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Posted by on Mar 4, 2012 in Arts & Entertainment, At TMV, Media, Politics, Society, War | 18 comments

My Response to “Please Comment Before Reading”

In my previous post, “Please Comment Before Reading,” I asked readers to post random comments that I would incorporate into a future blog post. The following is my failed attempt to fulfill my side of that assignment. I have a feeling this post will not satisfy anyone who is participating in this experiment. With this in mind, I’m hoping the comment section is soon hijacked by a topic that has nothing to do with this post.

First a few disclaimers. I’m not always able to tell the difference between a sincere remark and a snarky remark. Some bloggers and posters have developed a verbiage unique to their blogosphere relationships. Consequently, sometimes I’m not sure whether I’m being belittled or beloved. . . . Alright, I know I’m not being beloved, but I was drawn to the word pairing. So as a general rule, I choose to believe kindness is behind every possible snarky remark. At least I believe this on the outside as my heart balls up into a fetal position. That’s actually not true, my heart seldom takes the fetal position; instead it just grows hard and cold. That’s not true either. . . (notice the lazy use of . . . . ), I actually feel rejection as less a position of the heart and more a sense of heartburn. I never quite know if I’m emotionally hurt or just experiencing acid reflux from excessive cheese consumption.

One other qualifier. . . . I am going to deal with everyone or most everyone’s comments in no particular order of importance. If I leave your comment out, it simply did not tickle my fancy or I’m just plain lazy because I had no idea I’d get 25 plus comments. I’m used to far less interaction with my posts. Here we go. . . (. . . . ). . . .

Ron Beasley wrote, “I wonder if the people in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and Alabama still think global warming is a hoax. The insurance companies don’t.”

Ron, I would put this comment along with the struggles many have faced talking about Andrew Breitbart’s death. Personally, I believe there is a time and a place for everything. A time to mourn and a time not to mourn, a time to say encouraging things and a time to say difficult or challenging things. As a pastor, I’ve officiated many funerals. Funerals are complicated matters. Not everyone who dies is a wonderful person. Even so, for the most part, people try to highlight the good that was present in the recently deceased. This is not always easy and there are certainly times when the garbage of someone’s life must also be addressed. Even so, when tragedy occurs, we try to honor the deceased and the loved ones they have left behind. It just seems too soon to talk about global warming while many tornado related funerals are still being planned. And although much can and should be written about Andrew Breitbart, I believe much of it should and can be written later.

Of course, there are many good reasons no one should follow what I just suggested. First of all, we all have a litmus test concerning how we honor the recently deceased (see Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, and Hitler). Most importantly, we have a news cycle that quickly forgets once the crisis is over. Soon Breitbart will be a footnote, but his practices will still be thriving. Tornado season will temporarily abate, but global weather trends will continue. Whitney Houston will eventually become a beautiful voice on the radio, but will we ever come to grips with the devastating impact drug use has on our society. In other words, if you wait for the proper time to speak, you might win the hypothetical moral high ground but lose your audience. Sometimes people will only listen when the issue is painfully fresh in the collective conscience.

cjjack wrote that public outrage thwarted PIPA, SOPA, and the irrational decision making of Netflix. He wondered if in response to the current war hawk Iran dialogue there will “. . . be enough outrage in the public to stop Gulf War 3?” Ron Beasley suggested that American apathy concerning Afghanistan strongly argues against an anti-Iran war movement. Beasley points out that even though 70% of the US populations says they want the US out of Afghanistan, we are in fact still in Afghanistan.

First of all, the Netflix plan was thwarted because there was no one on the face of the earth who thought it was a good idea with the possible temporary exception of Reed Hastings, the CEO of Netflix. Even Reed Hastings quickly turned against himself. Although Bank of America keeps trying to top the Netflix blunder, it will be virtually impossible for any organization to ever again make a decision that is so clearly despised by everyone involved.

As far as PIPA and SOPA are concerned, that campaign seemed to be more about who controls the internet than about the power of the people. On the day of the boycott, I only found one side of the issue expressed on almost every internet site I visited. I ultimately found myself agreeing with the objections to PIPA and SOPA. However, I don’t know if I made an informed decision or if I simply succumbed to the overwhelming one sided propaganda that permeated the discussion of these issues on the internet. It was actually rather frightening to see all those organizations and companies work together to influence the political process. I hope I still agree with them the next time they decide to flex their political muscle.

As far as war with Iran goes, I am extremely disheartened with the war hawk posturing that influences so much of our political discussion. I think war with Iran would be a terrible mistake and must be a last resort. I also believe many Americans don’t understand Eastern culture. So much of the posturing that occurs in the Eastern world has nothing to do with reality. Iran is a honor/shame society that uses words in a different way than we use them in the West. Instead of letting their rhetoric influence our course of action, we should lead the way with a policy that has little or nothing to do with their social posturing. So often, US diplomacy has fallen into the trap of engaging meaningless boasting. Certainly, there are instances where military involvement is necessary. However, by engaging and elevating their idle threats, we lower ourselves to a diplomatic position that is beneath America’s best ideals.

Commenter RP added to this war hawk discussion stating that while he was taking his “3 mile walk” he heard that “the Obama administration is considering placing the special ops teams like the Army Rangers and Seal teams under the control of the CIA.” RP believes this will allow President Obama to maintain covert military affairs in places like Afghanistan and Yemen. RP closed his comment with the following wager: “Want to bet there are no blogs on this site concerning this decision? And how long would it take if the Republicans made that same proposal for it to hit the left wing news?”

First, I’ll take you up on the blog bet, as you just brought it up in my blog. Secondly, I think it would take about two to three seconds to hit the left wing news (give or take three seconds). However, just for full disclosure, I’m never quite sure how to handle the sweeping statements made about The Moderate Voice postings and writers.

I was asked to write for The Moderate Voice by Joe Gandelman (Grand Poobah of this here site). He asked me to write, after I kept bothering him with submissions. Other than inviting me to write, Joe has never told me to write anything other than what I want to write. We never have secret meetings on how we will take over the world with our moderateness. As a general rule, I like about half of what is posted on The Moderate Voice (that includes my own stuff). Which brings me to the reoccurring topic of what does it mean to be moderate.

cjjack, Rcoutme, desert moderate, Quelcrist Falconer, epiphyte, and others dealt directly or indirectly with the philosophical conundrum of “the moderate.” The word moderate is similar to the word balance. Balance is the end of the rainbow. No matter how well we articulate and point to its existence, we are still unable to arrive at a fixed end destination. Even so, we still drive our discussion in the direction of balance, hoping that we will reach a similar conclusion.

So here is my attempt to define the moderate pot of gold we’ll most likely never reach.

– Moderate is what I am in relationship to where I disagree with you.
– Moderate is what you are in relationship to your ability to agree with me.
– Moderate is the ability to recognize that others are not really moderate.
– Moderates unite on how unique they are from everybody else.
– Moderate is a middle child who wants everyone to get along but also wants to be loved.
– Moderates like to form groups out of their inability to be in groups.
– Moderate is the word I use to describe my feelings of alienation.
– I’m not in the disregard minority, I’m moderate.

Moderate is obviously more than this list. It is as nuanced as personality and human perception. When I think of moderate, I’m usually pondering issues of the spirit of the dialogue. There are people that I agree with in content, but not in spirit. Conversely, there are individuals who see truth very differently than I do, but the way they communicate this truth resonates with my soul.

For me, a moderate is someone who can express his or her opinions without attacking someone’s humanity. To me, moderate is rooted in that other seemingly nebulous word known as love. When we love people, we communicate our truth within a climate of love. Consequently, to be moderate is to communicate truth without hate. This is easier said than done. It is my sincere conviction that truth must be accompanied by love. When love becomes a secondary value, love ceases being love and truth ceases being truth. I know I often don’t succeed at this aspiration, but it is the motivating desire of my life.

Now for the remainder of your comments. Some of you tried to graph out or give numerical value to the political climate of America. I think we are somewhere between 685 and 834 on a scale of 100 to 1300. Of course you’ll need to factor in regional variable for a more accurate guestimation. However, forcing people to rank the US on a scale seems kind of fascist or leftist.

Rush Limbaugh? Yep, the cultural divide is that big.

Dabb said, “I want a world where my daughters and granddaughters are free to voice their opinions without threats and derogatory remarks.” I say, I am in complete agreement! We can disagree with people, but we don’t have to be jerks about it.

In response to VeratheGun pitting The Dark Knight against the Avengers, I say that I do not have time to google what the Avengers are or will be. . . If it’s that movie with Thor and his gavel, I’ll have to side with the gravelly voiced Dark Knight.

ShannonLeee wrote, “I find it hard to find the balance between what is best for the future and what is good for me right now. I feel like it is a consistent game of recalculation that hinders my total investment in right now. No one likes having one foot out the door, but maybe that one foot is what is keeping you sane?” Shannon, that sounds like the rantings of a crazy person! However, I can relate with your issue. I’ve got many dreams for the future, but I’ve got present strength for a nap.

Rcoutme wrote, “So…what about those Redsox? I mean, I was really sad to see Francona go, but now Jason Varitek as well. [Sobs uncontrollably]”

My response: I’m from Seattle where we only know baseball sadness! I cannot relate to your conflicted emotions. It would require for me to sense some sort of sport high to understand your low.

As for tidbits statement that “The onset of social, political and spiritual decline can be coordinated – to the day – with the imposition of the designated hitter rule,” I say I’d take Edgar Martinez over a Randy Johnson bunt any day. Even if it forces the decline of western civilization.

Thanks to all who participated and made it to the end of this unbalanced posting. . . Feel free to post your comments below. . . . I won’t retaliate.

Doug blogs and tweets fairlyspiritual