Donkey Punch

August 31, 2007

You’ve gotta start somewhere!

Filed under: Advice, Democracy Now, GWOT, iraq, people power, Politics, protest, war — t4toby @ 9:49 am

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Here is a place to start.

h/t to Clapso

Check out Clapso’s blog. He is angry, and rightly so. I’m angry too, but I often feel powerless to stop the runaway train that our political structure.

It’s like the Baby Steps. You have to start somewhere small to accomplish something big.

Even the tiniest grains of sand can stop a mighty machine if enough of them get in the works.

I heard this quote attributed to Gandhi, but cannot verify that attribution. This is the plan, the essence of how where going to get out of this mess.

Attrition: 3 : the act of weakening or exhausting by constant harassment, abuse, or attack

(Hanx, Merriam-Webster)

I would define attrition as the act of weakening by tiny but relentless action.

So the Iraq Moratorium seems like a good first step for those of us who are paralyzed with inaction. So if you see people wearing the armbands on the third Friday of the month, say hello to them. Reach out. Alone, we are a voice in the dark. Together…

August 20, 2007

Republican Friends?

Filed under: Advice — t4toby @ 3:26 pm

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In my ongoing attempt to do something different, I’ll try to tackle another question posed to me:

How can I reconcile being someones friend that voted for George Bush two times?

I’ve had this question in mind for a week, without an idea of where to go with it.

I have a couple of guys on my soccer team who are between far right and raging neocon.  They are both nice guys who, besides our different political views, seem perfectly sane.  I have gotten into a few shouting matches with one of them, usually over the gulf that exists between our respective takes on reality (and after a couple of beers).  This has gotten us nowhere.  So I decided to agree to disagree.  We get along fine now.  We don’t discuss politics.

One of the smartest people I have ever met told me something that took me awhile to accept.  He told me that he was glad there were murderers and lunatics and rapists in the world.  His take on this is that when people get insulated from the full range of behavior that humans exhibit, they lose their moral compass.  Basically, he reasons, we need people defining the fringe of acceptable behavior, otherwise we lose sight of any limit to our behavior at all.

This seems true in cult situations.  The members of the cult are isolated from the outside world, thus ‘resetting’ their moral compass.  And then they think chasing comets, or drinking the kool aid, or turning a blind eye to your leaders serial obsession with 14 year-old girls is perfectly normal behavior.

So I think it is healthy to have friends that have opposite opinions.   When you think of opposing viewpoints, it helps to have a face to go with a belief.  We certainly aren’t going to solve our problems by only hanging out with people in our crowd.  I think we owe it to ourselves to deepen our understanding of the world by being more open minded and accepting.

So go for it!  It is a challenge to be sure, but worth the mental aerobics in the long run.

(To be clear, however, I don’t want this to be misconstrued as some kind of plea for bi-partisanship.  That pile of crap is currently overwhelming the political discourse.  When two groups of Economically Elite Socialites ‘Reach Across the Aisle’ to come up with plans that really only benefit the Economically Elite, that is not bipartisanship, it is good old fashioned oppression.)

August 13, 2007

Oh, yeah, start off with the easy ones…

Filed under: Advice, Golden Rule, Morals — t4toby @ 1:23 pm

What do you do when you find out a friend is participating in something illegal? Do you ditch the friend? Are you now an accessory to a crime if you know something and don’t report it? Would love some advice. Thanks! Comment by Subversive — August 11, 2007 @ 3:56 am

Wow. My first question for advice. And its a doozy.

So I guess I’ll start by saying you have to distinguish between morals and laws.

Laws are made by men. Usually privileged men with a different set of values than the common person. So the answer to this question lies within your own set of values. And I don’t mean moral as a fixed point on a compass (like laws), but more personally. How does it make you feel, deep down? What is that tiny voice (you know, the one you never listen to…) saying?

The first question is, “Do you believe what your friend is doing is immoral?”

Resistance to unjust laws is as old as laws themselves. I tend to use the fairly libertarian guideline of: No Brakes, No Foul

Say I’m driving down the road, and another car pulls out in front of me. If said car can accelerate fast enough so I do not have to use my brakes, then I give them a pass. If I must apply pressure to my brake pedal, they incur my wrath, which usually involves chocolate sprinkles and camel dung.

Not really, but if it causes no harm to another, then why worry about it?

An alternate first question would involve the Golden Rule. You know, Do Unto Others As You Would Have Done Unto You. Put yourself in the other’s shoes, and I don’t mean your friend’s. How would you feel if you were on the receiving end of the crime and someone knew and wasn’t telling?

On the other hand, if it does morally offend you (Rape, Murder, and Molestation top my list of unpardonables) the you are obligated to let someone know. The guilt that you will have to carry around knowing what you know is not worth it.

But lets say it is something in the gray area: embezzlement from large corporations, insurance fraud, tax evasion , etc…

Now you have to ask yourself both the first question, and the second question: “How well do I know this person.” Combine the amount of moral outrage you feel about the illegal activity with what you know about this person. The answer should not be easy, but fairly obvious.

As far as being an accessory: You are an accessory if you know something and don’t report it (in the eyes of the law). So this may help you decide if the secret is worth keeping. I personally don’t think this should change the above two questions. Either it is worth it to bear your friend’s secret, or it isn’t.

As an aside, so often the hardest path is the correct one. Don’t be afraid to make the correct decision for you soul, heart and mind. In the long run, it will be worth the effort.

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