sides of the discourse, none of which the partisans want to acknowledge because if they did, they would have to sacrifice their sense of President Obama as personal/nation's demon or savior and then what would they have to talk about?

    All I know is that rational is quickly leaving the building here, once again, on these dueling "Obama rocks/Obama sucks" diaries -- and it will continue to take the voices that most need to be heard right along with it.

    Tipped and recommended.

    If you don't stand for something, you will go for anything. Visit Maat's Feather

    by shanikka on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 08:29:52 AM PST

  •  Wish this diary would generate discussion (26+ / 0-)

    It amazes me how the controversy gets recommended and discussed...but these types of diaries often fall away.

  •  I think most here do kind of do this (29+ / 0-)

    Most of the posters I've encountered do acknowledge that there are good and bad things that the Obama Administration has and is doing.

    The problems seem to be from a small group on each side.  One  of these small groups refuses to acknowledge any bad, the other small group refuses to acknowledge any good. Once those small groups engage the discussion disintegrates.

    The question for me is how to bring the discussion back to a more productive level.

    •  I have come across many detractors (21+ / 0-)

      of the President here who acknowledge few if any of the president's accomplishments. I have not come across any supporters who believe there is no basis for criticizing him, though.

      •  THIS (7+ / 0-)

        "Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D."

        by TrueBlueMajority on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 10:28:40 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  To say that D is always forward...and R is always (5+ / 0-)

          backwards will create problems with the truth. Can't be true absolutely.  First of all, republican and democratic policies change over time. Secondly, if there is just one example of a progressive republican sinks your boat. Or if there is one example of a "backwards" democratic policy...causes the same dilemma.

          This is precisely the problem in discussing Obama's policies. Some have taken us forward...some of taken us backwards.

          •  i'm speaking generally (8+ / 0-)

            over the course of my political lifetime, it holds up.

            "Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D."

            by TrueBlueMajority on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 10:39:57 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yep (7+ / 0-)

              If we broaden our horizon to the last century, it is clear which party has steered America in a general progressive direction, and which party has attempted to wrest America back to the good old robber baron days.

              On a micro level, wav is definitely correct that individual Democrats have made mistakes of error and judgment, and individual Republicans have done the right thing, but when we zoom out the trajectory is clear.

              Progressivism, like conservatism, cannot fail. It can only be failed.

              by tomjones on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 12:01:10 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  public option (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                blueoasis, dkmich, Dirk Thrust

                I am not going to tell a person angry about the public option that the "general trajectory" is worse with the Republicans.

                You take from your backpack the glass phial containing the sparkling dust and sprinkle it on the stone slab. Slowly the stone slab starts to rise into the air

                by GideonAB on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 03:48:49 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Obama's trajectory is right through Wall Street.. (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Dirk Thrust, greeseyparrot

                  Immelt as job czar, what a hoot.   It is Obama's economic failure that has me pissed.

                  The Federal Reserve, meanwhile, has pursued essentially the same easy-money strategy that it pursued in the Bush Years -- and that help lead to the housing bubble that nearly brought down the world economy.

                  Bush's administration set the essential and still prevalent strategy for fighting global economic catastrophe: shore up the biggest global banks and financial institutions with American loans and credit guarantees. Indeed Bush's Treasury Secretary in 2008, Hank Paulson -- he of the original TARP crusade -- continues to get favorable reviews, even from Hollywood, which portrayed him in a positive light in a recent movie. Timothy Geithner, Paulson's ally and protègè, remains Obama's trusted all-but-indispensable Treasury Secretary.  link

                  When Obama fires Geithner, I'll believe something he has to say.  

                  You can't see a new shore unless you let go of the coast.

                  by dkmich on Wed Jan 04, 2012 at 02:45:14 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Yes but. (0+ / 0-)

                    That is only part of the situation.

                    Democrats want to build a better America. Regressives want to take away everything we have built in the last 100 years.

                    by NCJim on Wed Jan 04, 2012 at 05:51:00 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  What is your complaint (0+ / 0-)

                    with Immelt in his role as job czar? Has he advocated for a jobs policy you oppose?

                    I mean, other than the fact that he's a CEO, what's your beef? Cuz that is pretty thin gruel.

                    And the bolded portion of your quote proves absolutely nothing about Obama's supposed trajectory through Wall Street. Just more guilt by association.

                    Progressivism, like conservatism, cannot fail. It can only be failed.

                    by tomjones on Wed Jan 04, 2012 at 06:57:09 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

              •  "individual Democrats have made mistakes"? (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                blueoasis, hlsmlane, greeseyparrot

                Really? I think a lot of Democrats do things which are fundamentally wrong. And not through an "error" or two, but because they share a lot of the corporatist and imperialist ideas of most Republican elected officials. And because their careers depend upon securing financial underwriting by corporate special interests.

                Thank god for the unions, who, because of their resources and membership, are able to provide a PARTIAL counterweight to the corporations. Or more Democrats would be conscious advocates for the interests of the rich.

                When we catch ourselves explaining bad policies as "errors," I think we gotta re-calibrate our thinking. Most of the good policies to come out of Congress come from Democrats. But that does not mean there are not a lot of corporate lackeys, careerists and opportunists who seek office as Democrats. My party loyalty does not go that far.

                I assume you mispoke?

                "... if I can lead you into the promised land someone else can just as easily lead you back out again." --Eugene Debs

                by Shliapnikov on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 07:29:22 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Well, my comment was directed (0+ / 0-)

                  more at presidents. So, when I think about Democratic presidents doing stupid things, like interning Japanese citizens or escalating the war in Vietnam, they do seem more like mistakes in judgment and not motivated by a philosophical attachment to, say, war or violating civil rights.

                  Progressivism, like conservatism, cannot fail. It can only be failed.

                  by tomjones on Wed Jan 04, 2012 at 06:59:03 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  How about mandating racial segregation (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    wavpeac, Shliapnikov

                    where it hadn't existed before...which is what Woodrow Wilson did...

                    OTOH, I could make a case for the fact that Harry Truman was just as concerned about the black vote in 1948 as he was concerned about civil rights.

                    My point being for any political figure and especially for presidents, there's always "political calculus" that needs to be factored in along with "mistakes in judgment" and "philosophical attachment"

        •  Sorry for this unfortunate comparison (15+ / 0-)

          but this reminds me of the media's false equivalence comparison of Democrats and Republicans, e.g. Politifact's whopper of the year. They can't state the obvious (Republicans as a whole are full of it), for fear of looking partisan, so they get out their magnifying glass and see what they can come up with to criticize Democrats with.

          Similarly, the idea that Obama supporters and Obama detractors are equally partisan and equally blind to what can be said for the opposite viewpoint strikes me as equally false equivalence.

          At any rate, we are left with the bottom line (at least those of us who are so mundane as to realize there is one).  You either vote for Obama, or you don't. And you and the rest of this country and the world will bear the consequences of that choice.

          •  No...we vote one or the other and we keep working (7+ / 0-)

            It's not black and white. Whether you vote for or against him...reality doesn't end with the vote. Remember that truth exists in both ends but the truth is not at either end.

   a judgment and yes, any absolute position cannot be factually true. So the truth, the synthesis, the effective interaction lies somewhere in the bringing together of truth from both sides.

            It's not that both are equally partisan...that is a black and white position that would be confronted by the dialectic. It's that there is truth in both ends of the polar. IF you were to take these truths, and find an interaction that is would find your dialectic.

            People could support a Ron send pressure and a message to Obama but vote Obama in the end. There are many variations to how this would work. Support is not just a vote. IT is money, donations of time...there is a continuum that culminates in a vote but the vote does not end the discussion or reality.

            •  anyone advocating support for Ron Paul (12+ / 0-)

              for any purpose, loses all credibility in my book.

              "Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D."

              by TrueBlueMajority on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 11:18:10 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I don't see advocacy in support (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ladyjames, James Kresnik, triplepoint

                I do think Paul is an apt example of "not all good/not all bad".  I presume it's why he's such a hot button here. If all of his policies and positions were clear anathema there would be no debate, but he has some positions that are attractive to progressives. Some are even attractive enough to draw supporters, despite his other deeply unattractive positions.

                from a bright young conservative: “I’m watching my first GOP debate…and WE SOUND LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE!!!!”

                by Catte Nappe on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 12:08:14 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  That's true of any candidate (0+ / 0-)

                  some good/some bad. But the preponderance of Paul's significant positions are bad and would, if put into practice, create significant and disastrous consequences. That he has good ideas about a couple of policies doesn't outweigh all the bad, in my opinion.

                  I look for a candidate whose positives outweigh the negatives.

              •  I support him in the Republicna primary (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                orange dog

                for a variety of reasons, mostly because he will be destroyed in the general.

                There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

                by AoT on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 01:17:09 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Just meant as an example of possible variables (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                nzanne, Catte Nappe, James Kresnik

                That's a pretty black and white reaction.  I didn't recommend it...I simply stated that it is a possible variable. That's what I mean by the need for the dialectic that maybe we could have less black and white reactions...we might "hear" more. We might improve our solutions. It's possible...

                •  What is there to 'hear' about someone (5+ / 0-)

                  who will vote for Ron Paul?  Sorry, but they're as loonie as he is, and no amount of reason will pull them back.  What value is there in 'hearing' what a totally misguided person has to say?

                •  Your comment was very clear about Paul. (6+ / 0-)

                  What interests me right now is how people are pushing so hard against it without understanding it.

                  A great example, actually, of what you're discussing here - I would welcome a true dialectical exchange. We do have them here, but I feel there's often not the depth of exploration that you're suggesting.

                  "I can't do it by myself. No president can. Remember: Change doesn't happen from the top. It happens because of you." B Obama, 2008

                  by nzanne on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 12:01:55 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  It's a kind of cognitive dissonance, (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    that seeks to avoid any acknowledgement of problems with the President in particular and the party in general. Some of the avoidance is sincere denial, and some of it is quite intentional and rhetorical.

                    Using Paul as an example, a number of his supporters completely deny the serious problems with his early newsletters or going as far as to minimize or attack anyone who dares criticize any content, even if the critique is designed to strengthen his campaign.

                    It appears that many of his followers are wallowing in as much cognitive dissonance as Administration supporters. I get the feeling that for a few of the more intellectual sorts are engaging in the Noble Lie and attempting to squelch any and all of Paul's flaws to achieve their desired ends.

                    As a note, I am not a fan of the Hegelian Dialectic and it's application to practical problems - not to mention emotional responses to to any issue of policy. The synthesis of concepts in nature is far more nuanced and varied than a simple, proportional admixture, except perhaps, for the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

            •  Some times, it really is black or white... (9+ / 0-)

              As elmo points out, in the end, you either stay with Obama, who may not be perfect, or you leave him. Synthesizing the reality of the clusterfuck that is American politics, can also be a valuable lesson in truth or consequence.  

              My husband is an alcoholic. His childhood had some trauma much like mine. His behaviors while drinking hurt me. And yet, I understood him. Peace came to me, by managing the polarities. The truths. I had to be able to acknowledge the real value of him in my life, and the real cost. I had to be able to balance the real harm of staying with him and the real harm of leaving him.
              Hopefully, those most unhappy with this President will have the same sober approach you had with regards to your husband.

              I enjoyed your diary/post.

              •  third option (8+ / 0-)

                The first option is to stay.

                The second to leave.

                The third option is to still vote for Obama but also to provide pressure to move in a progressive direction.

                That is my kind of option.

                Life is about opportunities.

                If we pass by the option to pressure Obama, then we may have missed an opportunity

                You take from your backpack the glass phial containing the sparkling dust and sprinkle it on the stone slab. Slowly the stone slab starts to rise into the air

                by GideonAB on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 03:53:15 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  What if that pressure is utterly ineffective? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Deep Texan

                  What is your 'Plan B,' much less your 'Plan C?'

                  I think the entire discussion of policy and politics has become too fixated on either personalities or affiliations, which often plague dysfunctional institutions. The result is that it is very difficult or impossible to deal with either malfeasance or social manipulation to serve individual ends at the expense of the group.

                  The first step to dealing with this issue is to acknowledge that simple efforts or persuasion will not always work to influence the leadership. The second step is to develop strategies that will accomplish the group goals by either bypassing or deposing the leadership.

                  Failure to put all options on the table for consideration will result in handing all advantage to the bad faith operations. These individuals may not necessarily be the President, it may be his close advisers, or even friends. Once again, you're going to have to figure out a way to get to the root of that problems, or devise a way to get those goals by bypassing the problem areas altogether.

                •  You can put all the pressure in the world (0+ / 0-)

                  on the President to move in a progressive direction, but as long as that movement is effectively blocked by Republicans  (sometimes abetted by some Democrats) in Congress, what's the point? You'll waste your energy and get frustrated.

                •  Strawman! (0+ / 0-)

                  Where did I claim Obama should not be pressured?

          •  there is a spectrum of possible vote meanings (7+ / 0-)

            at one end:

            voting for the person

            * totally open ended blank slate, no expectations, no accountability, no agenda, no policy commitments

            I vote for you...with no strings attached

            at the other end:

            voting for what the person pledges they will do

            * specific policy positions are firmly defined along with verifiable goals and timelines for implementing the policies...there is accountability, an agenda and corrective procedures for non performance up to and including recall

            I vote for you to do these things

            I can cast my vote for Obama with no preconceived expectations or demands placed on Obama, or I can cast my vote with a strong commitment from him that he will do a variety of specific things in his next term.

            In the first case, I have no reason to complain if he gets into office and acts like a Republican. In this case, I failed to demand specifics from Obama before I cast my vote.

            In the second case, I still vote for Obama, but now the vote is much more powerful, both for me and for Obama. Now, if Obama gets re-elected, he has a clear mandate to do specific things backed up by the specific policy pledges from the campaign.

            How can progressives increase the chance that Obama will adopt a progressive-friendly agenda for his second term?

            I think the answer is clear. I think progressives have to communicate what they did not like in his first term and to specify what they expect in the second term. Then Obama has to convince everyone- the entire country that is- that he will put his heart and soul, apply his energies, talent, experience and skill to implementing the things on that list.

            We are in the first stages of this negotiated dance.    

            During these early stages there is no quid-pro-quot sink that the progressives are ultimately going to vote for Obama irregardless.

            Getting to closure on this is possible and expected.

            This is how I see things.

            •  typo: change sink to wink (0+ / 0-)

              During these early stages there is no quid-pro-quot wink that the progressives are ultimately going to vote for Obama irregardless.

              •  You can wink all you want (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                orange dog, Deep Texan

                ultimately the progressives are bargaining with themselves, because they simply aren't in a position to command much of anything from the president. He probably doesn't want to go any farther to the right than he feels he has to, so there really is no "quid pro quo" for the left. The only thing you could ever have held over him was whether to vote for his he's running his last race, so you don't even have that.

                The truth is that a vote is just a vote, your hopes and dreams and expectations of the candidate are all irrelevant to that vote, which is merely one checkmark for the candidate of your choice (unless you want to protest by casting a blank ballot or voting for a minor candidate). One vote doesn't really make a's the collection of lots of those "ones" (each with their own reasons why) that win elections.

                "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

                by Alice in Florida on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 02:58:38 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  This is riddled with assumptions (0+ / 0-)

                  about what a particular individual is thinking, which can lead to all kinds of validation flaws, attribution errors and wishful thinking. We can't read minds, yet, so we can only make reasonable evaluations on visible behavior and action. 'By their fruits, you shall know them,' so to speak.

                  •  I'm just saying it doesn't matter (0+ / 0-)

                    what anyone thinks, all that matters is the how many ballots are marked for which candidate. In regard to "bargaining" I was referring to the notion of the commenter who thought that his vote had more "power" if his intention was to vote for Obama in exchange for Obama paying attention to his issues.

                    "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

                    by Alice in Florida on Wed Jan 04, 2012 at 09:01:32 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

            •  There is nothing to stop him from lying again (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              James Kresnik

              once he gets a second term, he can do whatever the hell he (and his moneymen) want.

              NOW SHOWING
              Progressive Candidate Obama (now - Nov 6, 2012)
              Bipartisan Obama returns (Nov 7, 2012)

              by The Dead Man on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 04:39:31 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  This is why I am so worried. (3+ / 0-)

                We've been through this before: We hand the Democrats more and more power, only to be rebuffed with actions that are often quite contrary to what both the base and the voters actually wanted. At some point, we're going to have to assume there is a bad faith motivation in their behavior and actions.

              •  Lying? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                Oh, gimme a break. You write as though the world does not contain a Congress full of know nothings, do nothings and quislings. And I'm not just talking about the Republicans in it, either.

                •  Can you tell that you are in a polar position.... (0+ / 0-)

                  it's borne out by the "stuckness" of your position. Find the polar opposite...argue the side that they are smart, powerful and that they have gotten things done. (perhaps not for us)...and then try finding a effective synthesis of these two polar positions...that congress is worthless...that it is powerful and see what you come up with.

                  Then this discussion will move from conflict to progression!

                  •  Sometimes it is appropriate (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    to be in a polar position. For example, I'm pretty sure you would agree that it is appropriate to take the position that a father who molests his 5 year old daughter is not to be allowed in that family.

                    But to go back to the instant disagreement, I think your comment is more aptly addressed to the person who is claiming the president is "lying" because he did not manage to fulfill some of his campaign promises. That just ignores the reality of how legislation becomes law in this country.

                    •  Nope! Would not agree. Not even close. (0+ / 0-)

                      I am a counselor who has worked with survivors of just such an event. You might be surprised to find that they often integrate these people back into the family with safety plans in place.

                      I worked with one survivor who had been taught standard therapy for years. She spent most of her life unable to love, or commit to relationships. She cheated on a spouse, ran away from jobs. Her life was severely disrupted by the abuse she suffered as a child. She had been physically and sexually abused by her father. She had begun to see a perpetrator in herself and was full of self loathing.

                      We used the dbt, and the dialectic. After several years of therapy and finding a peaceful wonderful life worth having...she noted that dbt gave her father back to her. She said he was wrong to abuse her, that he hurt her, but that he also gave her some of her best qualities. She was able to be the dialectic in regard to her fathers worst and best traits. She didn't have to hate herself for having a part of him, in her. She was able to love him...and hate his behaviors. This brought her peace.

                      I am not saying that every person has to make this journey but I am saying that without the dialectical this journey would be impossible. We want to broaden our options, not limit them.

                      •  If the victim has grown up (0+ / 0-)

                        and is now an adult, that's quite a different scenario than the one I was imagining. No child should have to live with her molester.

                        •  But they do...I said many are integrated... (0+ / 0-)

                          that's a judgment...and it's black and white thinking. Maybe you should talk to children before you think you know what right for every child. Sometimes the molester is not violent. They have therapy for the whole family and put in safety planning and training.

                          The kids often prefer to keep a relationship.

                          •  This is why I have a low opinion of psychology. (0+ / 0-)

                            It too often indulges the prejudices and fashionable pet theories of the psychologist at the expense of the patient, and society in general.

                            This, 'dialectic', you've adopted entails extreme form of relativism that allows for absolutely no moral boundaries or firm ethical constructs.

                            There are some situations that will simply kill or injure people. You can't form a healthy and stable dialectic between a sexual abuse victim and sex offender any more than you can form a dialectic with continued breathing and a tractor-trailer approaching at high speed.

                            I completely reject your dangerous thesis as well as this misbegotten diary. I wish you the best of luck in life.

                          •  You assume no damage from stripping a father (0+ / 0-)

                            from the home? I have seen this damage and clearly there is a dialectic to discuss here. I am grateful this is not treated in a black and white way...that's the and white allows blindness. There are things you cannot see.

                            No child is forced to live with a perpetrator. But sometimes a whole family decides this is best for the family if the father is truly willing to get help and stop the behavior. When there are not other addictions to alcohol or drugs concurrent, when there is no violence. When the person attends therapy and the child stays in therapy and is taught safe boundaries, this has worked.

                            Your thinking on this is clearly emotional an does not take into account the very real damage of tearing apart a family. We try to avoid the bias that this should always happen. Avoid it if we can do so safely. Throwing kids in to foster care is not always the preferred solution. If you knew that kids in foster care are at a high risk for further abuse...

                            Black and white thinking is the opposite of moral. It requires no thought, no consideration, and no education to ignorance.

            •  Fine (0+ / 0-)

              but if you demand that he do things that can be blocked by a partially Republican Congress, then what?

              •  he's only human (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                and the same approach should be applied up and down the ballot.

                It's even more effective locally. The power of your vote is amplified and, like Wisconsin has shown, if your state allows the recall of a non responding elected official, you can pull the rug out from under the miscreant.

                This will put the fear of God in subsequent officials.

                There are checks and balances.

                And this is only an example of the set of checks that the average joe has today.

                We can move outside of the box and talk about more esoteric approaches if the tools don't work to your satisfaction. Start with the techniques demonstrated by OWS, MLK, etc.

                If these don't work look to the Founding Fathers. What did they do in response to an entrenched, incompetent and unfair system?

                We can hypothesize novelties beyond that if push comes to shove.

                This is our time. We decide.

          •  FWIW (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Similarly, the idea that Obama supporters and Obama detractors are equally partisan and equally blind to what can be said for the opposite viewpoint strikes me as equally false equivalence.
            Without looking up your history -- and perhaps not even then -- I honestly can't tell which side you're thinking is more partisan and blind to the other side's points.

            And no, it's not because I'm new here :-)

            Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

            by Nowhere Man on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 07:38:36 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  accomplishments (5+ / 0-)

        If I do not agree with you about the importance of things some claim as Obama accomplishments, so what?  The fact that I disagree does not make me wrong.  MLK disagreed with things too.

        Don't ask don't tell is a good example.

        According to some, we are all supposed to put that in the win column.

        Not me. It was campaigning by Dan Choi and others, which led to that advance.

        I will not temper my criticisms of Obama to fit some external standard of so-called fairness.

        It is facts that should shape the debate, not nonsense.

        You take from your backpack the glass phial containing the sparkling dust and sprinkle it on the stone slab. Slowly the stone slab starts to rise into the air

        by GideonAB on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 03:46:28 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        Recommended by:

        I'm sorry, this is fricking hilarious.

        Tell me I want a pony while you're at it.

        The two things Teabaggers hate most are: being called racists; and black people.

        "It takes balls to execute an innocent man." -- anonymous GOP focus group member on Rick Perry

        by Punditus Maximus on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 04:07:18 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  oh please (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kyril, greeseyparrot

        what a silly, immature response. and your anecdotal "evidence" is worthless. a careful reading of just about any thread on this website shows your comment is just wishful thinking on your part.

  •  Tipped and recced (12+ / 0-)

    I think that the pie fight diaries on the rec list say more about the diarisits and the commenters than it does about the president.

    President Obama has always excited emotions to this degree; that much I have observed over the years. The dynamic, itself, is exponentially more magnified but the essential argument is still the same.

  •  OT but (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sylv, shesaid, Nulwee, elwior, Cobbler, kyril

    you might check out this diary.  I think it's Jeffersonian Democrat's gf, and she could possibly benefit from your help.

  •  had to pop in for the dialectic (15+ / 0-)

    having been an optimist for most of my life, i believed in truth and the power of facts.

    the last decade has changed me some. i'm not an outright optimist anymore. nor do i believe in truth as something obvious in its own right. facts are mutable. statistics can be gamed.

    it comes down to what people believe. they act upon what they believe is true. there are those who believe Jesus was around walking with dinosaurs I suppose... it IS true to them.

    the question for me, which is so nicely explored in your post, is how to come to consensus ... to make choices ... to own your decisions and finally, to understand what is important for you. it seems you gave your husband the space he needed to find his truth, what is important to him and it's wonderful outcome: his family.

    •  "our family" (7+ / 0-)

      Yes, in the end it was clear to me, that what I would do is my best to prevent the worst consequences of the disease for my children. I was lucky in that while he was a shouter, he was not violent toward the kids at all. My journey was about dealing with the truth of who he was and facing my own fears. I realized also that if we split, he had no history of dWI or anything that would factually make him ineligible to have his kids on weekend visitations. At the time, my kids were 4 and 5. He was so disabled that I was not willing to take the risk of one weekend visitation without an adult to protect them. I was told by a lawyer that he would be granted visitation until he blew it. I decided it was best for all of us, if we stayed together. The truth was that my kids needed to learn how to deal with him...he would be their father for life. I thought it best that they see the good and the bad. And that they witness me not being destroyed by his disease. I made the choice to have kids with him...(sort of...condom slipped off due to medication issue). I was responsible for this part of their truth.

    •  truth is contingent (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      orestes1963, pfiore8, Agathena

      Each of us has many 'truths' which we are always trying to fit together to give us a sense of larger truth, one which we ascribe to the 'self.' We are consistently at work changing our little truths as facts change, and making those truths fit with our other truths.

      All truths are contingent on other truths. However, there are those with firmly held higher Truths (capital T) that they wish to be unchanging, and they will fight new facts to save the higher Truth from being corrupted (the Earth is only 6000 years old), or they will perform some logic gymnastics to accomplish the goal (see the models of the Earth being at the center of our solar system; Jesus amongst the dinosaurs).

      Those that continue to fight new facts to save their own higher Truth often find it increasingly difficult to converse and act within a community, and in time either tire of being ostracized or fear irrelevancy. They then give in to the new facts and either adjust their Truth accordingly, or simply ignore the discrepancy between practice and belief.

      Inquiry that does not achieve coordination of behaviour is not inquiry but simply wordplay - Richard Rorty

      by BuckMulligan on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 11:50:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sometimes putting the context at the forefront (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Chitown Kev, pfiore8

        helps to spotlight this dynamic.

        •  Just attempting (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          to explore pfiore8's switch from 'belief in truth' to 'truth being subjective' in a larger context of how we use the term.

          To paraphrase Rorty, "Truth is simply a compliment we give to sentences that work." I would guess he would say the same thing about the use of the word 'facts.' We seem to give an enormous weight to both words, yet neither word is anything more than a compliment.

          It looks like pfiore8 has already come to the same conclusion. I was just going a little further clarifying subjective truth must be contingent for it to work within the world.

          Inquiry that does not achieve coordination of behaviour is not inquiry but simply wordplay - Richard Rorty

          by BuckMulligan on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 12:30:28 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  it's a bit of a sticky wicket, don't you think? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Catte Nappe

        facts are not definitive, as much as we would like to "believe" that they are.

        it is easy, as you point out, to simply not accept climate change or carbon dating etc...

        on the other hand, facts are changing all the time. eggs are bad for you. oops, nope they are good. the world is flat, it's round; America is the land of the free.........................

        there must be another way to communicate, some way to bring light to darkness, both our own and that of others...

        •  Yes (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          That is why I'm not fond of the connotation attached to the word 'fact.' If we change the connotation to simply being "a compliment to the data that works," then it becomes mutable.

          I had a professor say to me once, "Facts just are." I think I understand him now. Facts are just data, which is a thing like any other thing. They are not truth containers, but rather just objects which we can use to build a case for a truth. And since the data can change at any moment, it seems rather silly to give any kind of data the weighty title of FACT considering the current connotation.

          However, where data is never 100% certain, probability can add another layer. It is easy to say "facts change," but with enough data the laws of probability can swamp that argument.

          Inquiry that does not achieve coordination of behaviour is not inquiry but simply wordplay - Richard Rorty

          by BuckMulligan on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 11:17:51 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  data (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            funny that you say it that way, as i've begun to substitute the word "data" for "fact"

            we receive streams of data... how do we process them?

          •  "Eggs are bad for you" (0+ / 0-)

            isn't a fact. Or even a datum. It's an evaluative statement based on an interpretation of data.

            An evaluative statement cannot be a fact. In fact, a statement can't be a fact. A statement can communicate a fact, but is not in itself a fact. The fact is a fact regardless of whether someone communicates it or not - it just is. (i.e. what your professor said)

            Data aren't facts either, and facts aren't data. A datum is only a datum if someone measures it, whereas a fact is a fact whether anyone measures it or not.

            If you conflate statements and data with facts, then you end up making all sorts of silly statements like "facts are changing all the time" when what you really mean is "data are changing all the time" or "the accepted interpretations of data are changing all the time."

            Facts don't change. For instance, I'm relatively certain that it's a fact that my computer is on right now, but at some point in the future, it will probably be a fact that my computer is off. It will nevertheless remain a fact that my computer was on at 8:37 a.m. Pacific time on January 4, 2011.

            Not only that, but if I had not been in the room at that time to collect the data I used to conclude that my computer was on, it would still have been a fact that it was on. And it would have been a fact that it was on even if I had believed that I had turned it off. And it would have been a fact that it was on even if I hadn't said anything about it being on. The fact is independent of the data - their content or even their existence - and independent of any statements I may or may not make. It just is.

            Facts aren't truth containers, but they are inherently true. A statement can be false, but a fact can't be false.

            For instance, we can be reasonably certain that the Earth was in fact an oblate spheroid even when people believed it was flat. People may have said that it was a fact that the Earth was flat, but they were mistaken. The shape of the Earth didn't change when people's beliefs changed.

            "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

            by kyril on Wed Jan 04, 2012 at 08:50:01 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I have to disagree (0+ / 0-)

              You are saying:

              1. Data is what is measured and reported, and what is observed and reported can change.

              2. A fact is something that is always true. It can never change.

              3. An evaluation or statement cannot be a fact.

              Now when we look at your example of your computer being on, you start by saying "I'm relatively certain that it's a fact that my computer is on." There is a myriad of logical problems with this statement, so let's look at some individually.

              The first is obvious: Why are you only relatively certain? If a fact is always true, then you should not be relatively certain at all. You shouldn't even need to use the word "certain" if a 'fact' never changes. We will chalk this up to a simple slip, but relativity does play an important role in how we communicate everything.

              Let's assume you simply said, "My computer was on at 8:37 am Pacific time on January 4, 2011." The first thing a philosopher or lawyer would do would be to parse the sentence to see if everything in it is true. Is it really your computer? What is meant by "on"? The time and date are determined by whose standard? Who observed and reported the instance, and what criteria is used to come to that conclusion?

              What I am getting at is the 'fact' stated above is not only totally dependent on the observer being the only witness, but it is also totally dependent on the observer's analysis and interpretation. Is the observer reliable? Could the observer be suffering from hallucinations or some severe mental handicap? Or perhaps the observer has a different idea of what "on" means. My grandmother thinks the computer is off when it is in sleep mode and the screen is blank. And what if I said, "No, your computer was off"? A 'fact' then begins with an agreement of terms and contexts.

              You posit that a fact just is, independent of observation, analysis, or reporting. If so, then what is a fact made of? You suggest a fact is inherently true. But was is truth made of? What is the difference between 'truth' and a 'fact'? Is a fact so ethereal it cannot be seen or spoken of without making a muck of it? It sounds a lot like Plato's perfect forms, a theory that has long been left behind.

              A fact would not only be worthless if we couldn't communicate it, it wouldn't exist at all (how could it, if it doesn't have any properties?). That's why Rorty suggests facts exist only as a compliment to sentences about data (I'll add observation and analysis) that work for us. A fact itself is only a label, and one that can be removed from a sentence at any time when the sentence no longer works. It is a relative term, but it is contingent on agreement (we generally agree that one person's observation/analysis does not warrant the label 'fact').

              Your last example of the flat-earthers illustrates some key points to back up Rorty's claim. They described their world as flat, and that worked for them. Compared to what we know today, they were mistaken. But the sentence worked for them. It was a truth for them - until the sentence no longer worked and the label was removed. Do you see the problem here? If we are going to say 'facts are inherently true,' yet at the same time anything we call a fact can never be counted on to remain a fact due to our always imperfect knowledge and imperfect language to describe it, then a what use is the term other than a label to help us assert a little confidence?

              Some have believed that a fact is an objective and verifiable observation, but that notion has been dismantled by Thomas Kuhn and the physicist Percy Williams Bridgman who noted anything that is to be measured and observed is wholly dependent on theories and agreement of what and how the measurement is to take place.

              Truth and fact are only labels that compliment. It is generally agreed that a fact is a label we apply to smaller sets of data reporting (Green Bay won the Super Bowl) within a sentence, whereas the label truth is applied to the sentences with facts within them (Green Bay won the Super Bowl in 2011 by a score of 31-25). But 'fact' and 'truth' are not fundamentally different. Both works as labels of confidence.

              I agree with you that "Eggs are bad for you" is an evaluative statement, and it lacks context to say whether the statement is true or false. But are not facts, too, just evaluative statements? If facts are simply complimentary labels as Rorty and other Pragmatists say, then the answer can only be that a fact is by its very nature an evaluative statement.

              So, to finish, when you say

              we can be reasonably certain that the Earth was in fact an oblate spheroid even when people believed it was flat. People may have said that it was a fact that the Earth was flat, but they were mistaken. The shape of the Earth didn't change when people's beliefs changed.

              you are speaking of two different things. In our judgment, their information about the earth was incomplete/wrong AND their label was incorrect. But to say that 'it is a fact the earth was a oblate spheroid all along' is a compliment we give to that sentence TODAY. The sentence didn't exist beforehand and thus could not have been a fact for them. A fact cannot exist apart from communication, it IS communication with a compliment attached to it. A fact cannot be derived from nothing, it is not a vessel to fill with information. It IS information that to which we attach value.

              Inquiry that does not achieve coordination of behaviour is not inquiry but simply wordplay - Richard Rorty

              by BuckMulligan on Wed Jan 04, 2012 at 03:02:54 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  Optimism (hope) is usually a terrible vice. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wavpeac, pfiore8, Agathena, Deep Texan

      To hope for X is to fear the opposite of X.

      But for a rational human being fear is not justified except where one's moral integrity, character, or ability to use one's reason are in danger.

      Thus for a rational human being hope is not justified in the circumstances that fear is not justified.

      In the end you're right, to make choices, to own your decisions are the true measure of a reasoned, consistent and therefore happy life.

      The happy person accepts what they cannot change and concentrate on what they actually have a measure of control over (which isn't much, and that's a good thing).

      •  Hope (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pfiore8, shesaid, Catte Nappe, Nowhere Man

        the one thing that was left in Pandora's Box.

      •  ahhhhhhh, my old friend hope. (0+ / 0-)

        we just saw the Wizard of Oz the other night and it's like the songs of the woodsman, lion, and tinman...

        i'd like to get my hopefulness back, then i'd while away the hours still believing that we could work this mess out.

        hope was left in Pandora's Box for the future, for those who follow. that is what hope is for me............

      •  as i said to Buck (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        thanks for the ideas. maybe this is why i'm a progressive... i'm interested in others who look up to the sky and see a universe beyond, or those consider the kind of life that might be teeming on a blade of grass.

        is this how we let these rascals slip through these 40 or 50 years? being preoccupied with ideas?

        maybe it's that we also have a tendency to think the best of people... and that's what really got me this last decade. realizing just how out-of-touch and drug-addicted like the behavior of these might-is-right pols and CEOs is.

        i thought, well come on. they must have as much survival instinct as I... they wouldn't fish out the oceans, would they?

  •  Dialectic Appraoch To Obama? Ask A LaRouchie (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nowhere Man

    I did a diary on the GOP's embrace of Marxist Dialectics (which really ticked off a few Marxists!).

    The thing about dialectics is that it is easily used to undermine movements rather than unite them while letting the status quo generate "false equivalence" on every issue.

    Dialectics? You're soaking in it.

    There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

    by bernardpliers on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 10:20:46 AM PST

    •  Many people do not understand the concept... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Betty Pinson, elwior

      or that it is not a concept meant to be "fully understood". No one can grasp the idea and hold it 100% of the time. The idea is not to choose one end over the other but to reach for effectiveness given the truth found at each end of a polar position. It's nice not to have to choose and sometimes this brings about solutions that cannot be seen from a black and white stance.

  •  Of course (0+ / 0-)

    this approach is very Obama-like, so I expect many of the supporters of this president will find it appealing.

    Many detractors of the president seem to find looking for common ground and compromise anathemas, so I wouldn't expect them to warm up to this approach, either.

    •  Promoting this based on experience with black and (4+ / 0-)

      white thinkers. You might be surprised where my opinions fall. Bottom line though is that synthesis would not mean that you choose a means you come to a solution that takes into account both ends of the polar at the same time. It does not choose one end over the other...

      And I disagree fully that it anesthetizes. My experience has been to come to solutions that worked, were outside the box and actually MOVED people forward.

      •  If applied, it might be helpful for the tone (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wavpeac, Sylv, elwior

        on this site, but I have some nagging doubts about it applied to meat space.  Some things are wrong and need changed, income inequality to name one.

        I also now have an earworm of Megadeth's "Dialectic Chaos" starting. :)

        •  income equality...okay..but where's the line. (5+ / 0-)

          I make more than most of the world...but I don't have health care right now. I struggle with this and find the black and white maddening here. Does income equality only apply to life in the US? Or do we look at this issue globally. On a global scale most Americans are like the 1% in relation to the rest of the India, Africa...and China. We make significantly more than the people in many of these other countries.

          In my view this must be regarded on a continuum. If I buy a lottery ticket (and I never have) am I asking to be part of the income inequality.

          for me this issue is perfect for a dialectical discussion and gets crazy making in black and white. Republicans love to take these polar issues and twist them...we would be more effective if we could see that there is value in having income inequality and that some times we are part of that sector even when we don't feel like it. Sometimes we are even striving to be part of that 1%.(even though most of us will not make it). Why do we strive for it as we "hate it" and judge it? There is a reason why folks on faux news strike a chord for the "poor millionaire". It works for a reason. It's in our best interest to understand this reason. It would improve our communication and our effectiveness to understand that there is value to maintaining the status quo...even for the poor guy.

        •  Yes, as you say zett, (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wavpeac, Shliapnikov, zett

          some things are wrong and it's important to get that first and foremost. Step one is that acknowledgement.
             The next step involves righting the wrongs, and we must also acknowledge how difficult that is.
             That means it's going to take a lot more than re-electing Obama, although the ballot box is a part of the solution. And not just Obama, but the Congress, the local elections, the recall elections, etc.
             But we've already seen in recent years that our system such as it is requires a lot more than just engaging in the political process. The real change comes from the People becoming a force that cannot be ignored.
             This is starting to happen and I believe change will happen, that it's inevitable, but only if we press forward on every front.
             I do believe that discussions are good and necessary, but that senseless arguments from entrenched positions are counterproductive and therefore foolish.

             Two enthusiastic thumbs up for this diary!

          "We the People of the United States...." -U.S. Constitution

          by elwior on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 12:55:14 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Wow - you have really missed the point of the post (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Only read 2 or your comments and both are taking sides in a pie fight.

      Please re-read, then re-read again.


  •  What do you reccommend for the young children (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    What do you reccommend for the many powerless children in a large extended family lead by two autocratic and abusive parents who maintain all power and insist on continuing their abuse (c/w not feeding and/or not housing the children) and explain this abuse as necessary and important for the well-being of all?

    "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

    by Hugh Jim Bissell on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 10:37:55 AM PST

    •  Well it depends... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Matthew D Jones

      currently I live in Nebraska, where our foster care system is ranked 49th in the country. Children are as likely to be abused and neglected in the system as in their homes. Bottom line is that abuse exists. It is not good or bad. It is. We have to deal with the reality that children are being mistreated.

      You are taking the concept of the dialectic and applying it in a black and white way to abuse...

      It might be teaching abused children how to survive their authoritarian abusive parents. Choosing effectiveness for survival. It may mean helping them survive while trying to help them get out.

      Abuse exists...judging it as good or bad, right or wrong often leaves us stuck. It has consequences that must be dealt with.

      I have spent 20 years helping survivors of childhood trauma heal...the dialectic allows them to choose to love their parents while they learn to survive the very real devastation of abuse. For some this is better than writing them off...for others it is not.

      •  The children would like to be fed and housed (0+ / 0-)

        Yes, understood; abuse exists, independent of what perception I have of the nature of abuse.

        The children in this case would like to be fed and housed.  Their avenues towards proper food and housing are being blocked by the abusive parents.

        So are you suggesting the childfen should be taught to live without food and shelter?

        Or you are suggesting the children should be helped but who is that helper?  In this case, those we might imagine as the helper are the ones unapologetically perpetrating the abuse.

        Telling me and the other children who are routinely abused in this dysfunctional family we call America that we should learn to go without food and shelter and learn to stop judging our circumstances as painful is cold comfort indeed.  

        "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

        by Hugh Jim Bissell on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 11:07:56 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's clearly not what I said... (0+ / 0-)

          The dialectic provides that people are going without food and shelter. and all the truth that exists about this. It also says that people need food and shelter to survive. People are living without food and shelter and people need food and shelter to survive. The current government is blocking some people from finding solutions to this problem. Do we stop looking for synthesis? No, synthesis does not suggest that something is good or accepts the problem and looks for an effective solution. What do we do about the fact that people are going without food and shelter.

          We have options...

          We can donate money.
          Take them into our homes if we can afford it.
          We can donate our talents and supplies.

          There are solutions...we can go around the government. The dialectic helps us solve the problem of food and shelter so we don't get stuck in discussions about the government being all good or all bad.

          •  We have few options (4+ / 0-)

            The corporatocracy (the abuseive parents cited above) require that I and others spend all my money, time, energy, talents, etc feeding the gluttony of the corporatocracy.  I have no money to donate, nor home into which I can take another, nor time or energy to donate.  All my resources have already been expended.

            Indeed, this is by the design of the corporatocracy to maintain its grasp on power by weakening all others.

            And while I agree with you that there exist shades beyond black vs. white or good vs. evil, the practicalities of providing food and shelter for the many in the face of the mechanisms of the corporatocracy overwhelm even the benefits of a dialectic discussion.

            Your adult self was able to cope with your husband's alcoholism.  But your childhood self could not escape the abuse of the all-powerful "care-givers"  All the DBT in the world was powerless to spare you that.  

            DBT may have helped you after the fact; to recover from the trauma of an abusive upbringing.  So DBT may be helpful in that regard.  But it is incorrect to pretend a dialectic is the end-all-and be-all.

            Once all the talking was done, you still had to take action to spare your children from the worst of an abusive situation.

            "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

            by Hugh Jim Bissell on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 11:38:59 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I don't pretend it is the end all be all... (0+ / 0-)

              that would be black and white. LOL!

              It doesn't solve the problem of abuse as it happens. It does help heal the consequences of abuse. although it may help solve the problem of abuse...children do it all the time as they survive abuse.

              •  Back to your orginal point (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                wavpeac, Catte Nappe

                Back to your orginal point about how to talk politics with those who have differing opinions,  I agree entirely that limiting discussions only to good and bad gets in the way of communication and understanding.

                My neighbors are as rabdily conservative as I am ardently liberal, and we talk a lot, but I never tell them that they are wrong.  I only say; this is my understanding of the facts and this is what I think about them.  They tell me how they see the facts and what they think.  Yes, there is some teasing, but we actually enjoy these conversations: neither of us is trying to conquer the other.

                I point out these discussions take place face-to-face.  The internet allows for a more uncensored exchange, and this might account for some of the nastiness you write about.  

                "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

                by Hugh Jim Bissell on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 12:07:10 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

  •  A Binary Choice (6+ / 0-)

    Well, the thing is, eventually people have to make a Yes or No choice about Obama. Will I support him despite his failings, or will I oppose him even though he's done some good things? I think it's healthy for progressives to explore those arguments, and I'm not sure your approach does anything other than call down a Broder-like plague on both houses. We should be kind and respectful to our fellow progressives who disagree with us, but the point of our involvement is to make this a better country, not to avoid disagreement and unpleasantness.

    •  binary choice for vote but not interaction (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      surfbird007, Betty Pinson

      For instance, I may choose to vote Obama and fight all his policy that I disagree with tooth and nail...sparing no amount of criticism. Or I may choose not to vote for Obama at all...and try a new president.

      There are many variables in our interaction with voting. Yes, the vote itself is binary but support has multiple levels and paths.

  •  Well, the problem is in the model in our heads (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annieli, Kurt from CMH, Shliapnikov

    This isn't an academic exerices.  Real consequences come from who wins or loses an election that might make somebody rich or turn somebody else into a hopeless victim.  

    Things that are on the line that matter.  The direction the country goes in.  

    Politics replaces battle that used to be conducted with axes and swords and guns.  

    We are not rational beings, and we are not as able to articulate what truly matters most to us the way we are convinced we are.  We are driven by powerful drives we are somewhat unaware of.

    I think it is proper to argue for more civility and more rational and considered approaches to this ritualized battle.

    But the hoary truth underlying the clash of interests is there.

    We live in a time that contains truths that really are frightening.  The more awareness of this that one allows oneself, the harder it is to keep raw emotion in check.

    What we are about in the long run, is to achieve a new stage in the evolution of our species.  This should be a constant concern.  I am confident that in the long run we will in fact achieve a better way of behaving.  

    hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

    by Stuart Heady on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 10:49:12 AM PST

  •  It ain't about the person. (20+ / 0-)

    I appreciate the spirit of this post. And I am deeply committed to dialectical thinking. Soren Kierkegaard is one of my heroes.

    And I really appreciate the personal story lying behind the thinking. I grieve with the suffering the poster and her family have endured and I celebrate her courage and wisdom in dealing with it.


    I think this diary goes wrong in focusing on the personal dimension of a Presidency. It ain't about the person.

    It's about the political dialectic between not just two, but multiple interest groups. And in our society, one of those groups is gaining hegemony over the others. This subverts the democratic system and empowers enormous damage.

    Right now, our political arena provides no meaningful mechanism by which other interest groups can push back against the corporatists and their willing useful idiots, the religious right. One of our 2 parties is completely subservient and the other ...

    Ah, therein lies the rub. And this is why Obama has been so profoundly damaging.

    The Democratic Party is the residence of whatever is left of the political resistance to one of the most destructive political hegemonies in world history. It is at the same time deeply corrupted and compromise by that hegemony.

    So we have 2008 and a rare political moment in which the nation clamored for change. Obama promised to lead that change. And we elected him to do it.

    Then he copped out and changed nothing. Oh, he maneuvered a bit, but he has simply not in any substantive way changed the presidency, the party, the structure of power, ... or the thinking of the American people.

    The result is profound levels of discouragement and disillusionment that raise serious questions about whether it remains even possible to reform this nation or world short of systematic meltdown. (Which is coming, folks.)

    And all of that is really, really bad. The damage is way beyond a scorecard in which we tot up Obama's "good things" and "bad things."

    Look, I like the guy to a point. I know he has done a few small things and I know that a GOP thug will be vastly worse.  I can think dialectically about HIM.

    But the damage he has done ...

    Lord. I dunno.

    As a nation, we had a shining moment of opportunity to put things back on track. Led by Obama, we failed miserably.

    I don;t know if we'll ever get another chance.

    "I'm a dweller on the threshold ..."

    by thresholder on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 10:51:53 AM PST

    •  There is value in this "damage" (0+ / 0-)

      That's the wonder of the dialectic. There is some positive to the consequences that we suffer today...when we find them, we move in a different direction than when we look at them in a black and white way. It's our can we interact with the positives of Obama and also the negatives. What is positive in the so called "damages" there a way to look at the damages that could have value for us as a democracy.

      Remember that when we are emotional we are using our primitive brain...the most brilliant mind cannot prevent this. We can remedy this with a dialectic between the primitive brain and the cognitive brain. It is in the back and forth, the confronting of judgment and theory with facts and research that brings synthesis.

      •  Institutions v Persons (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wavpeac, Clues, Shliapnikov, maxschell

        Wavpeace, I appreciate your thoughts and, in a human sense, I have instincts and priciples similar to yours.

        And I pray that your family heals. You're brave to write so frankly.

        But, again, it's about institutions. Our national and international social systems have reached a level of systemation in which it is very difficult for individual human beings to do much. The machines grind on, and the cost of challenging it all is enormous.

        Politically, we desperately need some one to lead a viable political alternative. Obama is not that person. Bernie Sanders is the closest we can get, and his leadership doesn't seem to be leading to any sort of alternative movement.

        Personally, I am most deeply despondent when I think of precisely that. Our own movement has been swallowed up by a corrupt Democratic Party ... and nothing happens. People grouse on boards like this, but no one is actually proposing a political movement that would open an actual alternative. No one has enough belief or enough willingness to pit the idea against the monster machines of the Reps, the Dems, the banks, and the corporations.

        God, these are fearsome monsters with their teeth on our throats.

        Now, as you say, the negative pole is a force in the dialectic and the wheel will turn. None of it is sustainable in any way: economically, environmentally, politically. I take some solace in knowing that these Right wing morons will ALWAYS overreach and repulse the instincts of any but the true believers. The GOP is incapable of producing credible candidates because it is incapable of resisting a headlong rush to insanity.

        But for me the question is what will happen when it all breaks down? Will there be enough democratic infrastructure and commitment in the people to handle collapsing currencies and mediate a transition to a new form of society? Or will people lapse into lizard brain demagoguery and neo-fascism? When the the food comes, will we rebuild or revert to medieval superstition and near universal enslavement? Hell, will we survive as a species?

        I dunno. The dialectical wheel of history is turning, and I fear for its verdict:


            Turning and turning in the widening gyre
            The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
            Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
            Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
            The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
            The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
            The best lack all conviction, while the worst
            Are full of passionate intensity.

            Surely some revelation is at hand;
            Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
            The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
            When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
            Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
            A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
            A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
            Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
            Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

            The darkness drops again but now I know
            That twenty centuries of stony sleep
            Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
            And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
            Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

        William Butler Yeats, 1919


        "I'm a dweller on the threshold ..."

        by thresholder on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 11:17:07 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You need not fear effectiveness... (0+ / 0-)

          You look for an effective synthesis for you. What happens next depends on how we choose to synthesize these polarities. How do we each as individuals choose to deal with this...and then how do we socially deal with this. The institutions are just structures. Anything can be restructured. It is our black and white thinking that often causes us to "feel" locked into one outcome or another. Together we create the next structure. Occupy wall street could be part of the change or maybe some other force or organization. Bottom line...the dialectic sets us free. (mindfully find solutions to what feel like double binds).

          But sometimes the hardest part is convincing the abused and traumatized mind that there is a choice and that our interactions do matter today. Balancing the dialectic of acceptance (the way things are) with change. (inevitable).

    •  How do you reconcile these statements? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wavpeac, GeeBee
      I think this diary goes wrong in focusing on the personal dimension of a Presidency. It ain't about the person.
      It's about the political dialectic between not just two, but multiple interest groups. And in our society, one of those groups is gaining hegemony over the others. This subverts the democratic system and empowers enormous damage.
      Look, I like the guy to a point. I know he has done a few small things and I know that a GOP thug will be vastly worse.  I can think dialectically about HIM.

      But the damage he has done ...

      Lord. I dunno.

      So the diary goes wrong because in your opinion, it ain't about the person (Barack Obama), it's about the special interest groups who really control things, but, it's Obama who has/is destroying the Country?
    •  Just out of curiosity, aprox how old are you? (0+ / 0-)

      I ask because I wonder how much of the politics you have followed over the last several years.  I have seen nothing but destructive policies for the last 30 years.

      I didn't see much of what I wanted with this WH admin, but I did see some progress. There has been very little of that until now. Not nearly enough, but at least some.

      And the American people need to take their share of the responsibility for who they put into office.

    •  Right on: you said it all (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      You have managed to clearly and succinctly sum up all my thinking about the president, our country and the upcoming election, and this article.

      The article is a nice review of dialectic discussion, but completely misses the point about Pres. Obama, liberal voters, and politics in America.

      My personal feelings about Pres. Obama exactly mirror yours: I like the man, and I approve of his actions as a senator, but he completely failed us as a leader of the nation.  Interestingly, in many opinion surveys, Americans in general seem to share that opinion: repeated polls suggest Americans like Pres. Obama personally even as they downgrade his presidency.

      "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

      by Hugh Jim Bissell on Wed Jan 04, 2012 at 07:22:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  this is one dialectic of Obama... (0+ / 0-)

        He's likeable but and yet, there is something unlikeable about him. He's a people pleaser...which at it's extreme polar means he can please no one...cause it's impossible to please everyone, and yet he tries so hard to do this...and fails. There is a great dialectic to explore in likeability and in effectiveness.

        •  Perhaps a better area to explore is (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Perhaps a better and more fruitful area to explore is why so many Americans seem to share the opinions of thresholder and myself that while we like and respect Pres. Obama and wish him success, we dislike and reject his actions as president.  This is not a unique view, as polls repeatedly show large segments of the American public share this opinion.

          (Please note I do not think of Obama as a "people-pleaser: those are your words, not mine.)

          Now there's a dialectic for you: what does it mean that so many Americans like and respect the man while rejecting his actions as president?

          My interpretation is (and you can stop here if you are not interested in my interpretation) that many Americans can now recognize the corruption of the institution and can recognize that the corruption of the institution is independent of the person within that institution.

          While I agree that dialectics is a wonderful tool in the treatment of persons with borderline personality disorder and addiction, it is useless in dealing with the corruption of a institution.  For after all (as I alluded to in my previous comments to this article), the institution has NO interest in a dialog with the citizens.

          "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

          by Hugh Jim Bissell on Wed Jan 04, 2012 at 10:33:44 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  synthesis being the dynamic result of dialectic (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    we learn to resolve conflict in the moment when thesis meets antithesis, such as empathizing with the Stanford U. field goal kicker.

    Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above"Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) "Sciant terra viam monstrare."

    by annieli on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 10:52:29 AM PST

  •  I know this comes from "Us v Them" thinking but... (6+ / 0-)

    I don't feel that I ever focus on Staying or Going. I feel that many of the President's strongest critics here go way out of their way to insist that they will not be Going, just to keep that from being the only topic of discussion.

    From my own point of view, the question of Staying or Going is used as a wedge by the President's supporters to change the subject from substantive criticism to matters of loyalty and Adult-ness.

    •  That could be... (0+ / 0-)

      that's why that kind of dichotomy doesn't work. The same is true when living with an alcoholic sometimes as well. The discussion to leave or stay puts all the focus on the alcoholic...and keeps us distracted from dealing with the reality of the problem and the changes we must face in ourselves to live with the reality of the problem.

      Which supports the idea that where those of us who can...or want to, use the dialectic...that is try to refrain from black and white positions or false dichotomies...the discussion is elevated and moved.

      We can't control the whole discussion but we can be committed to uncovering the dichotomies...and trying to find dialectical solutions or synthesis.

    •  I think both sides are guilty (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I feel like everybody comes to this site with the intent to convince others to do something, when all I want is an honest and diverse discussion of what's going on, regardless of the impact.

      Whether an event helps or hurts your cause, I want to know what you really think.

      Snarka snarka snarka!

      by Hunter Huxley on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 12:17:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think that's a crucial distinction. It's not a.. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Hunter Huxley

        coincidence that critics of the President are regularly told to put their broader human considerations back into the electoral box and remember their options all boil down to a binary decision. They're told that the emotions they express are theatrical, excessive, misplaced, childish, and maybe even racist.

        I think people need to consider the vague possibility that the President's loudest, angriest critics really mean it.

  •  I really like your approach. (10+ / 0-)

    I'm one of these Kossacks who tends to praise the President where praise is due, and criticize or express concern when I feel it is due. You're very right that none of this is black and white. I once surprised my father's wife when she said "your problem is that you can't find one good thing to say about George W. Bush" with the answer "Yes, I can find exactly one good thing: GWB understands the fact that migrant labor is important to the US economy. It's the one thing he learned being gov. of Texas, and I have to give him credit for bucking his own party on immigration and having learned something in Texas". I stand by that. I didn't support his take on this 100 percent because what he was proposing would have created a permanent underclass, but he was moving in the right direction with it. To me, it actually showed me that while he was in many ways a tool of his masters, he wasn't completely stupid.

    I knew what I was getting when I voted for Obama. Was I excited when he won? Of course I was. Was I excited when I was asked to give my reactions on election night to the ORF (Austrian State Broadcasting)? Of course! Did I think that Obama was going to be some kind of Christ figure? Of course I didn't. I campaigned for Edwards, for heaven's sake.

    So, I'm not as disappointed as some but am disappointed none the less, but I also think that he should be given his due.

    No matter what you think about the Occupy movement, it's the beginning of a total re-alignment, a global one. While I will vote for the President again, I also realize that he and other establishment politicians will become increasingly irrelevant. We can no longer exert the power of the people through our franchise, because the choices we are given are bought and paid for before they ever show up on a ballot. Only by eliminating money from the process will elections again become truly relevant. We are in the beginning phases of this realignment, revolution really, and the death rattle of the establishment grows louder by the day.

    Santorum: Man on Dog; Romney: Dog on Car.

    by commonmass on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 11:07:09 AM PST

    •  commonmass: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Matthew D Jones, wavpeac

      Like you I supported another candidate.  A while ago I started thinking about it and realized that things would have been not much different had Hillary or Edwards won.  I totally agree with the Occupy movement being a beginning on a global basis.  I heard an interesting discussion about eliminating money from the process and came away thinking that that has to be our focus.

  •  Here's the thing though (5+ / 0-)

    we will have a very real "dialectic" choice come this Fall between two people, Obama and the republican candidate.

    There aren't going to be any viable alternatives to those two individuals. Call it pragmatism or realistic thinking or logic, but at the end of the day, we have to pick between two versions.

    Certainly you are correct, the ideal version or even the version we think should be is not what Obama is. You are also correct that the version of what Obama is, is grossly better than the version of whomever the other side nominates (the statements of some on here notwithstanding).

    So, yes, there is truth on both sides. I don't think the "Pro" Obama folks disagree with that. The focus however is that we have the selection we have. We may wish it were different, but it isn't and it won't be.

    And the reality is that the only viable alternative to Obama will be a horrendous result for this country. There are a plethora of differences across the board.

    So this argument about whether or not Obama is progressive enough, or heck even progressive seems to me both out of place and fairly irrelevant. The time to come up with a primary opponent has passed and there never was a viable candidate anyways.

    Seems to me, it's time to focus on the next election and determine the better of two possible courses, not spend time wishing we had a third course.

    After, we can then again focus on who we want to support in 2016. Maybe someone we feel or believe is more progressive than Obama. But at this point, not only is this all very very repetitive, but I do not see the point or relevance of these Obama sucks/no he doesn't pie fights.

    Not when the alternative is so batcrap crazy.

    •  The vote binary is a false dichotomy. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shaharazade, ladyjames

      We have lots of ways to influence our situations besides just voting. And reality does not end with a vote. There will be a choice between candidates...and a president will be chosen but our need to influence the system will not stop there. It is not black and white.

      For instance, we can give money to Ron Paul and vote Obama.

      Or we vote Obama and criticize him loudly.

      We can not vote until we change campaign funding.

      There are a variety of options within the polarity of vote this way or that.

      Make sense? If we look at it from black and white we feel alot more anxious about exerting a control over the outcome. If we see all the variety in influencing our situation...we might not worry so much about votes.

      •  Just lost me (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Escamillo, I give in to sin

        Can't go along with giving money to Ron Paul.

      •  no it isnt (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        it's a real choice, a binary choice. And you know saying well I'll vote for him while continually and loudly criticizing him for the entire election isn't exactly something that has no impact.

        In fact you are trying to have an impact when you loudly and continuously criticize him. Otherwise, you are just throwing out a collection of words meaninglessly.

        Not voting is also something that has an effect on a binary election.

        This isn't about black or white, but please don't pretend that not voting for Obama or spending the entire election attacking him is somehow not going to have an affect on whether one of two people get elected this Fall.

        I get that everything isn't black and white, but everything isn't gray either.

  •  i take the passive agressive route here (10+ / 0-)

    I agree with everyones reason for feeling the way THEY feel about Obama and then I say I am voting for him anyway because the repubs are CRAZY.  :)

    "Orwell was an optimist"

    by KnotIookin on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 11:10:54 AM PST

  •  Ignoring, of course, the alternative to Obama. (14+ / 0-)

    Some of us would rather bash Republicans than Obama.  Quite frankly, we're sick of the focus on one man rather than the larger system.

    There is no point to debating the guy anymore.  The choice is whether we go back to 2001-2007 or not.  If people don't share that basic perception, they are not allies.

    "[R]ather high-minded, if not a bit self-referential"--The Washington Post.

    by Geekesque on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 11:11:46 AM PST

  •  Not Wreck Listed. (0+ / 0-)

    Community Spotlight.

    As best I can tell, unless you were a "blip" and even then, your diary would have been auto tagged and there ain't no "recommended" tag on the diary.

    Interesting piece, well composed and adds some actual intelligence to the otherwise stooopidity that's driven by The Usual Suspects here at Teh Orange when it comes to hatin'.

    "I'm not writing to make conservatives happy. I want them to hate my opinions. I'm not interested in debating them. I want to stop them." - Steve Gilliard

    by grog on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 11:12:45 AM PST

  •  Hmmm... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    output, splintersawry

    I don't see much point in this.  I read it because the title was interesting and it was in Community Spotlight.

    The reason I don't find this useful for me is that I don't have a problem with the pro-Obama people.  They're not the problem.  The problem is the White House and the Democratic Party leadership and the things they are doing.  I don't matter.  Nobody here matters.  Any conflicts that arise in the diaries are just people shooting the breeze.

    I was just accused in a comment in another diary of subtly trying to suppress the vote for Obama through my complaints about him.  No, I'm not.  But I don't take such an accusation too personally because I know that my lack of support matters more to THAT person than HIS support of Obama means to me.  

    I suspect many of us who complain about Obama feel the same way.

  •  Tipped and recced (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wavpeac, Sylv, output, ladyjames

    Good discussion.
    But I don't think this is about Obama to the majority of people on this site.
    I think it's about the Democratic Party, what it stands for and who it is meant to protect.

    We focus on Obama because he's the leader of the party that took over after a long slog through lies, fear, death, wars, and erosion of rights that set us back mightily. Under his watch the only party that had any chance of doing the things that needed doing YESTERDAY continued to falter, not solely because of him and what he does or does not achieve, but because of what so very many of our elected Democratic officials choose to place meaning in.
    I don't think Jesus could cut through that.

    Here is the truth: The Earth is round; Saddam Hussein did not attack us on 9/11; Elvis is dead; Obama was born in the United States; and the climate crisis is real. It is time to act. - Al Gore

    by Burned on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 11:24:58 AM PST

    •  The dialectic applied to democrat vs republican (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Burned, Chitown Kev

      Yields another interesting discussion. Faux news does it all the time...they find the positives of these policies and then spotlight them...(republican policies) and take them all the way to the extreme or polar. It works well for black and white thinkers. It's effective in some ways and not in others...Absolutes eventually are discredited because they cannot be true in absolute form..and eventually people see and experience this.

      •  I'm just looking for truth in spirit and action. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        It's simple. Does it help or hurt?
        Pretty sure that would get us where we need to be.
        Thanks for the diary. I think it is misapplied but I liked your personal story and how you got through a confusing time.

        Here is the truth: The Earth is round; Saddam Hussein did not attack us on 9/11; Elvis is dead; Obama was born in the United States; and the climate crisis is real. It is time to act. - Al Gore

        by Burned on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 11:37:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I hope your diary helps at least a few people here (6+ / 0-)

    I've been trying essentially to say that while Obama has done some really good things, historic accomplishments,  he also seems to drop a real turd in the punch bowl now and then.  

    That said, while he may be a bum, he's our bum.  At least for now.  Sure we can push him and we should, but don't forget the 2012 election is coming up.  Lob enough crap and we could wind up losing the house, the senate and the presidency.

    I acknowledge the truth at both ends.    I'd like to make the point that the time to replace "our guy" is during the primaries.   For better or worse, we are not going to primary Obama.  

    So for those of you who want to get the money out and take control back from the corporatists,  right now maybe Obama is not the right target.   Hit that target hard enough and you'll be fighting Romney or someone worse next year.

    Target the house and the senate.  Target governors.  
    Continue to make your points.   Let them all know that you can't detain Americans indefinately without trial.  etc.

    Give Obama his second term.  Give him and all of us a democratic house and senate.  THEN push like hell.  
    Then see how much we can accomplish.   Lets keep the car out of the ditch.

    Prove me wrong and I'll change my mind.

    by willbjett on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 11:27:34 AM PST

  •  Here's what's true: all that matters is that (0+ / 0-)

    the Democrats keep the Senate and the White House. Obama is "good" to the extent that he furthers that cause (which means, so far, he has been very, very bad!). And of course the reason Democratic success is so important is because they are so "good" compared to the alternative: a Republican Party ready to lead the nation and world into a new Dark Age.

    In the end, Obama will be judged based on the outcome of the next election. If he loses, he'll be remembered as a complete failure, the worst Democratic president ever, the man who turned the country over to barbarians. If he wins, he'll have a chance to be great.

    This election is nothing less than the Shire against the Orcs.  If Obama loses, we'll have war, pestilence, famine, and death, quite literally. Republicans hate art, they hate science, they hate culture, and they hate charity. Basically, they hate life and humanity. Obama's failure to deal with this reality could be everybody's undoing.

    If I knew it was comin', I could pull a jet plane.--Reggie Jackson

    by LongTom on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 11:36:27 AM PST

  •  Obama is far from perfect but I'm voting for him (7+ / 0-)

    anyway, and donating and volunteering.  There is no realistic alternative.  Detractors can detract all they like but that is not going to produce a realistic alternative to Barack Obama this year.

    That, to me, is the bottom line.  If people can't hold their nose and vote for the one guy in the race who is not a complete lunatic, I really just wouldn't know what to say to them, dialectic or otherwise.  They are beyond reach.

    •  And yet, there is value in detracting... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Just as there if value in your position to support him fully.

      •  Not if it helps a Republican win, no. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wavpeac, Diogenes2008

        Then, detracting is akin to taking a shotgun, pointing it at your foot, and pulling the trigger.

        •  another created false dichotomy. (4+ / 0-)

          It's not the end of the world...if a republican gets elected. It may be the beginning of the true revolt for all we know. I can't do the awfulizing anymore. And trust me...I hated bush...and felt it was the end of the world at the time. But today I have to admit that it wasn't. Yep bad stuff happened but today I see that alot of it had been happening for a long time...and that the problem is bigger than one president or one party.

          •  Good points (4+ / 0-)

            Criticizing Obama is not akin to helping Republicans win.  There are many instances in the past when incumbent Dem presidents faced a great deal of public criticism, but won re-election by large margins.

            Voters don't make decisions about re-electing a president based on someone else's criticism.  If they've been paying attention, they've already formed their own opinion about the incumbent, based on his/her record to date.

            Criticism from one's own peers can be healthy, a good barometer by which to gauge popular opinion about important issues.  It helped FDR and many other good Dems change course and govern better.

            "I'll believe corporations are people when Texas executes one."

            by Betty Pinson on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 11:54:04 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Wavepeac, I like how you gently but insistently (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wavpeac, Catte Nappe

            Keep circling  back to reminding people that their dualistic black/white mentalities don't encompass the breadth of human experience. Maybe this should be obvious already, but the fact it's not does account for a lot of the suffering that humanity has inflicted on itself.

            Someone wrote up-thread that the Obama presidency has been "profoundly damaging" for America - personally I find statements like these hyperbolic and panicky in the extreme. As an Obama supporter that acknowledges some fairly big mistakes, I just cannot do anything but roll my eyes when I hear how damaging Obama has been... sounds exactly like a right-wing talking point, or one uttered by a person that perhaps does not remember the eight years under G.W. Bush.  I'm just being honest about the way I feel about those kinds of comments.

            If I were having a face-to-face conversation with such a person, however, I would do my best to try and keep an open mind and try to understand exactly why they believe this. Intellectually, I can understand being disappointed in Obama, or having a big problem with one of his policies. I just can't comprehend the need to make a hyperbolic, doomsday statement to bolster one's point.

            •  Any maybe a discussion could begin by asking (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              explain to me how this president has inflicted damage on you? It might be interesting to hear the depth of the pain which would help with understanding all that hyperbolicity (new word?)

              For instance...profoundly damaging...I can see truth in this. I am someone who has a predatory loan. I got the loan while my husband was drinking and kicked out. Our landlord decided to sell our home and I was in the middle of a custody battle with my ex over my two oldest boys who were 12 and 14 at the time. I got a sub prime loan in 2001. I had never heard the term. At the time, I had a credit rating of 750 average. I went to about five banks...wells fargo, gmac, american national, bank of america...(get the idea?) At any rate every single one told me that because there was only one income (not entirely true since I had child support AND many men buy houses all by themselves) that I would not qualify for a regular loan. I didn't know what sub prime meant. really. I got a 30 year fixed loan. At any rate I have spent 10 years fighting for my home. To lose my house feels profoundly damaging to my family. To fear it, profoundly damaging to my health...

              Because Obama has not held the banks like GMAC accountable for illegal behavior. (have many diaries listing such illegal behavior now supported by new stories of this behavior every day...from escrow account manipulations, to fees to cash my checks, to refusing to give me a payment history.)

              For me, Obama could feel profoundly damaging. I had hoped he would hold them accountable not bail them out. When he bailed out made our class action suit null and void. (they were bankrupt the govt would get paid back first..the lawyers dropped the case).

              I am not saying that I agree with such a dramatic statement...but I did feel invalidated by your inability to see that their could be truth in that experience of "profound damage".

              My husband is unemployed. I lost my job of 12 years. We are without health care right now as I am supporting our family in my new self employment working toward being able to afford health care. We have a bad loan and they have not been held accountable and continue to practice their illegal behaviors.

              It's not what he's done, perhaps but what hasn't been done.

              Honestly...i don't feel as strongly as this comes hope though was to make the point that some people could experience the Obama administration as "profoundly damaging" and that there might be truth in that polar.

              Hope you catch my drift...and don't get caught in the context...

              •  I understand completely (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                And your concrete example only bolsters your argument.  Hard to disagree there.

                On the other hand, you were going out of your way to express your understanding that, while an action Obama took directly (or failed to take) could have dire consequences for one family, probably many, you yourself did not necessarily agree that it was the end of the world. Even if it was (and is) profoundly damaging, you knew that it did not need to mean a catastrophic loss for you and your family.

                Your more-inclusive understanding is implied in your answer, but I think that one of the most important things you managed to do there, was to separate emotion from reason. Sure, you may have been (and possibly are) very disappointed, hurt by this effect. But you can still retain enough objectivity to find a way through it all, and most importantly, you know that the "end result" does not have to be negative... that even in the middle of crisis, a way forward can be found.

        •  unless your feet are evil (0+ / 0-)

          Then it is akin to putting on a pair of comfortable shoes.

          Snarka snarka snarka!

          by Hunter Huxley on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 12:20:09 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Maybe it works better (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shaharazade, ladyjames

      if we leave the 'loyalty oath" out of the discussion.  It tends to be polarizing and distracts.

      Perhaps it would be best to just assume, for the sake of argument, the Dems here will still vote for Obama, even those who criticize him.  Making accusations against others just inflames and angers people.

      Sound ok?

      "I'll believe corporations are people when Texas executes one."

      by Betty Pinson on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 11:49:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  "Both sides carry truth both sides carry nontruth" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe, sviscusi, TomP

    the problem is, hardly anyone involved in the pie fighting actually believes this truism.

    and when you break down the actual arguments, you'll get even less people agreeing that both sides carry truth.

    people mean their own thoughts when the talk about 'truth' on here anyway, more often than not.

    This comment is dedicated to my mellow Adept2U and his Uncle Marcus

    by mallyroyal on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 11:43:05 AM PST

  •  Could we do this with Democrats and Republicans (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:


    •  absolutely... (0+ / 0-)

      and I think we would learn alot from the discussion. Today almost every time I try to take an absolute position I am floored by the truth...which is never absolute.

      The sun just isn't good or bad.
      alcoholism isn't just good or bad. not good or bad.
      flies aren't good or bad.

      Nothing on this earth exists solely at one end of the polar..

      •  I dunno (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wavpeac, shaharazade

        Alcohol maybe is not good or bad, but I fail to see any of the upsides to alcoholism.

        •  My husband has been a gift to me... (0+ / 0-)

          I learned to change my views about the disease. I learned to change myself instead of him. I learned to let him go and found him there. There is so much we learn from this disease. If you ever get a chance...sit in on an alanon meeting or an AA meeting and you will find the dialectic of addiction there. It's an amazing and beautiful thing. Do you know that AA exists in literally every single country...that is principles and traditions work in every culture across the world?

          There is something really amazing about the fact that dealing with this disease is not an american thing...the pain of this disease is the same, the patterns of the disease are the same, the effects on the family are's pretty amazing. Maybe addiction was not sent to destroy us...maybe it will...but maybe addiction was sent to force us to find peace within.

    •  We should (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Although I think the way the media covers issues makes it very difficult to do so.

      from a bright young conservative: “I’m watching my first GOP debate…and WE SOUND LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE!!!!”

      by Catte Nappe on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 11:56:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The approach you describe fits this situation very well.  It provides the essential tools to allow Democrats to move forward towards a better government, better leaders and a renewed commitment to our vision as a party.  

    This kind of polarization is new to Dem politics at the national level.  I hadn't seen polarization of the 2008 election since the 60's, when the party was divided over the Vietnam War.

    Thanks for the diary, its much needed.  Tipped, recc'd and bookmarked.

    "I'll believe corporations are people when Texas executes one."

    by Betty Pinson on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 11:45:09 AM PST

  •  The man's never hurt me, and his policies (13+ / 0-)

    have directly lent a hand to my family, friends, parents and community. The Great Lakes are getting much needed conservation funding. Muskegon Lake is cleaner to the tune of 10 million dollars in decontamination funding. They've revitalized an industry and pushed it toward electric cars.

    The retort is often: "So you got yours..."

    I haven't heard a lot from folks targeted and injured by the Obama administration. While I know folks helped.

    I HAVE heard a lot from folks directly targeted by the Snyder administration. I know some of them.

    The aggressive damage I'm seeing isn't coming from our president. The aggressive damange I'm seeing is coming from the Governor. 600 families lost their only means of support here, hundreds lost their food assistance, every small middle class family in the state lost their child tax credit, and hard working poor people lost their earned income tax credit, and retirees are now seeing their pensions taxed...

    ...I know a little girl who in foster care who lost her food assistance benefits because she has a trust fund set up for her, inaccessible until she's an adult. But since she has "assets" she no longer gets state assistance.

    •  great example of the need for dialectic (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Muskegon Critic, Chitown Kev

      She has wealth she can't get to. lives in both polars at the same time. What would be synthesis...what would be effective to interact with this reality works better sometimes that determining the right and wrong of it. what needs to be done. What is the solution given this truth?

      •  I contacted my State Rep and gave her (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Catte Nappe, Chitown Kev

        and earful cuz she f-in' VOTED for that dumbass State law.

        She asked me to get the contact information for the foster parents and have them call her to see if it can be resolved. I haven't heard much back on that matter.

      •  I love your explanation of dialectic (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I wish I had known you 17 years ago when I was dealing with the alcholic / abusive husband.
        I woke up a couple of mornings ago revisiting how I could have dialetically handled that time in my life.
        I would have taken the kids out or figured some way to avoid the arguments which escalated.
        My oldest's only childhood memory is of one of those polar moments.  I regret it everyday and try to work with her to remember the good times.

        Do you recommend a good book to help kids learn this technique?

  •  Or a utilitarian approach. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Betty Pinson, Catte Nappe

    Underlying each side's position, motives and modus argumentum is the GOAL.

    We can argue the matter of Obama's strength's and weaknesses in many ways, and come to different conclusions about our support ... depending on our individual goal.

    If your goal is to re-elect a Democratic president, then your position is straightforward, and all that remains is your approach. If your goal is advancing progressive causes, then you must decide whether supporting the president will advance or hinder that goal.

  •  Are you from another planet? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Betty Pinson, Catte Nappe

    Are you suggesting that politics can be discussed in a rational and adult way? Why aren't there more of you?

    By coincidence we were discussing the quality of political discourse here at the homestead this morning.  Someone emailed someone else a link to an ACLU article and before it was even read insults were being traded.  Foxwatcher. Brainwashed. Koolaid drinker. Obamabot. Kelly Clarkson fan.

    Does anyone know how to make a sound and reasonable argument for what they believe?  How about making a sound, reasonable and convincing argument for something that you oppose?  

    Coincidence that a lot of what you say in this beautiful diary is already in my mind today.  How do people escape from intellectual timidity.  Even better.  Turn it the other way.

    How to encourage and help people to be more bold.  To be bigger.  To be solid.  

    "Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves." - Abraham Lincoln

    by leftreborn on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 12:06:01 PM PST

  •  I don't think it's black and white thinking (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Escamillo, SouthernBelleNC49

    as in one way or the other... I have noticed that detractors tend to view life much differently than people like myself who see the negative but realize that there will always be things that we don't like about actions taken by the President no matter who it is... we tend to weigh the good against the bad and focus on what we like rather than what we don't like.

    I think that, in general, there are a lot of people that have a negative view of the world as a habit. They look and see the things they don't like and work to change them... and I think that this is a positive thing, personally, since it is driving positive behavior...

    However, I don't see any sense in the bullshit that get's put in diaries here that don't do anything but detract from the ultimate goal... I have read diaries and comments from people here who have espoused the utmost stupidity of helping Barack Obama to lose in 2012 in some hope that Progressives will win in 2016. THAT pisses me off.

  •  What an excellent post! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chitown Kev, TomP, joanbrooker

    This is a perfect example of the civility that kos has been trying to encourage, and that we need to re-elect Obama.

    I'll keep this post in mind when it comes time to nominate diary of the year.

    Enthusiastically recommended.

  •  I found this idea interesting: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Betty Pinson
    This is what happens when we focus on synthesis over imaginary static positions at the polar end of a discussion.

    Sadly, because I don't think the synthesis approach is one to which folks naturally gravitate, without 'counselors' involved in the discussion, the emotions of the polarity seem sure to drown out any voice of synthesis.

    Anyhow, it's an interesting proposition, and a very interesting diary.

    Ideas do have a certain capacity for taking on an infectious quality, as explored in the film Inception. Thanks for sharing this one.

    "Plan for the normal, live with the abnormal." Great gardening advice from Frankenoid (equally applicable to relationships).

    by surfbird007 on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 12:12:22 PM PST

  •  Interesting, very good diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Perhaps even necessary, esp. around these parts. Reminds me of an old roommate I had, a Philosophy major - he "introduced" me to Socrates and Plato and their dialectic - not necessarily the exact same thing the OP writes about, but quite related anyway.

    The problem with a dialectic approach to understanding reality is that there has to be a willingness from the participants to move toward truth and away from untruth, even if this may mean discarding one's positions along the way, and especially if it means going down some "scary" roads (scary because they force you to leave the comfort of your usual paradigm).

    Many people are more interested in being right than in understanding more. This is a folly of the ego - that petty, small part in all of us that perceives the word through a largely dualistic, and incredibly fear-motivated prism. Thus, to many being right is important, even if the world at large is scary and there are many things to fear, because to the ego, holding on to one's positions and wanting to be "right" provides a very basic form of psychological comfort, even if it is ultimately a totally ephemeral and thus unreal comfort.

    •  True...but working with survivors of trauma has (0+ / 0-)

      helped me to help others to see that much our pain comes from not being able to accept the truth of a situation. That the double bind may be comforting in some ways but causes suffering as well. As people begin to see how refusing to accept causes pain...and how absolutes create pain and confusion...they readily choose to feel better. It's a lot of fun to see the effect of using the dialectic with these clients. It's very freeing as they catch on...but the beginning is often kind of scary.

      •  I think I understand what you mean (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wavpeac, Catte Nappe, joanbrooker

        Without being able to claim to have endured a difficult situation on the scale of living with an alcoholic husband. I do live with an alcoholic brother, though, so maybe I have some idea.

        I think the core of what you're referring to, when you talk about helping others, is the part about moving into the heart of your own personal pain and finding comfort, peace and strength there. Many people, when this possibility is raised, cannot even conceive of it, or they find it confusing, or impossible to attain. And yet, as you point out, it's denial and resistance that is the main cause of pain - not the actual situation itself. There are no good or bad situations - only our responses to a given situation. Pain stems from resistance and denial of what-is — relief and empowerment begin when the person acknowledges that being in the space of their pain, their discomfort, etc. does not need to amount to the "unbearable hell" that the mind often imagines (but the mind must at some point learn to disengage from the vicious cycle where it feeds itself negativity, thus perpetuating the pain!)

  •  As Old Ben said: Only Siths think in absolutes. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    We Won

    Mix the blood and make new people!

    by Yonkers Boy on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 12:33:58 PM PST

  •  Some of us have known all along. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Obama is not bad or good. He is both.

    So knowing that Obama is not all bad (and much better than the opposition), I have decided to vote for him again. But that's where my loyalty ends. My money and my time will not be spent on President Obama any more. He can look to his friends on Wall Street for assistance instead.

    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

    by HairyTrueMan on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 12:40:24 PM PST

  •  You're valiant but, respectfully, you overstate. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    You wrote:

    "We could likely argue ways that he is the best president and ways that he is the worst. There is truth in each end of that discussion.  He is a mixture of both. He has done "good" things. He has done "bad" things. He has done "positive" things and "harmful" things. And the same argument could likely be made about every other president in history."

    I vigorously favor President Obama, but I do not think he is the "best" president, nor do I believe he thinks so. And I do not know any person, even the most rock-solid Republican (fate has caused me to have many Republican friends; it builds character!) , who thinks he is the "worst." You switch language interchangeably - best/good - bad/worst. You hedge hedge these conclusory statements with "we could likely argue ways" validates patently false premises, a heckuva way to start a search for truth, dialectic style or not. There isn't any meaningful "truth in [either end] of that discussion."

    Much as I have inveighed against polarization in politics, particularly in Congress which must actually get some important things done, I don't think polarity as harmful as you obviously do. In Hunter's "I Am Phoning in This Essay" (posted on DK this New Year's day), he skewered just such a truth-between-extremes premise:

    "When in doubt, presume both sides are wrong and that the answer is, regardless of actual facts, statistics, logic, morality, history, or ideology, smack dab in the middle of what all the other people are saying. The magic of this stance is that it literally requires absolutely no research whatsoever: It also shields the writer from being seen as taking sides, or even of having an actual opinion."

    The problem isn't that there are two sides (or more!) vigorously marshaling facts, opinions and logic for their position(s). The problem occurs - I think you'd agree - when one or both sides won't budge to action, when they think the only way to have it is all or nothing. As in, a government small enough to drown in a bathtub. Pundits, pledge-seekers and midnight bull-session artists can afford such a stalemate, but public officials cannot. At least, not the way it was practiced in the House of Representatives and often in the Senate in 2011.

    So let's face realistic extremes, if we must, in the name of having an interesting dialog, but be pre-disposed to understanding and conciliation when things have to actually get accomplished.

    Obama and strong Democratic majorities in 2012!

    by TRPChicago on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 12:42:04 PM PST

    •  I have heard "many" (3 or more) republicans state (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Catte Nappe

      that Obama is the "worst" president ever. And to not realize that there is this strong polar sentiment...leaves out a part of the truth. Agreed in regard to the different polarities. The way you would formally do this is to make a list of as many polar positions as possible and then begin finding truth in each position to form a dialectical synthesis...for the sake of brevity which increases confusion...(a polar) I mixed some of these polarities in the discussion...this is true...and true it can be confusing.

      That said...there are people who truly do believe Obama is the best pres...I think there was a diary with that title a few days ago. And there are absolutely republicans...and maybe a few dems who believe him to the the worst.

      You may not see him in this polar way. Your personal synthesis maybe different...but when interacting with others it may help to be aware that people have opinions that do reach to each end of the polar good and bad, best and worst in regard to Obama.

      •  Fair response! (0+ / 0-)

        But I was weaned on a debate style that held as a bedrock principle that you researched, learned and could succinctly and fairly state the best case your opponent could possibly make. Doing so improved your own arguments and made for a better debate.

        Having to start at the extremes of opinions that are unfounded doesn't, I respectfully suggest, help anyone understand anything. "One could argue" is just too lean a start to a meaningful discussion.

        Obama and strong Democratic majorities in 2012!

        by TRPChicago on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 12:57:13 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, you could try it to see.... (0+ / 0-)

          before assuming that there is no value in the assume that it's not going to contribute to a meaningful black and white.

          •  "No value"? I didn't say that. (0+ / 0-)

            I just think starting at polar extremes validates the nuts' view on both sides. Let 'em talk for a while, and if reason works after that venting, go for it.

            I would call it out for what it is - unreasonable - but if starting that way ends up with more understanding and a workable consensus, go for it, tiger. I'll be there to salute you and The Dialectic.

            But forgive me for thinking that when you start out by validating the extremes, you wind up with John Boehner able to say he got 98% of what he wanted, and what he got ... went Nowhere.

            Obama and strong Democratic majorities in 2012!

            by TRPChicago on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 04:53:46 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  I'm afraid it's true, TRPChicago (0+ / 0-)

        Surely you must know that many, MANY Republicans do believe, down to their very core, that Obama really is basically the downfall of America. Hell, many progressives apparently believe it... I find this to be a very paranoid and fear-based polarization of the truth. Yes, Obama may not be the best President ever, but he is far from the worst - and yet the "worst" is what many do believe him to be, even if that belief is much more informed by perception and emotion than fact.

  •  I think you're just wrong. (0+ / 0-)

    Every time that approach has been tried, Obama has further shoved the progressives--the only force that can save the human race--even further away.

    •  I think you misread the diary (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      As I read it, this isn't about how to approach Obama in an attempt to change his policies. It's about how to approach the topic of Obama (and other topics) in a respectful and productive way among ourselves; and perhaps to find a more diverse range of ways to deal with policies besides lauding/castigatig one man.

      from a bright young conservative: “I’m watching my first GOP debate…and WE SOUND LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE!!!!”

      by Catte Nappe on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 01:29:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This sounds like (0+ / 0-)

    a failed attempt at sound reasoning.  

    That is, assuming that one of the diaries you are referencing was the one that said Obama was the best president in one persons lifetime.  

    I think that part of counseling is listening and if the person is basically stating that of the 3 presidents they were able to witness as a child to adulthood, two of which they would have paid any real attention to and most likely the second half of GWB's second term.  Reagan shouldn't count cause if you are younger than 34 you weren't paying attention when he was in office and were still in diapers during the Carter admin.  GHWB still made many of us too young and while most of us thought Bill Clinton was cool, High School, girls, and whatever things were going on in pop culture were much cooler.  Which leaves us with everything after 9/11, about ten years of presidenting.  

    So too me it sounds like using a complicated approach to these diaries is overkill at best.  The diary itself put it in to perspective and many of the threads contributors put his presidency in the same context, which had limitations and therefore avoided the best or worst ever approach.

    Ron Paul has you people shook.

    by mim5677 on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 01:09:07 PM PST

  •  not much of a dialectics guy (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wavpeac, output, aliasalias

    For the very real reason that one truth is closer to reality than the other is, always. Find me some event in history where the moral core is split exactly 50/50.


    Women's suffrage?

    Christian socialism?

    Civil Rights?


    Hell any war?

    Even though I am a marx and hegel fan, I think it's clear that Hegel was also a little crazy and not just a genius. In regards to marx I'm pretty sure his dialectical materialism idea was one of those that time was not kind to.

    History itself is always written by the victors so that truth is masked and forgotten; if farce always synthesizes with farce how will we ever get to truth?

    Now all that aside, the fiery passions are rooted in people's daily lives.

    I'm not an obama supporter, because I've been out in the streets since 2008 with the homeless. The situation has gotten forever worse with no signs of it ever getting any better or at least correcting itself so that it doesn't get worse.

    Does passing the ACA make up for that?

    For one, as a philosophy guy I can tell you that terms are never defined in politics; every good thing Obama has done is merely an allegation that has not yet been scrutinized.

    Again, the ACA: it is an insurance reform bill that enshrines the much hated private insurance system into American law. But whether you know that or not, or whether you believe that Obama 'passed healthcare' will determine, regardless of objective fact, whether or not you got a positive impression out of it.

    This is the difference between loafs and crumbs: Obama hands out crumbs, he calls them loafs, and all of his supporters call it cake. What exactly is dialectical reasoning supposed to accomplish here?

    •  Look...there would be none of that list at all... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Catte Nappe, joanbrooker, shaharazade

      if there weren't some polarity at work. Obviously...slavery was horrible for some...but really good for others. It was immoral for some...but moral for others. It was our synthesis of these polar positions that got us out of slavery.

      Same with women's rights. The dialectic is not about 50/'s not about mixing black and white to get gray. It's about finding the truths at each end and dealing with them...instead of ignoring making a choice to interact with truths that are often unseen because they exist in the polar end of a discussion. These are influences that are often unspoken and sometimes keep us stuck. Confronting these polarities helps us move out of stuck...helps us find what will work. It is in our acceptance of these polar truths that we find what works.

      The dialectic is like jazz...spontaneous...disciplined...unstructured and structured...smooth and jagged, predictable and unpredictable...

      it's like a hounds tooth pattern...not synthesizes truth without diluting the truths that do exist at each end of the polar. It is an abstract dance...a spiral form of logic.

      •  what is this truth? (0+ / 0-)

        Let's take women's suffrage: the objective reality is that political self-actualization through the right to vote, dissent, and run for office is an objective good: it's good for men, and goof for women.

        What truth is on the opposite end? Sure, to this day we have reasons for why the ERA is 'bad' (Schafly) and why women need to stay home and care for children, but how is this truth?

        •  It is not truth in absolute form...but there ARE (0+ / 0-)

          truths at each end of the polar. Giving women the right to vote might have caused tension in their marriages at first. Some women might have been beat for voting. There were certainly some negatives in the right to vote...for both men and women or there would not have been conflict about it. Accepting these truths helps to synthesize a solution. It's not that you stay stuck in one end or the other but that you grow through the exploration of these truths as opposed to ignoring or negating them.

          •  Maybe you should define truth (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Do you mean a valid rationale for a state of affairs? Well no one would argue that Christian fundies don't have a perfectly valid reasons for wanting to believe what they believe.

            Do I really care though? I gain nothing, as do you and women everywhere, in acknowledging the truth from this other 'polar'.

            It is also worth acknowledging that there are not even two truths: but INNUMERABLE truths locked inside the isolated minds of the isolated participants that do not get any clearer the closer you look. That these tend to aggregate around something does not simplify them:

            The truth is that southern plantation owners had a real stake in keeping slavery around, but it's also true that southern society as a whole was against the power of the North and its industrial backers. It's also true that plenty of pro-abolitionists were resistant to the idea of wage labor replacing slave labor.

            It's also true that some people wanted to secede, but most didn't, and then in this area most did.

            So was it about slavery, or wasn't it? Did the years of political violence, evil compromise, and moral cowardice by the north and the founders before change the truth?

            I do not care for the other side.

            I do not care to work with the republicans unless it is politically beneficial to me.

            I do not care about the underlying truths behind the Lost Cause revisionism in conservative history.

            I do not care about the truth in the opposite polar of environmentalism, or feminism.

            It is not useful, moral, or even pragmatic to care so much about the opposite's truth; it is not even useful to say that they contain some 'truth'; there is no truth to misogyny or racism, and there is not truth in the ACA, so before we continue I think you should define what you mean by truth: it is a positive truth that merely describes an objective reality, or is it a meaningful truth that you organize life and action around?

    •  I'm curious about this (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      I'm not an obama supporter, because I've been out in the streets since 2008 with the homeless. The situation has gotten forever worse with no signs of it ever getting any better or at least correcting itself so that it doesn't get worse.

      Was Obama elected to get homeless people off the streets? I'm confused.

      Does passing the ACA make up for that?

      No, but it does fulfill a campaign promise and an important, much-needed change to the old health care system. Again, that is what we elected the man for.

      This sounds like a stretch to fit a preconceived narrative. Obama is the most powerful man in the world, the leader of the Free World - surely he has the power to change this if he wanted to; the fact that it hasn't changed proves he doesn't want to. Is that the logic here?

    •  You put the cart before the horse (0+ / 0-)

      Your statement about "every good thing Obama has done is merely an allegation that has not yet been scrutinized" basically amounts to, "I will never ever believe that Obama can do anything positive because I know how reality works; look deep enough and you will always find the ugly truth behind everything." That is a profoundly cynical and negative view of life.

      Did you know that if you look for negatives, for the "ugly truth" hidden in everything, you will ALWAYS find it, without fail? Don't take my word for this... try it. What you're finding is not some ugly transcendental ultimate reality.. it's just one aspect of it. There is good and bad in everything - and if you LOOK for one or the other, you are guaranteed to find them.

      I'm not an obama supporter, because I've been out in the streets since 2008 with the homeless. The situation has gotten forever worse with no signs of it ever getting any better or at least correcting itself so that it doesn't get worse.

      Obama is the POTUS, the most powerful man in the world. Surely if he wanted to, he could end this awful condition - the fact that the condition continues is proof that Obama doesn't want to do a damn thing about it. Is that the reasoning here?

      Does passing the ACA make up for that?

      Not the way you frame it, but it does fulfill a campaign promise and an important purpose, a much needed change. Should we scrap HCR reform altogether because it wasn't everything we wanted it to be? Isn't that an all-or-nothing, black/white dualistic approach?

  •  T&R for a very thought provoking diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I hope it leads to productive discussion although if what happened in my diary yesterday is any indication, I'm afraid there are a few too many here who have already dug in their heels for that to happen.

    I'm in the middle of something so I'll have to come back later to read and discuss it more in depth.

    The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places ~Ernest Hemingway
    Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle ~ Anonymous

    by SwedishJewfish on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 01:35:47 PM PST

  •  Terrific diary. (0+ / 0-)

    I particularly liked your reference to jazz...a wonderful comparison.

  •  I don't need an approach to Obama (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe

    I need an approach to issues.  Issues are what interest me, politicians do not, except in the matter of how they relate to issues I care about.

    I'm sick to death of discussing Obama, and I'm sick to death of other people insisting on discussing Obama when I'm trying to discuss issues.

    At the beginning of his presidency, I'm sure the two were conflated, because electing Obama was seen as the path to achieving a number of goals with a large list of issues that many of us care about.  I think a lot of the churn happening here is the visual display of grief that that notion turned out to be false.  Eventually that should burn away, and possibly we can continue discussing issues and working toward issues and g back to regarding our politicians as nothing more than tools to help us achieve them.

  •  I will never again put up with abuse. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wavpeac, Ecclesiastaverbs

    If I am ever again in a situation where I am being abused - and it's happened more than only in my marriage to my late husband, though never with Charles - either he changes, or I leave. There will be no accomodating myself to the abuse again, no realizing that I can change myself to learn to cope with the abuse again, no excusing the abuse because he was abused as a child again. No. Either the situation changes, or I change my situation by getting out.

    Sometimes there is no seeking resolution, no adapting to the disease. Sometimes it really is only black and white, no gray. Sometimes you have to get out.

    May the Gods give me strength to get out if I am ever in an abusive situation again, to get out sooner rather than later.

    Given how many men I've run into in my life who think it is all right to abuse women, from attempted date rape to a husband who was abusive in every way he could be to a boyfriend and employer who spanked me and forced me to suck his cock when he was coked up to an employer who swore at and threatened me and another female employee (but never the males) to a rapist who stalked me every day for seven months after he was arrested and before trial, when there were no laws against it and all I could do was hide, and more even than them ... there are apparently a large number of abusive men in the general population of men, which is one big reason I don't intend to continue ESRD treatment if Charles dies before I do. I will go on hospice and let my disease take its course.

    Organ donors save multiple lives! A donor's kidney gave me my life back on 02/18/11; he lives on in me and in others. Please talk with your family about your wish to donate and sign up to give others the gift of life.

    by Kitsap River on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 01:41:51 PM PST

    •  abuse is a black and white term... (0+ / 0-)

      For children there is no choice but for adults we all make our choices. Sometimes the synthesis is to LEAVE the relationship. Sometimes that is the only way we can stay safe. But we can't make that an absolute. I work with families who have autistic children who sometimes get violent. Is this abuse? What is the difference between the autistic child or the person gambling with parkinson's disease or the person who is an alcoholic.

      There is a great book written by a woman who's husband died of a brain tumor. His tumor caused him to go from being a wonderful loving man, to being full of rage and power and control. As he was dying he was getting harder and harder for her to love.

      It's an interesting story that tests these ideas about what is abuse...

      For me...abuse is in my head...and how I interpret what happens...I think of the movie "it's a beautiful life" where the a man and his child are being held in a concentration camp and the man acts as if they are staying at a resort. All this for the boy to survive the situation.

      It depends on what is depends on the synthesis. I do not think your position is wrong...but I see that the absolutes cannot be applied in a general way to everyone.

    •  Have you ever noticed a trend? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ladyjames, wavpeac

      Did you ever hear or meet other women (I went and assumed you are female) who have had several abusive relationships? Do you realize that, when it comes to abusive relationships, it's not uncommon for a woman to go from one abusive partner to another?

      I realize this will sound all kinds of fucked-up to many, but I have to ask. Do you think there could be something about you that attracts abusive men?

      I am only asking questions; it's up to you to find answers relevant to your situation. All the theory and lofty knowledge in the world is useless unless it can be put to good use - and I have to agree 100% on one thing: when it comes to your physical well-being, there is ABSOLUTELY no black and white. It is damaging to allow an abuser's damage to continue.

      •  glenn beck also askes questions (0+ / 0-)

        few of them useful

      •  recommended for this: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        "do you think there could be something about you that attracts abusive men?"  I gave up "serious" relationships because I became aware of ^that.  Took me years to see it though and by the time I did there were so many other things going on in my life that demanded more thought and more of my time and energy that I decided it was better to just not go there.  Now I'm too set in my ways and too used to being alone, I don't think that I would be interested in a serious relationship now. I know why it happened though.  

      •  We are not responsible for some else's behavior... (0+ / 0-)

        but we are responsible for our choices. It's empowering to be able to own your part in creating your problems in life.

        me and my husband had some violence between us when he was drinking. I learned to regulate my temper...because it was best for me, my kids and the universe to do this. The result was an end to the wasn't my fault...but I was the problem.  I didn't just do what he wanted...I stood up when it was important but I learned to let go of alot of stuff that was based in fear...not truth. And I wanted to control, change and criticize him. That didn't help. He was responsible for his behavior and I was responsible for mine.

  •  Useful for self compassion as well. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matthew D Jones

    Obviously not only useful to ponder these ideas with Obama v. Obama. I am reading on self compassion currently. I see the application of your ideas towards the inner critic v. inner 'critized' v. inner compassionate observer.

    Thanks for your diary!

    I used to have hope. Now I just see most Dem's audacity in maintaining the corporate status quo... UPDATED: With OWS, I now feel hopeful again! May the OWS movement strengthen, grow and become a catalyst for significant change.

    by davekro on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 02:10:28 PM PST

  •  When trapped in conflict, transcend the conflict (5+ / 0-)

    The dialectical approach shares much with the Buddhist approach. Our Western minds have a hard time grasping anything other the opposites of victory or defeat. The transcendent view perceives that life is a condition of victory AND defeat, and seeks the wisest course through it.

    I've dished out my fair share of snark, but lately I became acquainted with the Fourth Vow of Mindfulness Training composed by Tich Nat Hahn:

    Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful speech and the inability to listen to others, I am committed to cultivating loving speech and deep listening in order to bring joy and happiness to others and relieve others of their suffering. Knowing that words can create happiness or suffering, I am committed to learn to speak truthfully, with words that inspire self-confidence, joy, and hope. I am determined not to spread news that I do not know to be certain and not to criticize or condemn things of which I am not sure. I shall refrain from uttering words that cause division or discord, or that can cause the family or the community to break. I shall make all efforts to reconcile and resolve all conflicts, however small.

    This is a vow to adhere to non-violent communication.

    It's a daunting commitment. In a world where the truths we hold to be self-evident are under constant assault by the right-wing-noise-machine, it feels like unilateral disarmament.

    We need courageous and persuasive speech to defend liberty, ensure justice, protect the weak, and live in personal integrity.

    But we can be courageous without being cruel.

    Have you noticed?
    Politicians who promise LESS government
    only deliver BAD government.

    by jjohnjj on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 02:13:21 PM PST

  •  Why no discussion of trolls? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Do you really believe that a person who seemingly spends every waking hour bashing Democrats and people who support Democrats is NOT a troll? There are loads of those people on this site right now. Do you tell your pre-teen and teenage children to believe everything and everyone they encounter on the internet? I hope not, and there's no mystical boundary keeping trolls out of Daily Kos.

    I'm reminded of a doctor in the Middle Ages who didn't speak of bacteria because he couldn't see them.

    In other words, your equation is faulty because you've left out an intrinsic variable. Perhaps you don't see it, or perhaps you are pretending they're not there, which is a popular fiction on this site, but if you ask me, ignoring an important reason for the problem NEVER ends up in a satisfactory solution.

    I will be happy to revisit your thesis once you've included all the variables.  

    Republicans, like Zombies, just want to get a head.

    by Tortmaster on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 02:18:33 PM PST

    •  I don't straight-up disagree but have to ask (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      davekro, wavpeac, splintersawry

      Isn't giving trolls attention exactly what we shouldn't be doing? Don't trolls thrive in negative attention?

      Which points to a larger question: Does giving attention to something undesirable help it go away, become smaller, and finally disappear from our experience? Or could it be just the opposite?

      So many are indoctrinated into the idea that "ignoring problems doesn't make them go away," but hardly anyone ever asks what giving tons of attention to problems does. Especially negative attention.

      I am not advocating denial; I don't think denial is ever useful. But neither is giving inordinate amounts of our life energy to a problem, especially coming from a place of lack and negativity in the first place. It has been said, a problem cannot be solved at the same level of consciousness where it originated...

    •  No trolls on this thread...interesting yes? (0+ / 0-)
  •  Wow! The American public has been (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Livvy5, Chitown Kev

    traumitized.  It's funny because back when I knew the President a little bit as a State Senator, I remember thinking to myself after he was elected U.S. Sentaor ..."Here we go!  People are either going to make him a devil or saint, and he's neither."

    I mean, realistically, unless you believe every President elected is secretly some thing other than human, they cannot be either all good or all bad.  But with Mass Branding and the low hanging fruit of argument and contention, we either deify or vilify.

    Not very helpful solving real problems with an approach that can't possibly (by definition) represent reality.

    •  Yeah... (0+ / 0-)

      But remember, that was being done to PBO even before he became US senator

      A lot of that were lingering bitter feelings over the Alice Palmer situation, and some of that pretty heated rhetoric spilled over into Obama's failed campaign against Bobby Rush in the 2000 democratic primary.

  •  Although I certainly admire (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    reset, GeeBee, denise b, wavpeac

    both the personal and the professional work you've done with DBT, and applaud it, I really have to say this:

    President Obama is not your boyfriend.

    And therein lies the problem. If you had had a personal relationship with Barack Obama, then I can definitely see this being a valid argument.

    In this case, though, the man is an elected official. There. is. a. huge. difference.

    •  No...we use the dialectic for bosses...parents... (0+ / 0-)

      and public figures...there is a reply above that quotes thich nat han...on mindfulness...and the 4th vow...this is precisely what we do for elected officials. They are human beings...not bad or good, right or wrong. One way or another we have to find effective ways to interact with their policies and behaviors. It doesn't matter whether you know them personally or matters how you choose to interact with the policies that affect you.

  •  You mean grow up? Now that's a novel concept. (0+ / 0-)

    Babies get their needs met by displaying their emotions.   Adults manage their emotions in order to get what they need.  

    I could care less that there are opposing diaries on Obama on the rec. list - different strokes for different strokes.   What I get tired of is all the mindless hand wringing and fighting in them.   I'm always amazed at those who "enter" a diary they don't agree with just so they can argue with the people in it.    I see it as "throwing the first punch" and justification for whatever they get in return.   Insanity is.....

    You can't see a new shore unless you let go of the coast.

    by dkmich on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 04:08:19 PM PST

  •  fwiw, i think much of the vehemence comes (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ladyjames, wavpeac

    from both sides, all of us, being scared sh*tless for the future.  Some of us are more scared there's a real possibility of something worse than current Obama and for some, the fear of what hasn't been done outweighs what has.  when push comes to shove i think we're all scared where we're headed and that's a big part of what's fueling the passions.

    and, of course, its' easy to forget there's a thinking human being who just made what has to be the stupidest, god-awful dipsh*ttiest comment of all time on the other end of that computer screen :)

    life: that awkward moment between birth and death

    by bnasley on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 04:09:43 PM PST

  •  Sounds like bipartisanship. (0+ / 0-)

    Being able to disappear American citizens at will is both to be applauded and despised.

    Progressive Candidate Obama (now - Nov 6, 2012)
    Bipartisan Obama returns (Nov 7, 2012)

    by The Dead Man on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 04:41:28 PM PST

  •  I've always called this ambivalence. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Recognizing both the good and bad and retaining a modest level of uncertainty in an argument.

    Just today I wrote somewhere else that Certainty is the enemy of reason.

    "And, spite of pride in erring reason’s spite, One truth is clear, whatever is, is right." Alexander Pope -Essay on Man

    by DawnG on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 04:51:02 PM PST

  •  Obama as dysfunctional family member...hmmm. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Not sure family behavioral therapy is really a means to resolution of political problems.

    Obama does not have emotional or behavioral problems. He's a smart, grounded person who is making bad political and policies decisions.

    From a liberal Democratic standpoint, Obama is someone with job performance issues not behavioral family dynamic issues.

    Obama is failing to clearly see the problems facing the US, failing to propose real solutions, failing to provide political leadership for the necessary solutions.

    As for the dialectic the diarist proposes, this looks very much like Obama's failed political strategy in that he keeps agreeing to progressively worse and worse GOP policies. Instead of Obama confronting the "alcoholic" GOP, he's going on drinking binges with them.

    •  No...I only wish Obama had learned to use the (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Matthew D Jones, Spiny

      dialectic. The dialectic is not compromise. It is using the valid truths that exist on each end of different polar positions to seek a valid and effective response to a situation in a particular time and place. There is no identical synthesis because each time and place is different. It's not sitting in one end of the polar or's not diluting the truth on each keeps the truths they are considered in the synthesis for the now.

      It's an abstract concept...and no one is going to understand it fully from a blog..nor do I fully understand it. I just know that when I use the dialectic, I come up with solutions that I couldn't consider or see...It helps me find a reality I didn't know when I am willing to consider the truths at both ends of an argument.

      •  but really Obama is picking the most "effective" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        response to being re-elected. It is the same strategy that many, if not most of our Democratic Senators and congressman employ: pretty words for the base, concrete actions for their funders. Sometimes the words and actions align, most of the time they don't.

        I guess in this situation, it is probably correct that our "best" action is to reward the good behavior and attempt to punish the bad behavior (I assume that is the jist of what you are saying...) but the awkward fact is that, like it or not, our fellow citizens vote very much on emotion- not the logic of the "least flawed candidate". So I guess that recognizing that the Democratic candidate in this election has issues is probably an important first step, but a somewhat demoralizing observation considering that the system offers us little alternative.

        I put my faith in the people, But the people let me down. So I turned the other way And I carry on, anyhow - Rare Earth, I Just Want To Celebrate

        by Spiny on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 09:24:05 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Awesome diary. We need to emphasize that there (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wavpeac, splintersawry

    are two general camps regarding President Obama. I would suggest one thing: let the political activists support President Obama with election volunteering while the non-supporters work on other candidates' elections or OWS. In a sense, we would draw a clear line in the sand. The point would not to get more people here to focus on one kind of activism, but to encourage people to choose what is most important for themselves. After all, millions of Americans are fed up with election and they might feel more comfortable in OWS. I say this as an OFA volunteer.

  •  pro Obama anti Obama (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    In these pie fights I could argue either side, therefore I stay out of them.

    Democrats never agree on anything, that's why they're Democrats. If they agreed with each other, they would be Republicans. Will Rogers

    by rmonroe on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 07:33:17 PM PST

  •  Wow, just wow (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "Obama is not bad or good. He is both"

    "We could likely argue ways that he is the best president and ways that he is the worst. There is truth in each end of that discussion.  He is a mixture of both."

    What beautiful BS.

    Someone please get me out of this alternate reality...I can't take it any more!

    by Cinnamon Rollover on Tue Jan 03, 2012 at 08:30:22 PM PST

  •  who is anti-Obama? (0+ / 0-)

    I guess I don't even understand the premise. I think it's about 100% likely that there will never be a president that I agree with 100% of the time.   I think Obama has not been good on civil liberties.  Then again, just about no one has been good on civil liberties the past decade in this country.  Yeah sure there could be other choices made on economic matters early in his presidency such as a larger stimulus. But we can't forget that there was a large conservative contingent in the democratic party back then called the blue dogs.  I think that limited what he could do.

    All in all, let's just get Obama re-elected.

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

    by noofsh on Wed Jan 04, 2012 at 03:00:12 AM PST

  •  As a PTSD sufferer (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I can tell you when I came to understand the whole black and white thinking stuff, it was a revelation.I want to say I often dismissed possibility in life but in truth I couldn't even imagine possibilities that were not black or white.I am often amused when I comment at the Huffington Post how many people expect me to side with Obama on every issue because I am progressive.I see him for what he is.While I am not always pleased by that I think I have grown enough to see he is the lesser of two evils by a long shot.Good diary thanks for sharing.

    End the tyranny of the 1%!

    by MasterfullyInept on Wed Jan 04, 2012 at 04:20:21 AM PST

  •  Let's try a... (0+ / 0-)

    ..."get out and vote for the man" approach to Obama.

    A quant and damned proud of it.

    by Cera on Wed Jan 04, 2012 at 05:04:47 AM PST

  •  Any solution that requires "working the dialectic" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    is probably beyond the grasp of the majority of voters - even those that own a dictionary.  

    Little rule I live by: "Never trust a dude in a tunic."

    by SpamNunn on Wed Jan 04, 2012 at 06:33:08 AM PST

    •  Okay...but this is for this site (0+ / 0-)

      If we are communicating to the seems like it might make sense that we would hold a higher standard for ourselves in these blogs...the  way old fashioned journalism did for a spell.

  •  Mush! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "We make a commitment to the notion that nothing in the universe is truly "black or white".

    Tell that to the survivors of the Nazi concentration camps.

    •  Wow...We learned important lessons for (0+ / 0-)

      humanity. It's not a matter of being worth the cost. It happened. It was horrifying and we learned hopefully lessons we needed to learn about the human condition. Did it have to be that one is saying that. But the truth is that there is even a dialectic in regard to the concentration camps. There is a polarity to everything in the universe.

      •  Mush is dangerous: (0+ / 0-)

        From Wikipedia:

        "In chapter 12 of volume 2 of The Open Society and Its Enemies (1944; 5th rev. ed., 1966) (Karl) Popper unleashed a famous attack on Hegelian dialectics, in which he held that Hegel's thought (unjustly, in the view of some philosophers, such as Walter Kaufmann,) was to some degree responsible for facilitating the rise of fascism in Europe by encouraging and justifying irrationalism."

        And it can happen here, as we allow imprisonment of enemies of government "New Speak."

        •  Dialectics have nothing to do with fascism (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          The dialectic would counter the black and white thinking of fascism. It's my humble opinion that it was authoritarian black and white thinking, dichotomous thinking of the authoritarian personality that led to the fascism in Europe. The dialectic goes against black and white thinking.

          The buddhist monks have used the dialectic as part of their spiral logic for thousands of years, long before Hegel.

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