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Andrew W.K. might be my new hero.

He writes a letters column for the Village Voice and I'd never heard of him until yesterday when someone I know posted his response to a letter from Son of a Right-Winger.

Son wrote to Andrew and said:

How do I explain to him [my father] that his politics are turning him into a monster, destroying the environment, and pushing away the people who care about him?
Andrew's letter deserves to be read in full so I'm simply going to post this paragraph and encourage a full read:
Love your dad because he's your father, because he made you, because he thinks for himself, and most of all because he is a person. Have the strength to doubt and question what you believe as easily as you're so quick to doubt his beliefs. Live with a truly open mind -- the kind of open mind that even questions the idea of an open mind. Don't feel the need to always pick a side. And if you do pick a side, pick the side of love. It remains our only real hope for survival and has more power to save us than any other belief we could ever cling to.
So. Much. Good.

Here's Andrew's full column.

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Comment Preferences

  •  If it weren't for politics (7+ / 0-)

    sometimes I think I'd have nothing to talk about with my parents.

    We've been spelling it wrong all these years. It's actually: PRO-GOP-ANDA

    by Patriot4peace on Fri Aug 08, 2014 at 06:47:57 AM PDT

  •  Europe Was Being Destroyed In the 40's (15+ / 0-)

    by each side believing the other side was destroying it.

    I'm sorry, but I always bale at false equivalency.


    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Aug 08, 2014 at 07:02:17 AM PDT

    •  Bail. (11+ / 0-)

      Stupid homonym checker.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Fri Aug 08, 2014 at 07:02:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  To me, it read like what unites us is "love" (11+ / 0-)

      It didn't read like false equivalency to me though I could be wrong.

      It read to me like sometimes we should think about the things that we all have in common. Like love.

      I talk with my friends and family all the time about politics. And I have very liberal views that I'm not afraid to express.

      What I've found is that I have a better chance of reaching them when I can start from some point of commonality.

      Does this mean I have to agree with them?

      No. Not at all.

      All it means is that I think we often have much more in common than we do different. I try to remember not to lose this in any argument.

      •  I agree wholeheartedly, akadjian. Even though (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I have my moments of very angry outbursts sometimes when posting on DK (people like McCain can push the hell out of my buttons). But basically this writer from the VV states it very well. It has a definite Buddhist ring to it. I attended a life-changing retreat in San Francisco in May and the entire theme was "Creating Bravery - Is An Enlightened Society Possible?" The well known speakers who conducted the discussion and meditation sessions concluded that it is possible, but only if you can find that point of commonality with those who disagree with you, and never let go of it. Always show great respect for your opponent - it makes you much happier. If certain people are determined to be assholes no matter what, quietly walk away from them. Sometimes that is the most you can do. This will never work if you are one who has to be right all the time, and more so, who has to impose her/his "rightness" on all those around you.

    •  I didn't read the false equivalency. (5+ / 0-)

      Which part was that?

      •  well. . . (5+ / 0-)

        The brief excerpt does not contain an example of false equivalency, but it is a common point in political discussions.

        The most pernicious false equivalency by far is the common saw that "both sides do it"  and by it I mean obstruction, corruption, piling on those who can't defend themselves. . . made more complicated by the grain of truth because there SOME truth there, but it's nowhere near a level that any observant person could ever agree is anywhere remotely approaching equivalent.

        There is no equivalent to the right wing effort to further hijack government to meet the wants of the powerful minority together with their willingness to forego progress in service of politics.

        There is no equivalent to FOX. There is no equivalent to Rush. There is no equivalent to the right wing use media to mislead.

    •  x2 (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueoasis, Mopshell

      I voted Tuesday, May 6, 2014 because it is my right, my responsibility and because my parents moved from Alabama to Ohio to vote. Unfortunately, the republicons want to turn Ohio into Alabama.

      by a2nite on Fri Aug 08, 2014 at 08:05:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You don't get (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Philpm, JBL55, HeyMikey

    You don't get, so far as we can tell, to choose who your parents are, and therefore we do not blame people for their parents.

    Restore the Fourth! Save America!

    by phillies on Fri Aug 08, 2014 at 07:08:16 AM PDT

  •  ak - thanks for sharing this letter (8+ / 0-)

    It's wonderfully written and so many people here would benefit from reading it and following the advice.

    "let's talk about that" uid 92953

    by VClib on Fri Aug 08, 2014 at 07:09:13 AM PDT

  •  When I catch myself getting angry at angry people (7+ / 0-)

    it's time for a moment of zen......

    Which means a having good laugh at myself and then a reboot of my glitchy operating system.

    If cats could blog, they wouldn't

    by crystal eyes on Fri Aug 08, 2014 at 07:16:28 AM PDT

    •  I try to put the anger out there onto the action (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      crystal eyes, JBL55, FreeWoman19, Mopshell

      ... and not the person or I ask myself who am I really angry at?

      I am not always successful.

      I believe Andrew is right though that the anger is a strategy - divide and conquer. It is not a strategy that I want to play into.

      I've found it makes it easier if I remember that the people I'm really angry at are typically the people behind the strategy rather than the people I know.

      It makes it much easier to like the people I know and subsequently much easier to talk to them.

      I don't know much about zen, but I've found it infinitely easier to talk with people I like than people I'm angry at :).

      I like the sound of this laughing at myself though. I might have to give that a shot too.

      •  Fox News is anger central (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I find that humor sometimes short circuits a political anger fest.

        "I smell Fox News talking points- I'd rather talk about the Seahawks (or whatever interest you share with the winger).

        I am cultivating right wing friends by agreeing not to indulge in political arguments. It is interesting to enjoy the company of the unexpected friend.

        If cats could blog, they wouldn't

        by crystal eyes on Fri Aug 08, 2014 at 07:40:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Fox = Anger (5+ / 0-)

          You hit it.  My own 75 year old father sort of fits the profile too.  Always a republican, but a fairly moderate one most of his life -- he'd have been fine with the Massachusetts version of Mitt Romney.

          But since retirement, he's had little to do but watch Fox News, and listen to Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin in the morning.  What few hobbies he had, like snow skiing, he can't do physically now.  Compared to the average American he's 'well informed' in that in the old media days he always read a daily paper, watched national and local news, plus 60 Minutes, Sunday talk shows, etc.  But always a passive consumer of information.

          But today his metro area's daily paper has succumbed to the death spiral, local TV news is just the crime of the day, and "national news" became Fox.  He's got perfectly adequate internet skills, shopping, banking, etc., but the idea of being his own news editor is just too foreign.  So now he just counts on Fox and Rush to tell him what's important in the world, the same way he used to count on Cronkite or the AP.  

          So...  he's angry all the time.  At some Democratic politician.  At some government bureaucrat.  At some random liberal somewhere who did something stupid.  At a bunch of trivial anecdotes.  At some utterly mischaracterized or made up set of facts.  Which when he goes off on them when I call, always turn out to have come from Fox or Rush.  

          It isn't even that he's become extreme per se, so much as just angry.  Which makes him less fun to talk to, and which is just not good for a 75yo with a bad case of a-fib.

          Fox really has the method down, of feeding highly episodic and personalized stories, chosen and packaged specifically for outrage, at my dad's demographic, and counting on my parents' generation's instinct to trust news editors to pick stories that matter.   My dad sees that Fox has a conservative slant in their stories, but he can't wrap his head around the idea that what they choose to cover is itself a slant.  My dad has even said, "Well if it isn't an important story, why is on the TV news?"  

          •  I truly think you have described most (4+ / 0-)

            of the angry "old GOP" seniors out there. My parents have long since passed, but they belonged to the old GOP. I hate to think that they might have become angry seniors.

            All of my immediate family - two of my three siblings, their children, both of my children (all the kids now mid-to-late-forties) are die-hard republicans - leaning toward Tea Party bat-crap rhetoric.

            Only one brother (now 70-something, retired and moved to Mexico when "W" was in office) and I are the liberals.

            I can't talk politics with them because they are rabid Fox believers so they don't even try to deal with facts. They are all church-going Christians, college educated, with decent-paying careers and nice homes. And they are  angry white Americans, anti-everything Obama, because that is what they have been told to be. By Fox, by their church buddies, by the rabid-wing of the Tea Party...and living in Texas, by Senator Ted Cruz (now I need to go wash out my mouth!).

            Interestingly enough, the liberal brother who moved to Mexico lives in a nice little resort full of ex-patriot American liberals who (mostly because of economic and/or medical financial catastrophes) could no longer afford to live this side of the border - and who had just had enough of republican policy.

            I get less and less optimistic about 2016 every day. I wish there was more good news. If not, I know a nice little resort down south.

            "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

            by JustSue on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 12:03:41 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  My dad in a nutshell, but 83 y/o. (0+ / 0-)

            Sad and frustrating.

    •  I have a personal policy... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      akadjian, starduster

      ... where I never argue with right-wingers on the internet.  For that matter, I don't argue with them ever.

      Nobody EVER "wins."  And I've never seen anyone ever concede.  It doesn't make any difference how credible your argument and facts might be. It simply escalates into more anger.  I'm always amazed people think it accomplishes anything.

      Sure, respond to a article stating you point of view. Work to get changes made that accomplish progressive goals.  But it's fruitless to get into these shit-throwing contests.

      "Self-respect is the keystone of democracy"

      by neverontheright on Sun Aug 10, 2014 at 09:17:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have to believe some (3+ / 0-)

        Can be reached.

        I am in the midst of completing my PhD and wish to be an educator. Fully one third of my intro to environment classes are brainwashed by Faux Gnus but I try not to despair and reach as many as I can before they move on to the next classes.

        I do not care what folks believe as long as it is based in repeatable, verifiable facts.

        Fox stands against everything that I believe. They stand against Truth.

        If folks can be brainwashed, they can also be led back to the Truth---at least some can.

        Maybe I read too much Pollyanna as a youth. . .  

        "It isn't pollution that's harming the environment. It's the impurities in our air and water that are doing it." ~ James Danforth Quayle

        by Loraxe on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 01:29:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I, too, have found that to be true. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        snwflk, Yonit, Teppu6, silverfoxcruiser

        Most people hate to be proven wrong, and will cling to their opinions or set of beliefs regardless of any evidence against them. And, when it comes to the extreme right, I think it's also because the conservative ideology appeals to the worse of our baser instincts - selfishness and greed. Conservatism turns them into virtues, makes them not only acceptable, but commendable, and it's damn hard to reason with someone who has fallen for that hook, line, and sinker. Add in religion, and it's not just hard, it's impossible, and utterly pointless. You can't reason with a person who is convinced they have "God" on their side.

        I also got really tired of realizing how horribly ill-informed and gullible people in my life actually are. When people who are otherwise very intelligent, caring people succumb to the brainwashing of Fox News and conspiracy theorizing, it's not only frustrating, but incredibly sad. I usually find it to be much more rewarding, not to mention a better use of time, to instead talk to those who are like-minded and try to energize them into being more politically active. The GOP is doing a fine job of destroying itself without our help. We just need to get those on the left, or who lean left, to leave the easy comfort of apathy and urge them to get involved.

        "Optimism is a strategy for making a better future. Because unless you believe that the future can be better, it’s unlikely you will step up and take responsibility for making it so." - Noam Chomsky

        by MetallicatLyss on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 02:00:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'm with Gooserock on this one. (6+ / 0-)

    VV blogger is too superior for his own good.

    Support Small Business: Shop Kos Katalogue If you'd like to join the Motor City Kossacks, send me a Kosmail.

    by peregrine kate on Fri Aug 08, 2014 at 07:18:13 AM PDT

    •  Superior or just plain dopey. (6+ / 0-)

      The reality is there is a clearly defined group of malevolent or (charitably) heedless people who've elevated their own personal greed, hate and bigotry over the collective good of everyone else, with potentially disastrous --and yes, downright evil--consequences.

      And it ain't "my" group.

      And I ain't gonna "love" them.

      •  I'm with you on this. I have one of those fathers, (4+ / 0-)

        at least I believe he is still on this mortal coil, who is convinced the progressives are out to destroy everything.
        Freon is outlawed and he went and bought 10 cases.
        Chlordane is outlawed, a known cancer contributor, and he had his children in the basement spraying it with no dust masks.
        Ironically, he now suffers from multiple chemical sensitivity and has to eat a rotational diet.
        There is nothing to love about this man, nothing. It's not like he's not intelligent, his IQ is off the chart, yet he believes everything Rush says is gospel.
        There is a great deal to be sorry for, but nothing to love.

        "If you tell the truth, you won't have to remember anything", Mark Twain

        by Cruzankenny on Fri Aug 08, 2014 at 07:35:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Are these people the people you know? (5+ / 0-)

        Or do the people you know seriously think that they are doing good?

        I ask this because the people I know don't get up every morning and think "I'm going to go f*ck up the world today."

        They tend to think that what they are doing is just as "good" as what I'm doing.

        Do I agree with them? No. Not at all.

        I've just found that I can often reach them if I start from a place of commonality. Thinking of them as human is such a place.

        I am angry at the people I think are pushing these divide and conquer strategies. None of the people I personally know fall into this group.

        •  It doesn't really matter to me (6+ / 0-)

          whether they "think" they're doing good. Nor does it matter, ultimately, whether I "like" them for their qualities on a personal level.  I have some conservative friends who I associate with on a certain level, but it is not an intimate level.

          What matters to me is who they put into positions of power over the things I cannot control, those things where we must rely on each other to make sensible decisions that affect everyone. They have failed in that regard.

          The other side has shown over and over it will not accommodate us. Their actions speak for themselves, and they are relentlessly destructive.  We have accommodated them far too long, and I am not interested looking for common ground anymore. I think that's a fool's errand. If that makes me a monster to the author here, then I'll take my chances.  

          •  "My side.." "the other side.." (0+ / 0-)

            You have fallen into the same trap as that person asking about his father.

            You have taken a position of superiority.

            Have you ever stopped to think neither side is completely right or wrong?

            As far as politics go, there used to be this tradition of compromise.

            But nowadays, nothing gets done because both sides feel they cannot be wrong and cannot let the other side win.

            It's ridiculous.

          •  I can't reach them at all if we're fighting (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            I've found I can often reach my conservative relatives and friends, however, because we often believe in the same things.

            I can't reach them at all if we're head to head.

            No one ever said accommodation or common ground. I fight to win people over.

            I believe this is easier to do when I start from common ground.

        •  Some very close family members of mine (3+ / 0-)

          are absolutely raving right wing. Scary how much credence they place in people who wish others ill.
          Do I demonize them? No. But it's still hard for me to be considerate, sometimes, when I realize how much they oppose values that I personally think are biophilic. Going along with their views means buying into permanent war, genocide, racism, and oppression of all sorts. And I think simply telling me to love them is not very helpful.

          Support Small Business: Shop Kos Katalogue If you'd like to join the Motor City Kossacks, send me a Kosmail.

          by peregrine kate on Fri Aug 08, 2014 at 10:35:05 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  here is another part of the letter (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Try to find a single instance where you referred to your dad as a human being, a person, or a man. There isn't one. You've reduced your father -- the person who created you -- to a set of beliefs and political views and how it relates to you. And you don't consider your dad a person of his own standing"

    However, I can think of parents who are a set of political and religious beliefs and these are strictures on every aspect of their lives.  (Putting aside for a minute some family members who are shunned because they represent a danger to the rest of the family)
    I can call to mind parents who kicked out a child who:
    1) married someone of a different faith or race
    2) discovered the child's sexual orientation
    3) married someone of different social class

    I could go on but I would like to assert that some people are sets of political and religious beliefs and outside of these, they really don't seem to exist

    •  There Are a LOT (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      snwflk, silverfoxcruiser

      of hateful people out there, and you can't love them into being human.  All this "All You Need Is Love" stuff takes me back to the 60s.  It didn't work then, and it won't work now.
      So I'm with entlord on this one.

      I don't agree with the columnist that the world has always been on the brink of destruction.  Well, yes, if you mean cosmic or volcanic cataclysm being always a possibility, but we (as a species) are affecting this planet to an unprecedented degree.  There's no time left to make nice---we have to act, and the right-wingers are doing their best to block all attempts.

      I'm not going to go all NEW AGE and fool myself that love will take care of it all.  SOMETHING will, but it won't be love.  And it won't be pretty.

      Enjoying the Age of Aquarius so far?

      by sendtheasteroid on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 02:42:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Humans don't simply come out of the womb like this (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      So what happened? How were they taught to hate and fear anything that is different from themselves?  What is the history of their hate?  You can be pretty sure it was something horrific, either directly to them or to their ancestors. You see it today in victims of brutal oppression over several lifetimes. They become vicious, unfeeling, lacking any compassion for the "other".  They strike out at those they perceive to have caused them this pain. We call them terrorists. We also call them RWNJ. We call them evil.  So, do we go along with them? Absolutely not!!!  The task is to avoid being like them, but from the other "side".

  •  My late Poppa was a Republican.... (12+ / 0-)

    ....but he wasn't crazy.

    He held all sorts of winger-beliefs and when I told him some of the crazy shit they say, his response was "Really?"

    He liked Rush, but didn't really know the depraved shit Rush says, his response to my attempts to fill him in on Rush-speak would result in "Oh, he just gets carried away with it a little bit..."

    He knew Rush drives me nuts, so he'd turn him on just to annoy me!

    I went to visit him in 2007; took one look at him and realized he needed me to stick around and help him out.

    Before long it was obvious to me that my "job" was to help Dad out, keep him safe and happy in his final days, and not to try to turn him into a commie like me.

    Now that he's gone, I think I made the right choices, I only wish I'd made them sooner.

    "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

    by leftykook on Fri Aug 08, 2014 at 07:30:46 AM PDT

  •  Yes and no. (12+ / 0-)

    The relationship stuff is spot on. Yes, it's important not to reduce others to non-human opposition, or ourselves to their foils.

    BUT—it's absolutely wrong when it says that the right wing isn't destroying the world, that only lack of love is destroying the world.

    From climate change to trickle-down vs. society's integrity to Gaza, right-wing views are, in fact, destroying the world.

    That's why the call to just forget about politics and hug is flat-out wrong. Something . must . be . done .

    It is not enough to stop talking politics, embrace, and be happy. We are running out of time on some very serious issues. Votes must be changed. Leadership must be changed.

    Nurturing a few generations of peace-love-happy is not going to get us there quickly enough, if it is going to get us there at all. And we have a huge mass culture industry to deal with, one using data-driven and science-driven techniques to ensure that love doesn't win out but right wing ideology does.

    I doubt whether person-to-person love has a chance against this machine; the machine must be disassembled, but it is made, in part of people—who are not going to stop working for it just because they experience "love."

    What we have is a giant, complex tragedy of the commons story, with a dose of power politics (i.e. the self-interested 1% at the top) thrown in. This won't be solved with passive humanizing, and there isn't even time to try.

    -9.63, 0.00
    "Liberty" is deaf, dumb, and useless without life itself.

    by nobody at all on Fri Aug 08, 2014 at 07:31:47 AM PDT

  •  Dad and I talk about other stuff, like my plans (5+ / 0-)

    to kill him and mom for an inheritance.  He topped me with announcing his plans for his children to participate in a "Hunger Games" style competition.  But if we talked about politics, we'd stop being that close.

    Someone actually admitted on DK, "Yes. If it pisses you and the other Greenwald-Tweet-pearl-clutchers off, it's smart." Wow.

    by Inland on Fri Aug 08, 2014 at 07:33:24 AM PDT

  •  Go along to get along. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis, freesia

    Sounds like one of those twitter feeds that is nothing but wise ideas and quotes taken from others and presented as if you have never heard anything quite so brilliant.

    Sweet-tasting, not too filling.

  •  Can't sympathize (6+ / 0-)

    I loved my father dearly.  He was hardworking and in his own way he loved me dearly.  He took care of us and went through hell in his life to make ours better.

    However, he was a fucking racist.  He'd start making monkey noises every time Obama was on TV.  He'd call him a macaco which is Portuguese for monkey.  The LAST thing I was going to do was show him love in those instances.  I'd tell him to shut the fuck up and stop being a racist piece of shit.  He was a union guy who voted straight D but in November 08 he refused to vote for Obama because of the color of his skin.  A few weeks later my father died.  He never got to see our first black president and I'm not sure how to feel about that because the vitriol would have been unreal.  I loved my dad but there was no way I was going to show him love when confronted with that kind of hatred.    

    This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

    by DisNoir36 on Fri Aug 08, 2014 at 08:15:31 AM PDT

  •  There is much to be said for remembering (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe, akadjian

    our political foes are people.  And there is more to be said for taking our issues and boiling them down to a personal level.

    One that works a lot for me:  your food prices are going up. It's not because a zillion more people are eating and the demand can't be met. It's because commodities traders on Wall Street are fucking with the prices to make more money.  Don't you think the government needs to make some rules against that?

    Yelling, throwing out the same tired talking points that both sides know by heart and hate doesn't do anything to change a mind.  Talking about how your and their life is being changed by government's policies is what does it.

    And when you run into a "brown people are takers" person, I try to give them the stats that more white people are on public assistance.  That more white people have seen their standard of living decrease.  I don't remind them that brown people's standard of living hasn't changed much since it was always purposefully depressed because that gets on a tangent.  When their beliefs are there, you can't bring history into it or you lose them.  Most people, I have learned, have no idea that the majority of folks on food stamps are white.  Tell them to look it makes them stop and think.  They won't think far enough to realize that the white population is considerably higher than black and latino and that's why, but it does make your point that not ONLY brown people "take".

    And the second anyone brings up "reparations" or anything else of that nature with regard to our half black President, I walk away.  Folks need to know that is just stupid talk.  More people need to do it.

    "Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.: Maya Angelou

    by PsychoSavannah on Fri Aug 08, 2014 at 08:32:51 AM PDT

    •  republicans want us dead (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      memofromturner, Dartagnan, blueoasis

      THey work day and night to impoverish Americans, to starve Americans, to prevent Americans from having access to essential medical care.

      And why they want everybody armed to the teeth and ready to shoot at changes in the wind.

      it is siege.

      Republicans hate us.

      Liberals sing kumbayah by themselves.

      Republicans dream of large numbers of dead liberals and moochers.

    •  This reminds me of the recent study (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      that talked about how if you tell white people that our prison system is racist, they are MORE likely to support it.

      If you can break down the race divide to include white people, I've found people feel a little differently. Just like your public assistance example.

    •  "commodities traders" ? (0+ / 0-)

      WTF?  Do you even live in the same country as the rest of us?

      And you spout this stupid crap to your "political foes" showing how smart you are?  My God.

      A quick google would have shown you why food prices are up across the board:

      #1 - Drought especially in California
      #2 - Last year's grain prices used in animal feed
      #3 - Shrinking dairy and cattle herds driving prices up even more
      #4 - Diseases attacking fruit orchards, especially oranges
      #5 thru 8 - Drought, drought, drought, drought,

      But, no, it's easier for you to blame commodities traders on "Wall Street" - which is the most ironic part because commodities are traded mostly in Chicago.

      This is a perfect example of the superiority of values that that blogger was trying to talk about.  Congratulations.

  •  This is humorous to me, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe

    because I can relate to the young man who wrote that letter to a degree since most of my family is extremely right-wing, and I think it's often easier to get a place like he's in than it is to resist it. But Andrew's response is quite excellent, if lengthy.

    This is well-stated:

    When we lump people into groups, quickly label them, and assume we know everything about them and their life based on a perceived world view, how they look, where they come from, etc., we are not behaving as full human beings. When we truly believe that some people are monsters, that they fundamentally are less human than we are, and that they deserve to have less than we do, we ourselves become the monsters.
    It's interesting to me how many people in the comments section of that article are intent on refuting the idea that all people are human beings. Animals!, they yell through the key board. Monsters! The comments section there largely exemplifies the author's point.
  •  My dad keeps shitting in my coffee. (5+ / 0-)

    I tried to ask him politely to stop shitting in my coffee, and he explained that this was his strongly held belief and that I was impinging on his freedom to shit in my coffee.

    I asked Andrew W.K. what to do to get my dad to stop shitting in my coffee, and he explained that the real problem is not the shit in my coffee, it is that both my father and I think we are right and that the other is wrong.

    Basically, my life has never been better. My dad still shits in my coffee, but I now recognize that it really could be either of us that is wrong about this.

    Also, he constantly insults and screams at me deranged, right-wing rhetoric, but that is neither here nor there.

    Call me a flip-flopper again, and I'll kick your ass.

    by NambyPambyPinkoCommie on Fri Aug 08, 2014 at 09:50:13 AM PDT

  •  I think we all know who the real enemy is (0+ / 0-)
  •  So.Much.Wrong (5+ / 0-)

    Andrew W.K. doesn't know what the fuck he's talking about.

    That should been obvious to you, akadjian, when you read this line:

    because he thinks for himself
    "Son's" father is a new phenomena. A product of the rightwing media age.

    People who are so consumed with fear and hatred and reinforcement seeking that they exhibit pathological symptoms. They have become addicted to seeking confirming information about their enemy/opponents.

    And they have those confirmations in a billion dollar "industry" of right wing media.

    When television only had three channels, and all of them singing the same, moderate, Ozzie and Harriet tune, being a TV addict didn't result in mental disorders.

    Without going into the details of what TV does to one's brain(it shuts down rational thought), and how when combined with a constantly reinforced belief system, and overdoses of hate and fear mongering, it can make one start to exhibit signs similar to those of cult members.

    What Son's father needs is probably a kind of "deprogramming" treatment. But he almost certainly won't get it.

    Science is lagging way behind marketing in terms of the effects of the kind of brainwashing possible with 24/7 propaganda channels - plus other media.

    This is all new. The scope, the depth. Not so much the message, but the ability to blanket the subject, 24/7, is unprecedented.

    But I suspect many here have seen it. A family member or acquaintance, someone who seems to have become a right wing zombie for the cause.

    They're the ones, like missionaries of hate, sending emails and FB posts constantly from the so-called right wing noise machine.

    I'm reluctant to use that term because it's much more sophisticated and effective than that name would imply.

    We've all see these people. I know a few. Noty all are pathalogical. Some can be reached.

    But when people are this stirred up with fear and hatred, of Muslims, Gays, some cartoon version of liberals, and then throw in ebola, the terrists[sic], the destruction of 1950s America....

    This is not just a difference of opinion we're dealing with here. It's pathological.

  •  I stand with FDR -- (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    " They are unanimous in their hate for me—and I welcome their hatred."

    What kind of world does this Andrew guy want? These people hate our values. I don't hate the true conservative lifestyle -- hell, I don't drink, smoke, take drugs or cheat on my wife. We work hard, pay our taxes, support charities and save for our retirement. My wife and I are pretty much "model citizens", yet because we want the government to not racially discriminate against people who don't look like us, want it to help folks in worse economic positions and have universal healthcare while staying out of women's private areas, we are considered "commies" by most of the people in our state and our relatives and their friends. I could care less about most Texans, (they're pretty much hopeless) and as for my relatives and in-laws, I love them, but I'll be damned before I embrace and condone their selfishness and hatred.

    Love your family and help all you can when they need you, but the rest of the "conservatives" are a lost cause. They don't compromise, but with the changing demographics, we don't need them -- leave them behind.

  •  Open-mindedness is overrated. (2+ / 0-)

    I used to do the open-minded listening thing with a libertarian friend of mine. All this did was to encourage him to talk about his horseshit ideas at every opportunity. No, I don't think DDT is a miracle pesticide that was unjustly banned by government dimwits. No, I don't think health care in America would improve by dismantling the FDA and physician licensing procedures. No, I don't think your unhappiness with taxation and regulation is in any way comparable to the suffering of slaves on a plantation. No, I'm not even going to ask why you think women shouldn't have the right to vote. I'm going to assume it's because you're drunk off your ass and leave it at that.  

    I didn't learn anything enlightening from these discussions, nor did I change his point of view. And the stress of being a respectful listener in the face of such irrational nonsense was enormous. We're still friends, but we don't discuss politics anymore. Let's-not-talk-about-it toleration is the way to go when dealing with family, friends, and co-workers with radical conservative views. Open-minded discussion with these folks? It's more trouble than it's worth.  

  •  I don't know that I agree (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    If we don't let these people know that their politics are unacceptable, they have no reason to change. And if we don't pick sides, we all die, frankly, because if the right wing nutters don't destroy the environment first, there are plenty of them ready to come after us physically.

  •  Bullshit. (3+ / 0-)

    Tea Partiers and Republican politicians are my enemy. ENEMY. As a gay, polyamorous, same-sex married, liberal atheist/pagan, they want me DEAD. I will not roll over and sing Kumbayah in the name of some kind of nebulous "open-mindedness" that really equals empty-mindedness. False equivalencies kill. These people are wrong and need to be told they're wrong and their attempted political activities worked against.

    And I don't really care if they're family members. I have plenty of aunts/uncles I don't talk to anymore because they're Teabagging racists. I don't HAVE to be uncomfortably accommodating to my birth family if I don't want to. I have a chosen family that's a much better fit.

    The last time the Republicans were this radical, they were working to elect former slaves to Congress. What a difference a century and a half makes!

    by jayjaybear on Sun Aug 10, 2014 at 09:26:12 AM PDT

    •  Same here (5+ / 0-)

      I may not be in the exact same boat as you, but yes, these people want me dead, no questions asked, and I'm sick of all this flowers-in-the-rifle-barrel BS that comes from the left. I'm also sick of this "progress takes time" crap. The enemy can spend 40 years patiently trying to push their agenda because their agenda is to kill people they don't like and profit off the suffering of others. Our agenda is to save lives and alleviate suffering. If we're "patient" in pushing that agenda, people die and people suffer. That's un-fucking-acceptable.

    •  That's so true. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      carrps, snwflk, silverfoxcruiser

      We should have learned that from the failure of the "flower power" and "human potential" movements in the Sixties.  It's irresponsible to "turn on, tune in and drop out", except for a brief visit to "the other side".  All we succeeded in doing was getting Richard Nixon elected.  What got rid of Nixon in the end wasn't love and good vibrations.  It was good old-fashioned investigative journalism leading to an ugly political firestorm.

      After Watergate, it was hard to find anyone who'd admit they had voted for Nixon in 1972.  Likewise, climate-change deniers will be really hard to find once Miami Beach is underwater.

  •  Andrew said . . . (4+ / 0-)

    "No matter how wrong someone else may seem to us, they are still human. No matter how bad someone may appear, they are truly no worse than us."

    Are you sure about that, Andrew? I think to be considered a human being you have to actually join the human race, and that means not having an individualistic philosophy so selfish that it actually ignores the well-being of the collective human race.

  •  Even so (3+ / 0-)

    right wing politics DOES turn people into monsters.

    THE ONLY WAY YOU CAN CONTROL PEOPLE IS TO LIE TO THEM. You can write that down in your book in great big letters. -- L. Ron Hubbard Technique 88

    by xenubarb on Sun Aug 10, 2014 at 09:41:48 AM PDT

  •  I don't know (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    love is a wonderful thing, the best thing, the truest guiding light ... but some people's parents are destructive jerks, and those people can be better off forgetting about them as much as possible.

    An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

    by mightymouse on Sun Aug 10, 2014 at 09:55:50 AM PDT

  •  something else (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    to consider.  Both my parents are/were Republicans with views totally different from mine.  I never considered my dad an asshole, and we had no problem being with each other or even talking some politics.  My mother on the other hand,  is a difficult person, is an alcoholic,  and totally obnoxious to talk to about just about anything important.  He and my mother shared beliefs pretty much 100% but with him, no problem.  With her, big problem.  

  •  This is why Dems tend to lose elections... (8+ / 0-)

    While repubs are active in stating what they're angry about and actualizing their (horrific) plans, Dems just want to embrace the world (bigots included) and talk about commonality. How has that strategy worked for Obama? If Dems simply got off our lazy butts and voted in every election, it would neutralize many of the GOP's attack points. Like bedbugs, you're never gonna get rid of stupid people, just limit the damage they cause.

    •  Understanding and "loving" doesn't mean (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      embracing.  Of course we must vote against those laws and candidates that are destructive of all of us. We must get as many people to do likewise as possible.  But, we must not become filled with hatred, like they are.  If we do, we will become them, coming from the left, but just as destructive, vicious, and hateful.

    •  Dems lose elections because they are outspent (0+ / 0-)

      ... and conservatives have purchased and developed more effective media.

      They lose elections because conservatives know how to win people over to a cause and they know how to play divide and conquer games with their opposition.

      "Embrace the world" is a straw man.  

      They lose elections because they're unable to use superior numbers to win people over to even the simplest task of voting.

      How the hell are you ever going to win anyone over to anything if you're only willing to talk to people who already agree with you?

      Have you ever won someone over before? How have you done it?

      Does calling people "bigots" help?

  •  LEFT is the new Right (4+ / 0-)

    I refuse to embrace "stupid."
    I have zero tolerance for republicans.
    But sometimes I cannot avoid them, so my tact is to remain
    civil & polite & manage to make them trip over their own backwards thinking.

    But this "Love" stuff, I choose being authentic instead of trying to take a high road.  After all, I do Not love the ideology of all the harmful wrongs they commit.

    I strive to be the burr in every repug's saddle.

    by AriesAmiga on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 10:51:20 AM PDT

    •  What happens when scientific research shows ... (0+ / 0-)

      that countering misinformation with facts is a poor strategy?

      You might be interested in the research of Brendan Nyhan and James Reifler. They study whether misperceptions can be corrected by facts.

      Not only does their research show that quite often people will stick with their groups over facts, but they also document a "backfire effect" in which people are even more likely to believe what they already believe.

      If research shows that the way to reach people is not through "facts" and we keep trying to reach them through "facts," does this make us "stupid"?

      How many people have you won over who didn't already agree with you by calling them "repugs"?

      I don't love their ideology. If you ever have any hope of reaching someone and helping them think differently, I can tell you that you'll have a lot more success if you can find something to like about that person.

      This is actually pretty easy with most people. It doesn't have to be politics. It can be sports, music, beer, whatever. And once you can talk to them about something you both mutually like, it's much easier to bridge more difficult territory.

      None of this means agreeing with any ideology.

  •  Huh? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    travelerxxx, silverfoxcruiser

    I think it's a terrible response. False equivalence and a tidal wave of modern dime store "spirituality" goo!

    There's simply a lack of respect for facts and truth. I don't think pretending otherwise is any sort of solution. I'm surprised at the reaction I see to this online.

  •  Unfortunately, I think Andrew W.K. misses (4+ / 0-)

    the point.  The argument today is not really about politics, or interpersonal relationships.  It's about physics.  Gravity doesn't care whether I pushed my dad off the 20-storey building, or whether he tripped and fell and I tried to save him but couldn't, quite.  He accelerates according to Newton's law until he hits the ground.

    Similarly, climate change doesn't give a damn whether I love my beagle or beat her just to hear her howl.  Physics has nothing to do with character--until we get to the decision a person makes to pull the trigger on a loaded gun which is pointed at someone.  At that point, the two intersect.  If the gun works, pulling the trigger causes a physical reaction which can be just as fatal as falling 20 stories.

    Not all dichotomies are false.  The sun doesn't rise where someone's opinion says it does.  It rises either in the west or in the east.  One of those answers is right.  One is wrong.  Likewise on climate change, one answer is right, and one is wrong.  It is physics--geophysics.

    I looked at Andrew W.K.'s article and found this:

    But the truth is, the world has always been and always will be on the brink of destruction. And what keeps it from actually imploding is our love for life and our deep-seeded desire not to die.
    Sorry.  Wrong.  What keeps the world from imploding is physics.  We know that won't go on forever.  Some day, the sun will go nova and the earth will be vaporized.  But astrophysicists tell us that time is millions of years in the future.  Hundreds of years from now, the earth may well be unfit for human habitation, because of assholes like the letter-writer's dad preventing us, as a society, from doing what we've known for decades now is necessary.  CO2 emissions are the loaded gun pointed at my grandkids, and assholes like the Koch brothers refuse to put it down.
    •  Serious question: How do you intend to broach this (0+ / 0-)


      I agree completely with you on the physics btw.

      How are you going to try to win people over to your point of view who don't already agree with you?

      What's your strategy? Is it to simply state the facts to people?

      Have you tried this with people who don't agree with you? How has it worked?

      Have you ever convinced anyone of anything through this strategy of telling them that they're "wrong"?

      And if your audience is people you already agree with, why are you wasting your time getting so angry at someone who believes differently?  

  •  Interesting post. (0+ / 0-)

    I live in a blue bubble here in Los Angeles County.  All of my immediate and extended family are left-liberal.  All of my friends lean in the same direction.  No conflicts over politics at all.

    Then I met someone at a workshop and we got on Facebook together and somehow she's suddenly not responding to my texts or my invitations to go for walks, etc.  A few weeks later, out of the blue (so to speak), she starts "liking" stuff on my Facebook page.  I discover that she's posting links to right-wing politicians, etc., on her page.  She must have seen all the lefty links on my page, and soul-searched for a while, and then decided she could stand to have me as a friend after all!

    Since then, we've "liked" stuff on each other's pages, but I had to go through a bit of soul-searching myself.  We share a common bond in other ways, and, for me, that's more important than her politics.  She has her own reasons for feeling and thinking the way she does, and I really don't care about her politics.

    I just can't change people, and I don't want to try.  All I can do is be the best person I can be and leave it at that.  Meanwhile, I keep trying to fight the good fight where I can!

    •  Well said ... there are certain people who will (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      J Graham

      never change.

      I've found though that I can reach 90% of the people I talk with if I can find something to sincerely like about them.

      This number used to be much lower when I played the Rep/Dem game of baiting followed by correcting people.

      While I believe facts and the truth are extremely important, I've also found that no one was ever won over by facts alone. At least not anywhere outside of an academic setting.

      Recent research even supports the idea that trying to argue "facts" with someone can produce a backfire effect. People feel attacked and will defend their beliefs to the death.

      I don't find this surprising given my experiences and the conversations I typically see.

      I've found there are much better approaches and you seem to have found one as well.

  •  It sucks when... (4+ / 0-) have no way of knowing, if the kid really is myopic and his dad isn't so bad, or if the father really has turned into a Koch-brother's clone, and the kid is just really lacking in the ability to articulate the fights his father and he are having, in a way that shows his father's behavior in an accurate light.

    And this is a big problem with advice columns and radio call-in shows. Sometimes people's problems are reduced to being whiny or inflexible, when the reality is they're in a real crisis, but they can't express themselves well enough to tell the would-be helper what is happening.

    What he needed to do was to give specific examples, of arguments they've had, and how both sides responded to them. Then we'd know, if Andrew should've encourage this guy to ignore all the tension and just work on rebuilding his relationship with his dad, or step back and admit that if the relationship dies it's not his fault.

    My 'best' grandfather called me a Satan worshipper. And two of my other three grandfathers (all grandparents divorced and remarried) were actual monsters, who physically and sexually abused their children and spouses for years. Not every family is full of equally loving and reasonable people, who sometimes just can't get along. Sometimes, one person truly is destructive to the relationships around them - and without details we have no way of knowing if that is the situation guy is in.

    Also, there is a vast and monumental difference, between both sides arguing that the other side is destroying the country, and specific people on both sides, who actually are - people who falsely led us into a war with lies, and people who think it's OK to talk about shooting our POTUS - and the sad reality that some seemingly rational people keeping buying the lies of these psychopaths.

    And I seriously object to Andrew's depiction of the young man making his father less than human. He called him his dad, he doesn't talk about him in the third person, he said all WE do is argue, not all HE does is argue. He's even said he tries to spend time with him without such conversations. He is taking responsibility for his side of the argument - but clearly being pushed to a point where their differences are too big to just say "love him" and be done with it.

    Sorry, but I do not consider this sound advice - it sounds like a stereotypical tree-hugger response, to a serious division that is tearing our nation and families apart right now. Can't we all just get along, is not going to fix this.

  •  And if your dad is right of Joseph Goebbels? (4+ / 0-)

    And what if he was Joseph Goebbels? How about Goebbels assistant? What if he's the guy who did Goebbels laundry and firebombed Jewish businesses on the side ...or perhaps simply donated funds to those who did?

    No, my father is not that dad. However, would he have been a Good German? Perhaps, perhaps not. The possibility is certainly there. I'm not sure enough to wager a dime on it.

    Maybe on a very, very personal level one can attempt to ignore views of our relatives who are either so close to fascist thought that you can smell the sulfur, or are outright fascists, but to sit passively and watch them head down that road to hell is something I will not do. Nor, will I sit idly by and watch them destroy this nation.

    Some reading this (like Mr. Andrew W.K. of the VV) may be safely ensconced in a very blue locale, and can afford the luxury of "can't-we-all-just-get-along" talk, but even our Mr. Andrew W.K. might change his views were he on the front lines here in Texas. I doubt he's overheard co-workers seriously discussing whether liberals should be interned in concentration camps - or just shot - when their "Zombie Apocalypse" occurs. He probably has not been present to see the "True the Vote" fascists harassing minority voters, or had his polling place air conditioning turned off on a 100 degree election day in an attempt to discourage voters (done by the good Christians who ran the polling place church). Perhaps he's not had the joy of turning on a radio and finding every single station available to be sewer pipe, pumping out high octane hate 24 hours a day, every day.

    I would urge Mr. Andrew W.K. to read Sebastian Haffner's Defying Hitler - perhaps after a short visit to Texas. I suspect he might just have different view.

    Like FDR, I am happy to be known by my enemies. I refuse to coddle fascists. Should they be in my family, it's sad, but I have to live with my own conscience. I will not aid them, nor abet them. They are causing too much pain, with the distinct possibility of complete disaster.

  •  Parents are Chronic FOX Watchers (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It's like living in Cognitive Dissonance Podcast.

    Thanks to those guys on that show..I feel like I'm not fucking losing my mind anymore. They bring back rational thinking. Innoculation against those terrible weekends and family trips!

    •  Yes--- (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      snwflk, silverfoxcruiser

      I had a good friend who was a generation older than me (Ya know--worked in DC during WWII when WOMEN didn't work at all?)  And she had politics up the wazoo--and NONE of them were remotely like my hippie liberal think for myself views.  

      She worshipped Rush and Co  and read some NYC paper that ALWAYS contradicted the NYT--which she loved to  call a "Whore"!---and I do think she liked to bait me a bit---ok sometimes a LOT--about things.  

      We did not really "argue"  as such but there was def a huge disconnect in opinions.  After 9/11 tho she actually calmed this down a bit.  

      And then--I had this mother.  Ya know the East Coast Liberal who marched and went to meetings and worked long into the night stapling copies of "Our Bodies, Ourselves" together.    And assisted CO's to get to Canada. THAT mother.

      Who moved to AZ in 1984 and apparently WAS eaten by zombies.   She turned 180* towards the weird Right based pols out there in the hot dessert---does it DO something to their brains mebbe???---and defended using millions of gallons of DRINKING WATER for pools and golf courses and how the border jumpers--this was back then remember!!!!---were coming to TAKE OUR JOBS---

      I visited in 1995 and noticed the day laborers in the parking lots and was incredulous--Was THIS the group they were all AFRAID of?  These poor starving guys looking for a days pay for what--picking fruit?  I said--When I SEE a buncha white well fed guys standing out there looking for a days pay for PICKING FRUIT---then I will worry.  

      Then her husband  died and she married someone even WORSE--a RAVING CATHOLIC RIGHT WING TOTAL NUT JOB.

      It didn't end well.

      I find it hard to take Andrew of the V.V. seriously--I mean;  bless his heart;  I am sure he loves HIS mother but-----

  •  My father... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and my brother, who is 10 years older than me, share any number of ideas that are common to "prior" generations, about a lot of things. Their whole experience comes from a time when these things "seemed" to make sense, and it contributes to them supporting things that are broken, or damaged. To them employing thinking about certain subjects which have actually "created" the very problems they sometimes argue can be solved by the very same things.

    They are liberals, but only to a point, at which they are more like the center-right "Democrats", on some things, and in a few others, maybe a bit head of the same people. But, they are also inflexible about some things, especially my father, and just can't see the value of the arguments against it.

    A good example was a bit of a discussion we had over our position about guns, and, more to the point, what counted as defense. The family friend who pushed the argument, flat out called me an idiot, but.. my father wasn't much better. As I saw it, in the family friends "example", if my own father was on the ground bleeding, possibly dead, *he* was the priority, not some sort of revenge against the guy that had done it. There is no value in pursuing them. If they where still a threat to others, sure, but then, they just shot someone, and I would be in no position to stop them, before they would kill me anyway. Pursuing revenge would be just flat stupid. Trying to stop them, without certainty that I would come out ahead, would be simply foolish. Letting someone, possibly still alive, and bleeding on the floor, die, because of this person, just so I can get back at them for doing it, would be, at best, selfish, and pointless, in that it wouldn't bring them back, or save them, if they where still alive.

    All they saw was me saying that I wouldn't shoot the attacker. That I, somehow, didn't care enough, or feel enough a sense of what they insisted was "justice" to commit the same pointless act against someone I might not even draw on fast enough to actually do what they thought should be obvious, and right, they, supposedly, had done to them.

    To them, the mere existence of a gun, in my hands, somehow would have been "right", and "obligated me" to shoot, without any thought to any other concerns, including the possibility that, in the real, non-hypothetical world, the guy I shot might not have even been the one responsible, or the situation what I thought it was. I was just wrong, because I didn't think having the bloody gun would have helped the situation, or their idea of what was so "obviously right" didn't have other consequences.

    This, of course, came out of a discussion of the stupid BS laws being passed that let people run around everyplace, armed, just because they also think the "more likely" situation they find themselves in will be the one in which they will be heroes, won't make a mistake, or have some sort of "moral obligation" to revenge.

    How do you have a reasonable argument about the objection to this logic, with someone that actually thinks it is perfectly logical in the first place?

    The best I can manage is to recognize that it is thinking "common" for those in the circumstances, and time, they grew up in, and that its only irrational now because we better understand how it can go wrong, as it grew more common. And, more importantly, that there are good arguments against it, instead of for it, where they may not have been before. Such it progress. Sometimes we go down the wrong path, because no one wants to listen to the people that point out the problems, or the ones with better solutions. Other times, we recognize the problems, and actual pursue better solutions. But, all too often, even as the latter is trying to push to make things better, the former.. are still pushing us towards the edge, and, completely unintentionally, and without seeing the cliff.

  •  The Brainwashing Of My Dad By Limbaugh, Fox & GOP (0+ / 0-)

    Documentary Trailer

  •  edmund burke quote (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    " ...the only thing necessary for evil to exist is for good people to remain silent..."  therefore i will speak up when i am confronted with hatred and lies.

  •  I still say that the best thing to do, rather than (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    engage when you know there is no hope in changing the viewpoint of the other person, is to quietly - with dignity and respect - walk away. If someone who is arguing with you asks you where you are going, the only thing that is necessary to say is that you don't wish to engage in discussions that are going nowhere and that are only causing enmity and rancor. An extremely wise man once said, "He who speaks does not know, and he who knows does not speak". If you know that your position is the better one, why is it important to convince everyone else, especially those who absolutely refuse to listen?

  •  Made Me Think (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    belinda ridgewood

    I do try to respond to others with love & with impersonal arguments, but I do tend to judge others when their politics disagree with mine. There is something to the idea that those making who either don't know or don't care that these policies are hurting other humans have a valid point. Still, always err on the side of love.

  •  Who's on the Other End, Though? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    My beloved dad and I used to argue fiercely about politics.  But the opinions he was putting forth were his own, as were mine, and the facts we were arguing from were, uh, facts.

    I find it nearly impossible to even converse with someone who's been programmed with the current round of RWNM memes  --  the defenses against any crack in the theme park they live in are nearly homicidal.  And since they've also been programmed to reject logic, science, and objective fact  -- what's the point?

    And that's my issue with the advice  --  it's very unlikely that that father's opinions actually are his own.  They're the carefully-manufactured product of a very toxic soup he's been simmered in.

  •  Love thy father? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snwflk, silverfoxcruiser

    Only if they are worthy of love.

    I always dislike the "Love your parents because they made you" line. I didn't ask them to do that. Had they not, I would be none the wiser. They had children for reasons of their own and what those reasons were besides pure biological impulse and societal pressure I do not know. Actually, in my case, it is pretty clear I was not planned, so my coming into being was an accident. And I should thank them for this? I should love them for this? I think not. Had they proved themselves to be lovable people, then I would, just as I love many people I have encountered over my many years enjoying my accidental existence.

    So I can't agree that that is a great letter. If the father discussed by the one who sent the letter to Andrew W.K. was truly a full-fledged fox-hole living, limbaugh-worshipping fool, then there is a decent chance he is a racist, misogynist, nationalist jerk. And I personally have vowed to no longer associate with bigots regardless of how similar our DNA is. They are free to believe what they want, and I am free to challenge them and/or ignore them as I see fit.

    DNA similarity is not a reason to love in and of itself. Rather love those worthy of love, and respect the rights of all others.  That works for me. :-)

  •  Love is the answer (0+ / 0-)

    BULLSHIT. Until people stand up to the crap spewed on Fox and respewed by their idiot relatives it will not only remain but flourish. When a relative spews RUSH CRAP make them justify hy they feel that way. 100% of the time they cant go more than one level below talking point before they become flumoxed. MAKE them actually think.

    We get the government we deserve and what we deserve unfortunately is what we have right now. Is that good enough?? Not by a long shot. Have some balls and stand up for what you believe in but do it in the kindest way you can that still gets the point across that what the loved one says they believe is NOT supported by any  facts. Make them think instead of being told what to think. They will thank you later if they dont kill you first lol..

    •  The Fox-Limbaugh Crowd (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I like your attitude.  The Fox-Limbaugh crowd may be as dumb as a rock but that's no reason to allow them to shun the light of incontrovertible truth.  Truth has the same effect on ignorance as flowing water has on rocks.  Both are subject to erosion and over time, both will succumb to extinction.        

  •  His column needs editing for space & tone (0+ / 0-)

    It's way too scolding and finger-pointing, which takes away from the good points.

    "Alcohol enables Congress to do things at eleven at night that no sane person would do at eleven in the morning." - George Bernard Shaw

    by Loose Fur on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 11:14:34 PM PDT

  •  My dad was right wing then turned left wing (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a gilas girl, twocrows1023

    Yeah, so my dad was sort of similar sounding to this son's dad; 15 years of patient explaining about why his politics made no sense, despite the ranting, plus his deciding to listen to NPR for about 10 years prior, meant he turned from a very auto-programmed right wing high strung capitalist to at least a moderate democrat.  I think that his kids were kind enough to spell it out to him probably helped.

  •  Right-Wing Fanatics and Family Feuds (0+ / 0-)

    Many people, if not most people, are inclined to confront a moment of discord with no thought of lasting consequence.  Long-lived resentments as well as epic family feuds often begin with on-the-spot, ill-chosen words and burned bridges. Hasty confrontation comes with an unspoken assumption that burned bridges can be repaired, and this may be the case.  But the traffic pattern across a rebuilt bridge never returns to what it was.  By definition, a fanatic is, "one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject".  Confrontation with a right-wing fanatic serves no purpose.  They are oblivious to facts and immune to reason.  When it comes to right-wing family members and close associates, it's better to dismiss a moment of discord than burn a bridge.

  •  You've never heard of Andrew W.K.? FOR REAL? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I cannot believe you've never heard of Andrew W.K. He's one of those extremely intelligent, insightful "hipsters" who generally promotes a message of peace, love and understanding. He's made regular appearances on VH1's "I Love The 70's" (and ensuing decades). Also, he's well-known for being a die-hard partier whose thoughts on "how to have a good time" are summed up in this music video of his song, "Party Hard."

    Just in case you missed it, Andrew W.K. actually had the balls to be interviewed yesterday by Glenn Beck on his show, "The Blaze." You'd think that featuring these two disparate men discussing various subjects would've been a fucking train wreck, but Beck was feeling all warm-and-fuzzy during the interview, agreeing with his guest on many issues. (Jeez, does Beck like the sound of his own voice or what?) Here's a link to this bizarre episode of "The Blaze" show. Please to enjoy...

    •  I don't know how I missed this guy (0+ / 0-)

      Thanks for the video.

      The comments here have been quite interesting. Many people have made some really good points that I believe Andrew W.K. left out.

      Where I agree with him is the idea of talking to people across what I see as false boundaries. I agree with his idea of commonality.

      I see commonality, however, as a way to reach people. His belief seems to be more of a hippie, libertarian message.

      This has been a fascinating post. Mostly for the comments.

  •  While I respect Andrew W.K., (0+ / 0-)

    I can't agree with him on this point:

    Love your dad because he's your father, because he made you,
    I loved my dad because he was a human being and deserved love for that fact alone.  But I could not love him because he was my father and made me.  That would require respect and that he did not deserve.  
    Love is freely given.  Respect must be earned.

    My father was a die-hard conservative who worked as hard as he could to put his children down.  Constantly.  I didn't bear the brunt of his hatred - - - that would be my brother.  But I did come in for my share.  As did all his 4 children.

    And then, apparently, he had a change of heart in later life.  It got to a point where he and I could speak to each other without rancor.  Unfortunately, it happened during only the last 2 visits I made to his home.

    And then, surprise of all surprises, some years after his death, my cousin informed me that my father had voted for Clinton, of all people.  Prior to that, he had given me to understand that he had voted Republican in every election.  
    Why my father talked this frankly with my cousin and not with his own children [my sibs didn't know, either] I can only surmise.  I believe that he believed that he would be admitting that he had been wrong all those years and he couldn't bear to allow his children to see what he perceived to be his humiliation. That's just a guess, of course, but one that takes the all the facts  into account.

    The price of apathy is to be ruled by evil men - - Plato . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . We must be the change we wish to see in the world - - Mohandas Gandhi

    by twocrows1023 on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 09:29:59 PM PDT

  •  No. (0+ / 0-)

    Assholes need to be made aware they are assholes, and that conservatives have been the enemy of humanity from day!.

    •  What good does calling someone an 'asshole' do? (0+ / 0-)

      Does it convince them of anything?

      Do they look in the mirror and say "Wow, I'm an asshole. I think I need to change."?

      I have many conservative friends. Here's a few thoughts based on people I know:

      1. Conservatives don't think they're the enemy of humanity.
      2. On the contrary, many think liberals are the enemy of humanity.
      3. I've been able to change this view in a number of people who I'm friends with.
      4. If you're friends with someone, facts stand a lot better chance of being heard.

  •  My thoughts (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    smileycreek, akadjian

    There have been some interesting comments on this topic some of which I agree with. E.g., the right-wing media has played a consequential role in playing to people's fears. Using wedge issues and playing the race card has been going on since Nixon and has been perfected in the last 40 or so years by the right-wing media.

    Second, there is some truth that listening to your opponents is valuable. Sometimes the left makes the mistake of immediately assuming that every person who spouts a right-wing view is exactly alike. Sometimes the views that are transmitted are not very deep and addressing the fears that underlie the hate may help. Also, a left-right dichotomy is somewhat misleading as people can be divided in their views, i.e., they may be social liberals and economic conservatives and vice versa.

    Third, I think there is a danger in becoming too self-righteous and becoming the image of the enemy. We can disagree profoundly with someone's views without necessarily hating them.

    Fourth, I don't think that simply tolerating all views as though they have equal weight as Andrew W.K. seems to imply is sufficient. Some views are dangerous as the person who lives in Texas points out. A lot is at stake now and we do need to find solutions. Liberal thought now is very splintered and unfocused. Every problem seems to be a separate one with its own constituency. There is very little cooperation with each one competing with the others for your time and funds. This has got to change.  We need a world-encompassing vision that sees the interconnection between these competing claims. Hopefully the environmental and human rights groups will one day act in unison.

    •  What I hear you saying is, (0+ / 0-)

      respond to people as people first.

      Welcome to Daily Kos. If you have any questions about how to participate here, you can learn more at the Community Guidelines, the Knowledge Base, and the Site Resource Diaries. Diaries labeled "Open Thread" are also great places to ask. We look forward to your contributions.

      ~~ from the DK Partners & Mentors Team.

      The dinosaurs never saw that asteroid coming. What's our excuse?
      ~~ Neil deGrasse Tyson

      by smileycreek on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 06:56:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Very well put, I've also found ... (0+ / 0-)

      You will never reach anyone by telling them that they're wrong.

      The way to reach people and break down some of these false divides (like Rep/Dem) is to start with what you have in common.

      From their, as a friend or a relative, you can help take them further.

      Telling someone they're wrong or "stupid" has never changed anyone's mind.

      Another way to think of it is, is your dad or friend or whoever really your enemy or is it the people behind the propaganda.

      I love your point about world-encompassing vision. Here, I don't think you could be more spot on.

  •  Yeah, this doesn't really float my boat... (0+ / 0-)

    Fluffy bunnies and unicorns are great, but families really are literally being torn apart by right-wing radio, and there are no rehab facilities or deprogramming clinics for them.  As I have come to see staunch Republicanism as a form of mental disease, I find myself having less and less patience with the enablers who seem to think that it's okay to be a Republican when the Republicans at the top of the party are such a vast collections of loons.

    When was the last time a Republican was even capable of accurately detailing for you what were the possible counterarguments to his or her position?

    •  I know plenty of Republicans capable of ... (0+ / 0-)

      detailing counterarguments. Some quite convincingly.

      Please don't confuse conservative people with pundits or right-wingers you see on TV.

      I've had great political discussions with plenty of Republicans and I can tell you that you are capable of reaching them over 90% of the time if you start from a place of commonality.

      I can also tell you you have zero chance if you consider Republicans "stupid" or if you think of them as having a mental disease.

      Your chances increase significantly the more you can move out of the Rep/Dem game where they call you "liberal" and you call them "stupid".

      You are right to be angry about right-wing propaganda. You're also right that one of the few options available to us is reaching them personally as we don't have our own radio or TV stations.

      The most effective way to do this is to start from some place or something that you have in common and to speak with people like people.

      Our strength as liberals is in numbers. Not money or media. If we want change, one of the best ways to do it is to start by thinking about out how we can win people over.

      Getting pissed off and hating them or calling them stupid accomplishes ... what exactly?

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