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Tue Jul 29, 2014, 03:32 PM

Nifty Shapes of Grains

“Any time two people think just alike, it means only one of them is thinking.”
-- Malcolm X


One of the curious dynamics on DU:GD is how members view various public figures. Quite often, forum members recognize that political figures are human beings, hence a combination of good and bad. Yet, surprisingly often, this is not the case. In some instances, because a person disagrees with a politician on one issue, they present that figure as all bad. In other instances, people present a political figure as all good.

This leads to another unattractive DU:GD dynamic, in which if a member expresses an opinion on a public figure -- be it approving or disapproving -- a cluster of forum members will accuse that person of being an apologist/cheerleader, or a troll seeking to destroy unity. In my opinion, while this may be true in a few cases, it is so few as to be insignificant. (Indeed, I view anything that an apologist/cheerleader and/or troll has to say as totally insignificant.)

Now, these dynamics are distinct from the very real inability that a number of forum members have that prevents them from rationally discussing specific “hot issues,” such as racism and sexism. Yet, there can be overlap -- for example, when discussing Barack Obama, who is the first brown-skinned American president.

A realistic view of President Obama has to take into account several factors. These include the nature of the presidency ….what a president can and cannot do, no matter who is in office. In my opinion, in our current circumstances (for, say, the past 40 years), a president can do more “bad” than “good.” For example, while Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama are better men than Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush, the system has handcuffed their ability to make positive contributions, in a manner far more extreme than it limited Reagan or Bush to do severe damage to the national fabric.

This obviously involves things such as the make-up of both houses of Congress, as well as the Supreme Court. This is not limited to simply the number of democrats versus republicans in the House or Senate, for many democrats in Washington are corporate puppets. One need look no further than George W. Bush’s post-9/11 behavior to find examples of democrats betraying the nation.

An unfortunate reality is that corporations enjoy far too much influence at all levels of our government. They do in your town or city, just as in your state, just as in Washington. Hence, politicians must deal with that reality. Political leaders of our era have, however, shown a distinct unwillingness to take a balanced approach between corporate greed and human need. The lack of ethical standards in this area is always a valid measure of any politician.

That a public figure makes an error, no matter if it is in their personal or professional life, is a different matter. Yet, to a number of people here -- perhaps conditioned by the corporate media -- such an error not only outweighs all of that person’s positive contributions, but it permanently disqualifies them from being considered worthy of any respect.

If being perfect is the only acceptable status for being a leader in society, that standard would rule out virtually every human being. FDR, JFK, RFK, MLK, and Malcolm all made mistakes. So did others, such as Gandhi and John Lennon.

Perhaps I’m unrealistic in thinking that DU would be more interesting, even more valuable, if there were fewer splattering of concrete thinking taking place.

21 replies, 1608 views

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Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 21 replies Author Time Post
Reply Nifty Shapes of Grains (Original post)
H2O Man Jul 2014 OP
blogslut Jul 2014 #1
H2O Man Jul 2014 #6
leftstreet Jul 2014 #2
H2O Man Jul 2014 #3
democrank Jul 2014 #4
H2O Man Jul 2014 #5
polichick Jul 2014 #7
H2O Man Jul 2014 #13
polichick Jul 2014 #19
SidDithers Jul 2014 #8
Zorra Jul 2014 #9
H2O Man Jul 2014 #11
malaise Jul 2014 #10
H2O Man Jul 2014 #12
Uncle Joe Jul 2014 #14
H2O Man Jul 2014 #15
Coventina Jul 2014 #16
H2O Man Jul 2014 #17
LWolf Jul 2014 #18
H2O Man Jul 2014 #20
LWolf Jul 2014 #21

Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 03:38 PM

1. You win all the DUzys just for that OP title

Thank you.

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Response to blogslut (Reply #1)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 04:57 PM

6. Thanks.

I couldn't think of anything else after writing the OP.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 03:39 PM

2. Obama turned his back on the mass movement supporting him



He could have accomplished anything he wanted had he mobilized the people

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Response to leftstreet (Reply #2)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 03:50 PM

3. That's an important

topic for discussing. And I do agree with what you are saying. In fact, one of the better biographies about the then "fairly new" President Obama states that he recognized that his administration failed to harness that energy ....and it really had the potential to institute meaningful change.

However, I also think that many (probably most) of the people who supported him in 2008 believed that by winning the election, they had achieved victory. So there was a lack of responsibility at the grass roots level, too. And I'm not saying "equal" amounts.

When people sat back, after enjoying a historic election, it definitely created a void. The energy that could have delivered meaningful change disappeared. And the negative force filled that void -- in part, the hostility of the tea party, the entrenched corporate interests, and more.

There was an opportunity for a lot to be accomplished, and much of it was wasted. That opportunity is gone. It'll never be here again. Another opportunity that looks, feels, smells, and tastes similar may come along, it's true. But that one is lost, and we'll pay a severe price for allowing it to slip away.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #3)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 04:52 PM

4. We are paying an awful price for allowing that historic opportunity to slip away

and we`ll keep paying until our voices are louder and our message is stronger than the corporate interests and the hateful teabaggers.

When so many of our leaders step out front to tell the "Little People" how much they care about them, then immediately run to the back rooms to placate their corporate owners, nothing will change....particularly when we, the citizens, nod in approval. Talk about low expectations!

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Response to democrank (Reply #4)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 04:56 PM

5. Exactly right.

Well said!

I don't have high expectations for any individual in elected (much less, appointed) office. It is only the citizens who have the ability to bring about social justice. "Democracy" is a never-ending struggle.

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Response to leftstreet (Reply #2)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 04:59 PM

7. "He could have accomplished anything he wanted" - WANTED being...

the operative word.

Seeing that photo made my stomach drop - all those hopeful people who had no clue they were once again just pawns in their game.

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Response to polichick (Reply #7)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 06:22 PM

13. I both agree and disagree.

No politician or "leader" (for lack of a better term) has real power; it is always the people who back them. This is, sadly, true of the corporate puppets that imitate statesmen today; it is also potentially true of a good leader -- he or she would need active participants to institute change.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #13)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 08:17 PM

19. I don't believe that Pres. Obama ever had any intention of...

making the kind of meaningful change that the people want. No way was he ever going to threaten the profit structure of the banks, Wall Street, big oil, big pharma, the insurance companies, etc.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 05:03 PM

8. "That a public figure makes an error...

...no matter if it is in their personal or professional life, is a different matter. Yet, to a number of people here -- perhaps conditioned by the corporate media -- such an error not only outweighs all of that person’s positive contributions, but it permanently disqualifies them from being considered worthy of any respect."

I guess it depends on the nature and potential impact of the "error".

Sid

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 06:11 PM

9. This leads me to ask myself, "Is there concrete all around, or is it in my head?"

So sorry; my bad self has always wanted to use that David Bowie lyric in some genuinely meaningful context ever since I first heard it, and then, lo and behold, after waiting 42 yrs for an opening, there it was.

Thank you.

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Response to Zorra (Reply #9)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 06:16 PM

11. Well done.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 06:16 PM

10. Brilliant title

A very timely post

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Response to malaise (Reply #10)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 06:18 PM

12. Thank you.

I realize that I am among those who longs for the good old days on DU .....but there not only used to be far more interesting and thoughtful discussions of GD, but there was also a good bit less of the nonsense.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 06:24 PM

14. Kicked and recommended.

Thanks for the thread, H2O Man.

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Response to Uncle Joe (Reply #14)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 06:25 PM

15. Thank you!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 06:31 PM

16. K&R

Thanks for posting.

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Response to Coventina (Reply #16)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 06:35 PM

17. Thank you.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 07:32 PM

18. American Politics are all about partisanship,

and part of that recipe includes the pressure to be a team player and present your leaders as infallible heroes and heroines. Some embrace that pressure, some resist.

Frankly, I tend to be skeptical of all politicians simply on principle, and the only real politicians I have any political respect for are those who will take ethical positions on issues and fight for those positions regardless of the political pressures that come into play. Of course, I'm an unashamed idealist, and I'd rather fight and lose political battles than dishonor integrity by capitulating. That makes me a good person and a really, really poor politician and partisan.

That of course, means that Barack Obama has never been on the very short list of politicians that earned my political respect. I'd excuse failure on the grounds of a "handcuffing system," but I don't excuse promoting unethical positions on issues to begin with, and I don't excuse pandering to those with distinctly destructive positions on issues instead of taking a stand. So be it.

That said, you make a good point about people in general, and politicians ARE people. None of us are going to reach a standard of perfection, and all heroes and heroines have feet of clay, so to speak. That includes politicians. Your list is instructive in that regard. And we can probably find positive things done by even the worst.

I'm not really interested in taking a balanced approach between corporate greed and human need. I do value balance, and trying to maintain a healthy balance in anything is often like walking a fishing line strung over a high, rocky gorge. This specific balance, though? No thank you. It's like trying to balance the needs and interests of the pedophile and the child.

As far as DU goes? True constructive debate is very, very rare on any anonymous internet site. The anonymity itself tends to remove filters that would keep us balanced between freedom of expression and civility. And, of course, DU is not a free-speech site. It's a censored site, censored in favor of partisanship. In general, there has been an attempt to maintain a balance between party and issues, as long as it's not directly related to Democratic campaigns. Still, the DU ship lists distinctly to partisan starboard, and THAT also limits open, constructive dissent.

I think good conversation is found here. We just have to sift carefully through all the rest to find it.


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Response to LWolf (Reply #18)

Wed Jul 30, 2014, 09:33 AM

20. Very well said!

Your post is exactly why I continue to participate on this forum. I appreciate it so much!

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #20)

Wed Jul 30, 2014, 08:40 PM

21. You very consistently

take the high road when it comes to what you post. Keep participating!

Many of us need the reminder now and then to stay focused on good conversation. I appreciate that.

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