Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Why do I do this to myself?

A Pain That I'm Used ToImage via Wikipedia
I think I have just recently realized I am a masochist.  Situations that other people run from, I tend to wade into for some strange reason.  Most people tend to flock with their own kind, I however, am fascinated by hanging out with people who are totally different than I am.  I want to see what makes the "others" tick.  I want to build bridges.   My wife and I live in a predominantly white part of town.  We've always attended predominantly white churches.  I have never liked the fact that Sunday morning is one of the most segregated times of the week in our country and I have done my part to cross that color line.  I have waded into to chat rooms and message boards just spilling over with angry atheists and former Christians who absolutely hated Christianity and anything to do with it.  Why?  Because I thought it important that I try to present a reasonable side of Christianity to them. People ask me why I keep doing what I do because it usually causes discomfort and sometimes causes pain.  But, I do it because I think it's important to keep trying.   Recently, it's been in the political arena that I've been throwing myself to the lions.  I'm pretty active when it comes to social networking and I have friends all across the political spectrum from some who are actually socialists (not card carrying that I know of) to those who are so far right they are about to fall off the edge.  In the past couple of weeks I  took on a challenge cooked up by some of my Facebook buddies that took my interaction with the far right to a whole new level. They have a "champion" of sorts;  aguy that several of them seem to admire.  In his own words this morning, he and another friend have (jokingly) agreed he could run for President of "Moonbat Baiting Club of Massachusetts" (I gather from our conversations that a moonbat is a liberal).  I've heard about him for a few months and seen a few of his posts on one of my friend's wall.  He decided he wanted to meet some of their loonier, liberal Facebook friends.  So, one day I get an invitation on my Facebook page to become friends with this guy.  I took the challenge and while on one level, the experiment has been a total failure, on another level it has given me deeper insights to myself and to others that I think will be helpful.

Now, here's the thing about taking this challenge.  I knew all along this was a set up.  I normally accept friend requests immediately.  But, this one I hesitated on.  I knew the intent wasn't friendship. How did I know?  You see, they publicly posted on their walls that they wanted to play this game with Liberals (or "moonbats" as they call us).  In their minds, if you're a liberal, you're evil, stupid or both.  Either you don't know enough about history, politics or economics to agree with them and if you just had all the facts, you would surely be a conservative.  Or, you are actually out to destroy the country (and maybe the world).  I knew going in that I was intended to be fodder for them .  I waited a day or so and just mulled it over. 

Several of my friends (including my wife) asked me why I would fall for such an obvious trap.  Actually what they usually say, before finding out I walked into the set up willingly, is "Why do you even bother talking to those people?"  And, they ask for good reason because I come away from the computer at the end of the day all fired up and frustrated.  Making any progress at all on any point is agonizingly slow and painful. If I had any hair left, I'd be pulling it out.  I am amazed at how people will distort facts, ignore facts and out-and-out lie just to prove their position.  I am disappointed that people put ideologies (like being a good Democrat, Republican or Conservative) ahead of the good of the country.  And, just like the people I waded into this situation with, I think that if I can only hit them with enough facts, surely they will see.  I am a wide-eyed liberal, hope-filled change guy.  But, I never had any illusions that I'd turn them into liberals.  My goal was much more modest. I simply wanted them to see that being a liberal is a reasonable thing to be.  I wanted them to see that liberals are not necessarily misinformed, ignorant, stupid or evil.  I wanted to make them see that one can have a fair grasp of history, economics, politics, sociology, etc and still think that some liberal ideas are actually good ideas.  I must confess that my ego played a part in this. I knew that if I had ignored their request they would have already won. Liberals, you see are devoid of ideas. Liberals run from a debate because they have nothing to debate with.  I couldn't just let that sit there.

The first conversation we got into was about Islam.  From this I learned something about the way most of us "debate" on Facebook and other places.  We don't really have conversations.   Our discussions are more like a boxing match where we try to score points against the other guy. We're not there to actually listen and maybe change our own mind. We're in it to win it. We're either going to convince the other person that he is wrong or at least win the debate on the score card that we keep.  We started with "Is Islam good or bad?" "What should we do about Muslims and Islam?" You know.  Light stuff like that.  My take on it has always been the vast majority of religions and all major religions have much more in common than they have that are different.  All are flawed.  But, all are good.  None are inherently evil.  Most have fundamentalists that distort the teachings and bring a bad name to the faith.  Christianity has had and continues to have its share of whackos.  So, I am hesitant to point the finger at other religions as being the cause for the stupid behavior of some of its followers.  I believe that everything I  just said about religions in general applies to Islam. This was the position I took in the debate.  On the other hand, I have friends who think that Islam is evil (my word).  They are fearful of Islam itself and seem to equate Islam with the worst aspects of Sharia law. They seem to have a fear of sharia law being enforced in the United States (I say this based on their assertion that any mosque advocating sharia law be shut down).  They think any mosque built in the United States is a symbol of conquest of Islam.  The important thing I got out of this conversation wasn't about the specific points themselves.  It was, when I saw when I stepped back for a second, I realized that that days of debate was getting us pretty much no where.  What I observed is both sides were busy throwing data at each other trying to prove their point that Islam is either good or bad.  Those of us defending Islam were pointing out the good things about it, talking about the peaceful Muslims in the world (the vast majority) and drawing parallels between Christian atrocities (past and present) and Muslim atrocities and we were drawing parallels between Old Testament law (which was brutal) and sharia law (which has some brutal elements). The other side dismissed any parallels between Christianity and Islam.  They focused on the most controversial verses in the Q'uran (which we countered with controversial verses from the Bible.)  They focused on the most radical Imams and, of course, the small percentage of Muslims who do violence.  What I finally realized is that in most of these debates, the same thing happens.  Each side trots out the facts that support its case.  The other side promptly ignores or dismisses those facts and trots out its own facts to support its case.  Since there is not way to actually weigh the facts against each other, no one ever really changes the other's mind with this technique.   Each side walks away saying "We won."

After going through this exercise in futility with Islam, we did the exact same thing with whether the United States is "good" or "bad" because I made the comment that the United States is the greatest nation on earth (and the best place to live) and one of my friends took exception to that.  Ironically, in this case, I was on the side of my friends on the right going against one of my friends on the left.  My friend on the left did the same thing my friends on the right had done in the debate about Islam.  Every positive I pointed out about the United States, he brushed aside while pelting me with all of our shortcomings. I agreed with him about every single shortcoming he pointed out.  The United States is not perfect. After making this observation about the way debates tend to go, I also realized that the farther right or left people are the more it seems they engage in black and white thinking.  A thing is either good or bad, period.  In fact, it's more extreme than that.  A thing is either perfectly good or it's perfectly evil.  For my left leaning friend, it seemed from his conversation (although I know this isn't true) that he could find no good in the United States. At least during the course of that conversation, he didn't have anything good to say about our country.  For my friends on the right, they idolize things I simply refuse to idolize.  The Constitution, the Declaration of Independence are perfect documents in their minds.  Use the phrase "living document" and they get livid.  Criticize the forefathers (one of whom- Thomas Jefferson is my ancestor) and they go ballistic.  The leader of the group literally used the term "sacrilegious" when a friend of mine drew a parallel between Barack Obama and George Washington.  When one of us points out that the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence did not do such simple things as include black people or women, therefore they were not perfect, we are seen as being unpatriotic and not recognizing any value in them.  When we point out that the man who wrote so eloquently about equality of all men actually had slaves and enslaved his own children (illegitimate offspring of his slave Sally Hemmings), they again say we are being unpatriotic. Any criticism of capitalism, means you're a Marxist.  Any criticism of the United States means you hate your own country.

Another example of this black and white thinking is a lot more current.  Our President- Barack Obama.  Everyone knows he's being attacked by the right.  We expect that. But, as I pointed out in my post on "Motivations" many of his attackers go way beyond simply attacking his policies or individual actions.  In fact just this morning a friend wrote:  

Brian: (based on our earlier conversations I said this was my understanding of her position) "The President is a Marxist, doesn't even deserve to be in the Oval office. So, of course, everything he does as long as he is President is offensive."

Rhonda: You betcha. That's it, Brian.

He doesn't deserve it is NIW being seen after only 18 months in office. Our country is being destroyed. Do you not see that?

If not, why not?
So, there we have it.  Barack Obama is a Marxist.  Therefore, he doesn't deserve to be President.  Everything he does while in office is offensive. Now, an example from the left, where Obama is being attacked almost as fervently as from the right.  Many have already given up on Obama saying he's not a true liberal.  I was discussing Obama with a good friend of mine. The interesting thing about this guy is he's a former evangelical and voted for Bush twice.  He was an extreme right guy. Now, however, he's an extreme left guy. He not only voted for Obama, he campaigned for him.  But, it seems whenever we talk about Obama all he can do is talk about what Obama hasn't done.  The health care bill didn't go far enough.  Gitmo is still open.  Some of the surveillance policies put in place during Bush haven't been stopped and on and on.  Don't ask don't tell is still in place. Honestly, I agree with most of his criticisms of the Obama administration and I could name more things they haven't done and a few more things they have done wrong.  But, unlike those on the far left or those on the far right, I don't think Obama is destroying the country, deliberately or otherwise. Overall, I think his administration has a done a good job with a terrible situation. 

Another thing that jumped out at me during this time was how we tend to demonize our enemy and if not demonize them, at least belittle them.  I have some pretty left wing friends on Facebook and I have to admit that some of them are just as angry as the people I've encountered on the right during this couple of week period.  They post almost nothing but negativity and bashing.  One of them recently said he'd like to see Andrew Breitbart broke and begging in the streets.  A left wing blogger recently posted that she'd like to see Rush Limbaugh have a heart attack and wouldn't even help him.  Seriously, grim stuff.  But, watching the hatred from the right over the last week has sensitized me to this type of language even more.  To be fair, none of them have said anything as bad as this.  Their approach is much more nuanced.  They refer to liberals as moonbats, sheeple and euphorians.  The leader of their group, after his spending his days "baiting moonbats" routinely reports back on his moonbat quote of the day, always lifted out of context from a conversation and they all pounce it like a pack of wolves on red meat.  This experiment has made me a little less hopeful that those on the far left and those on the far right can even begin to get along because I really wonder how much they even want to.  No one wants to get along with someone who is truly evil.  No one is going to put an effort into understanding another man's perspective when he thinks that man is ignorant, stupid or both.  

Another thing I observed is the "you're the exception to the rule" syndrome that allows people to ignore data points that don't fit their theory.  I've been complimented,  by the leader of the pack I was thrown to (Or should I say I walked into?).  He says I am actually articulate and well educated- unlike the liberals.  I used to get the same thing from white people who were shocked that I could speak well or that I was well educated.  Rather than admitting that black people are fundamentally no different than they are, they simply dismissed me as an exception.

I come back to the question.  Why do I do this to myself?  I have no regrets about jumping into this fray. As Nietzsche said "That which does not kill me makes me stronger."  (yeah, I know he was an atheist- doesn't mean he never had a good idea). I've learned a little something about myself and a little about human nature by doing this.

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42 comments:

Kansas Bob said...

I ALWAYS enjoy your FB and blog comment threads Brian. You elevate the conversation whenever you are involved. So keep on doing what you are doing.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

Great post, Brian. As you know I'm frustrated by the same things.

coachscully said...

I figured since I was to blame for much of your current discomfort that I should at least comment here. While you did not specifically mention who it was who sent the friends suggestion I am pretty sure that those who follow your FB posts have a pretty good idea who that person was. If necessary you may certainly refer to me by name as I have no illusions that anything I willingly post on FB or elsewhere is anything but public domain.

Now if I could I would like to take a moment to defend what you perceived as a trap. That (a trap) was never my intent, the true intent was an attempt on my part to find the truth, a truth I believe lies somewhere in between the extremes on either end. Since the first time I had the privilege of reading one of your posts (through another mutual friend) I have thought of you as an intelligent, well informed, articulate, and passionate person. I do not delude myself and think I am the most intelligent person on every subject, yes there are some things I am more versed in than the average person however there are many that I am not. It is because I believe the only way to fix the problems that exist are to listen to both sides and to find the truth that lies somewhere in between competing opinions that I even suggest the 'friendship'. As far as 'admiring' the 'champion' (your words) nothing could be farther from the truth, I have admired very few people in my life, my father being one of them.

Continue what you are doing my friend, your voice is needed, as are the voices of others.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

Pretty sure he's not referring to you, Coach.

brian said...

Kevin,

I have enjoyed our conversations over the time we have known each other. I truly believe you are a person who does seek common understanding and I don't think of you as one of the "champion's" sycophants. I think you discuss things honestly and openly. You've surprised me with your views on many topics.

I didn't mention you by name as being the one who invited me because I thought it was one of two people and I wasn't exactly sure which actually sent the friend invitation. And, it's not my policy to call people out by name without their permission.

Yes, I think it was a trap to invite me into the circle, a sport, if you will. Not on your part. But by the master baiter. But, that's cool. I waded in eyes wide open. No hard feelings.

I just about quit after 24 hours. It was more emotionally draining than I was prepared for. But, I'm glad I hung in there.

Peace,
Brian

Anonymous said...

"Why do I do this to myself?"

Brian, perhaps its because you're a Liberal?

If a Conservative President were to accomplish as much for the Right as Obama has for the Left, people on the Right would be dancing in the streets with joy.

One of my favorite ways of being entertained is to visit the Huffington Post and read all the moanings and groanings coming from the people on the Left. Its hilarious! (Watching MSNBC is almost as entertaining.)

Liberals are the most miserable people on earth, Brian. Even when they get practically everything they want, they'll LOOK for reasons to to be miserable.

Perhaps its because Obama was presented as the Messiah and the cold hard truth has hit home: he's only a man, after all? I know that's hard to take. So very sad, isn't it? But even if he were the Messiah, Liberals would still be crying "Fowl! I'm a victim of something or other!" --rhonda

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

"Fowl! I'm a victim of something or other!" I've seen the right act exactly the same way. People like playing the martyr regardless of their political leanings. If I hear another conservative Christian complain about how persecuted they are I'm going to buy them a ticket to one of the countries where being a Christian will get you killed, hopefully they will survive the trip and come back with a more balanced perspective.

This is the second time I've heard that liberals are miserable. Was it Limbaugh, Beck, or someone else who started this line that people are parroting?

brian said...

Rhonda, in my experience it's people that are too far in either extreme that are the most miserable. This is true when it comes to politics and religion. I pointed this out in the post. I have left leaning friends who are miserable and I have right leaning friends who are miserable. The right leaning ones seem to be more miserable now because while they actually believe we have a man in office who is hell-bent on destroying our way of life and allowing the Muslims to take over the country. They fear sharia law and a mosque on every corner. The lefties just think Obama's sold out and we're getting more of the same.

I'm not an extreme Liberal, Rhonda. I'm more Liberal than not. But, I am very happy with President Obama and what he has accomplished.. I've never thought he was a Messiah. And, I've often said we have a very weak Presidency. People think the President is King. But, he doesn't even have as much power as a CEO. But, perhaps you'll excuse me as the exception to your rule and continue to believe that somehow being a Liberal leads to unhappiness.

Anonymous said...

Why of course--the happiness and joy is just busting out all over the place on this blog and defending comments! How did I miss that?

Silly me! :)

And Brian, can you tell me something that would be more Left of your ideology? Thanks! --rhonda

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

Still waiting for you to sound happy, Rhonda. ;-)

Kansas Bob said...

The leaders of the GOP (i.e. Rush, Sean, Glenn, Sarah) seem anything but happy when they speak. LOL - I imagine they are laughing quite a bit when they go to the bank. :)

brian said...

LOL. Rhonda, it's so good to have you back. It's been a while.

I am very proud to be an American. And, in general, I am very happy with our government. I think Obama is doing a good job, maybe even a great job. There are things he could do better, in my opinion. But, given the political and economic climate he inherited, I think he's doing well. Our respect in the world is way up since Obama took office. He won a Nobel Peace prize. We have passed landmark legislation in health care and financial reform. We have avoided a major depression. We have "don't ask don't tell on the verge of being repealed". All in all, pretty good for a first term President in about 18 months.

If you perceive my comments as defensive, does that mean I'm under attack? Why would I defend unless I were being attacked?

No, Rhonda, I'm not a victim nor do I have a victim mentality. I am left leaning. But, I'm not a Marxist. Funny how I had not heard that term in so very long. Then, suddenly it pops back up only coming from the lips of my conservative (and Fox viewing friends)- LOL.

This post in particular did express my frustration at the level of debate with some of my friends. But, you might want to note that I said I did not regret what I did and that I have learned from it. I am disappointed that some of them seem to think the ends justifies the means. So, if it takes spreading lies and rumors and misinformation to take down the President and his "agenda", so be it. That disappoints me. And, yes, it makes me a little sad.

Peace,
Brian

brian said...

Bob,

Rush and Glenn Beck are actors in my estimation. They don't seem happy when they speak because fear sells better than happiness. They are certainly laughing all the way to the bank. I don't believe they are nearly as miserable as they are pretending to be. Worse, yet, they are not as miserable as they are making people who buy into what they are selling.

Sarah Palin is another matter. I believe that she does believe most of what she says.

Kansas Bob said...

I am not a regular watcher of Fox News but I think that it literally blows away all other cable networks when it comes to viewers. (http://tvbythenumbers.com/2010/07/20/cable-news-ratings-for-monday-july-19-2010/57764#more-57764) IMO there are a lot more active conservatives out there than not.

brian said...

Yes, Bob. Fox enjoys both being the "outsider" and the leader in cable news networks. They are the only "fair and balanced" channel there is. They do blow away the other networks when it comes to viewers. But, given the "mainstream media's liberal bias", maybe we shouldn't be surprised by this since Fox is the only one true news source conservatives can turn to. Us liberals have many other channels we can watch. So, maybe our numbers are spread across all of the choices we have.

;-)

Kansas Bob said...

I would have liked to see (in those stats) comparisons between the Sunday Morning shows. I record most of these and think that Fox is the weakest with regard to the panel forums where conservatives and liberals face-off on the issues. Both the NBC and ABC venues seem to be more balanced in these segments. And, as I have said before, I enjoy Morning Joe on MSNBC because of their balanced approach to discussing the news. Guess balance is what I like most about these types of shows - none of them are fair.

brian said...

Bob,

I rarely watch Fox News. If I'm looking for cable news, I flip back and forth between CNN and MSNBC. I think overall CNN is the most balanced of the three (and they have the lowest ratings- go figure). I think people tend to watch stuff that reinforces the opinion they already have.

Olbermann is too over-the-top even for me, on MSNBC. I don't think I've watched his show all the way through since the election. I do like Rachel Maddow and I watch Chris Matthews. The Ed Show-well, I'll watch it. But, Ed is dangerously close to being the opposite of Rush Limbaugh.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

I don't watch the news at all. I read all my news. Sadly, even in print, news ratings are about sensationalism. Hyperbole sells on both sides of the aisle. I've been calling them, not the liberal media, or the conservative media, but the instigator media, for years. They remind me of that kid in school who would say "Did you here what Jimmy said about your mom?"

brian said...

Great point, Mike. So many people think "the media" conspires to present a particular POV or to push an agenda. I don't believe that. I believe they do whatever sells, whatever drives ratings. And, sensationalism sells. Stirring the pot is in the media's interests.

annie said...

LOL, brian. i'm with you. and here's the truth we must accept:
if one is going to be a bridge between people, they will have to be willing to be walked on by both sides. oneness ain't for sissies :)

may our Essence become our experience. one in the One. namaste.

brian said...

Thanks, Annie. I like that.... "be walked on by both sides..."

Don said...

You're a braver man than I, Brian. I have never been one to believe deeply in my ability to debate, point by point, an issue either from the right (my former stance)or as a left-of-center (my current stance). Kudos to you for your efforts.

@Annie- "oneness ain't for sissies"
I love it!!

brian said...

Don,

I see the debate as both somewhat enjoyable and a duty. I posted a quote on Facebook the other day to the effect that an opinion should be formed from thinking, not be an excuse not to think. I try to be reasoned in my opinions. If I can't find reasons to continue to hold them, I abandon them. Some people think you'll never change anything by debate. But, I think it was debating homosexuality that actually led me to do a complete 180 on the morality of it and on homosexual marriage.

Also, as I said in the post, I debate because I want to keep a dialog open in our very polarized country.

I realize it ain't for everyone. But, I feel it was something I was called to do.

Anonymous said...

Brian, I SO agree with you about debate, as you know. So glad to hear you say that since I've been so often condemned for saying its a good thing. Yet, I find wherever I show up, the "debate" draws all kinds of people who say they hate it right out of the woodwork. :)

I too have learned and even changed my mind, stubborn as I am, from a good debate.

Did you say Brian, how there are extremes on the Left that you disagree with? If I missed it, I'm sorry. Refer me, and I'll go back and find it.

Also, how does what Obama is doing differ from Marxism? Is Socialism a better word? Is Socialism different than Marxism? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Regarding Fox News: its #1 because the majority of Americans are right of center.

Also, we have the best of the best there: Charles Krauthammer, Juan Williams, Greta Van Susteren, Brit Hume, Chris Wallace, Laura Ingraham, Shep Smith, O'Reilley, Beck and more--quality all day long except on Saturday evenings when we're stuck with Huckabee and Geraldo. LOL! Oh well, you can't have everything!

So quality of program is one reason, but more importantly: most people in America aren't Liberal so they tune into Fox News. I watch CNN and MSNBC too, for entertainment purposes. But for news, information and politics, its Fox. I also get a lot of news and info from the internet. I hit the Drudge Report, Hot Air and Newsbusters first thing every morning; then I hit Huffington and a lot of other sites and blogs after that; too many to name here. At 11:00 am my time, I listen to Rush if I can, and if I can't, I hit his website that evening. (Those who don't like Rush have never really listened to Rush, in my experience.)--rhonda

brian said...

Rhonda,

brian said...

Rhonda,

If you truly believe that Obama is a socialist or Marxist either you haven't been paying attention to Obama, you completely dismiss his actual behavior and words or you don't know what a Marxist is.

Here's an article you might find useful for understanding just a few reasons why Obama is no socialist. http://tinyurl.com/cvplxh

As for naming people who are farther left than I am, I don't see the point of the exercise. I am far left on some issues and more to the right on others. I am not a idealist. I don't agree with a position simply because it's the liberal or the progressive or the Democratic position. The fact that you think I'm so far left that no one's further is a little disheartening since we've known each other so long. But, so be it. I doubt my giving you a list of names is going to change anything.

Oh, and I have listened to Rush many times. I still find him to be a clown full of hot air. It's not only people who haven't listened to Rush who see through his facade. The man is an actor and is playing his audience and laughing all the way to the bank.

Anonymous said...

You believe I don't know Obama (even tho I spend so much time watching him every day, listening to him every day, reading his words every day--as well as getting the Liberal newsletters and so on from various groups that support him).

I don't believe you've listened enough to know Rush; to just call him a clown full of hot air shows you don't know him. Millions of people choose to listen in, and millions of people feel he speaks for them. He doesn't force himself on anyone, at least, and is a self-made man.

I believe that its you being hoodwinked by Obama; I think many Americans were when Obama was elected. He's the actor, Brian--whose true intentions have been demonstrated over these past 18 months; this transformation isn't at all what most Americans bargained for. They were tricked. They have buyer's remorse.

Or perhaps you aren't hoodwinked, and this is exactly what you want; Big Socialist Government and the transformation of America so that it won't even be recognized in a few years? Everybody is so evil and greedy except Obama and Government, right?

When you love someone, or something, why then would you want to transform that someone or something into someone or something completely different? You love America, you say--why? Everything that makes America "America" is being destroyed before our very eyes. America is being transformed all right; Big Socialist Federal Government is taking over every sector--even the rights of states--for full power over the people; over every single thing we do.

Perhaps many who voted for Obama believed Oprah, that he is "The One"--that this is finally now the expression of the KOG come to earth?

And with a "rod of iron" he rules; Chicago style.

He passed himself off as a "moderate" towards the end of the campaign cycle, when he was further Left than any Senator ever has been, and Brian, I don't buy that you're a moderate either, and that's because we have known each other all these years. We know to say "I'm moderate" is the very best way to gain the trust of others; but its a pretense--nobody is moderate. To claim to be a moderate is a tactic used by many--but that's all it is.

I have looked up Marxism; I don't see the differences you see--would like to, tho.--rhonda

Anonymous said...

You believe I don't know Obama (even tho I spend so much time watching him every day, listening to him every day, reading his words every day--as well as getting the Liberal newsletters and so on from various groups that support him).

I don't believe you've listened enough to know Rush; to just call him a clown full of hot air shows you don't know him. Millions of people choose to listen in, and millions of people feel he speaks for them. He doesn't force himself on anyone, at least, and is a self-made man.

I believe that its you being hoodwinked by Obama; I think many Americans were when Obama was elected. He's the actor, Brian--whose true intentions have been demonstrated over these past 18 months; this transformation isn't at all what most Americans bargained for. They were tricked. They have buyer's remorse.

Or perhaps you aren't hoodwinked, and this is exactly what you want; Big Socialist Government and the transformation of America so that it won't even be recognized in a few years? Everybody is so evil and greedy except Obama and Government, right?

When you love someone, or something, why then would you want to transform that someone or something into someone or something completely different? You love America, you say--why? Everything that makes America "America" is being destroyed before our very eyes. America is being transformed all right; Big Socialist Federal Government is taking over every sector--even the rights of states--for full power over the people; over every single thing we do.

Perhaps many who voted for Obama believed Oprah, that he is "The One"--that this is finally now the expression of the KOG come to earth?

And with a "rod of iron" he rules; Chicago style.

He passed himself off as a "moderate" towards the end of the campaign cycle, when he was further Left than any Senator ever has been, and Brian, I don't buy that you're a moderate either, and that's because we have known each other all these years. We know to say "I'm moderate" is the very best way to gain the trust of others; but its a pretense--nobody is moderate. To claim to be a moderate is a tactic used by many--but that's all it is.

I have looked up Marxism; I don't see the differences you see--would like to, tho.--rhonda

brian said...

Wow, Rhonda. I'm not even sure where to begin.

Yes, I would like to see American "transformed". We are a great nation. But, we could always be greater. We have great health care delivery. But, tens of thousand of people a year die due to lack of health insurance. We have great financial markets. Yet, excesses drove us to the brink of depression. We need a comprehensive energy policy or we're headed for disaster there. Our automobile industry was on the brink of collapse. We "bailed them out". Guess what? Thousands of jobs were saved and the American tax payer gets all the money back. Same with the banking system. So, yes, I would like to see changes in America, even though I love this country and think it's already the best on earth.

I don't know if you read the article on socialism and why Obama is not a socialist. But, he clearly is not a socialist. The President's job is to run the government . What I don't understand is people who continue to vote for politicians who say they are for "small government" and "government is the problem" all the while running for a job in the government. Sometimes the government has to step in and do what the government does. That's not socialism, that's effective government.

I've listened to Rush enough, Rhonda. To listen to Rush isn't necessarily to love him. I used to listen to him quite often when I was in the car for hours at a time. There's no way on earth that man can believe half of what he says. Same for Glenn Beck.

It's clear that nothing I can say or do will change your mind about our Marxist President with a secret agenda. So, why don't we just agree to disagree?

Peace,
Brian

Brian said...

Rhonda,

I don't recall saying I'm a "moderate". I've always said I'm more liberal than conservative. And I'm probably more liberal than most. What I am not is an extreme left wing person who believes in socialism or marxism nor am I an idealogue who just parrots the party line, (any party line. To imply that I claim to be a moderate just to gain people's trust. Well, that deserves another "wow".

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

Yes, just like we became a socialist nation back when social security was enacted. This is some funny stuff. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Hi Mike,

Yes, you're absolutely right in that we BEGAN the road to Socialism with "Social Security". Now think for a moment: force people to invest in a program for their retirement, and after years and years of investment--they're HOOKED, are they not? You better believe that people who are forced to give all that money over a lifetime aren't HOOKED into wanting at least some of that money back to live on! Good grief! What trickery! What a SHAM and SHAME this all is! YOU can't be trusted with your own retirement--you must trust Mommy Gov? Really?

Ask to take just 2% of that to invest as you see fit and no, no, NO! NO you can't do that! Its not YOUR money--it belongs to the BIG GOV.

To you Mike, and to Brian, let me just say this: I'm not talking politics for the sake of politics. My concern is one thing: FREEDOM. Which is what America is all about--lest we forget that LIBERTY was what this nation was founded on--the right of all men--which is why this nation is great. (And if every nation had LIBERTY, every nation would be great!)

FREEDOM is important for me because I want that "city on a hill", America, that shines FREEDOM--not only for myself, my community, my state, my country--but for the whole human race--the whole world. I want every single person on this earth to have this FREEDOM.

But first, with Liberals--first, one must have the chance to even be BORN. To live. THAT God-given right to live, Liberals will snatch away--even encourage prospective mothers to snatch away-THAT first--(the right to be born after being conceived) must be restored.


Next, if a baby is allowed to be even born--I want that baby to be free. FREE to BE. FREE to LIVE, use his/her own talents to achieve all he/she can--but most of all, FREE TO LEARN ABOUT JESUS CHRIST the SAVIOR.

WHAT that child decides to do with his/her freedom, and that knowledge of Christ is up to him/her--but I cannot see any other REASON for this nation to have been born by Divine Providence (which it was) if not for THIS REASON. (I don't mean to yell--the caps are for emphasis only.)

Freedom. Freedom. FREEDOM!

I'm seeing FREEDOM stomped into the ground--but I do have faith that this also is for a grand purpose.

I believe with all my heart that this Socialist Experiment going on right now is going to FAIL MISERABLY--and THEN--THEN this issue of Socialism will be settled once and for all time--never be brought up again. --rhonda

Anonymous said...

My answers to some things said:

1) Nobel Peace Prize: Arafat. 'nuff said. I'm not impressed with the Nobel Peace Prize. This is highly esteemed in the world--not by the secret society of Christianity.

2) Cheaps shots thrown out like: "He laughs all the way to the bank." AS IF those who are to SERVE in GOV don't laugh themselves all the way to the bank? On your hard work? Again: if capitalism runs on the human flaw of GREED and POWER what makes you think that GOVERNMENT does not? How is it somehow insulated from human nature? Are they not also men? Sometimes I wonder: when did "reason" and "reality" leave the building?

3) Liberalism is very simple: its about a bunch of control freaks who want others to think they know best how to "save the world." Its made up of a bunch of guilt-ridden people who have more than they believe they deserve; so they "act" as if they really care, they really do--and whatever "sounds" compassionate --to justify themesleves being "fat cats"--they get on the bandwagon of any "cause" that sounds "good". It gives them glory from other men.

4) Yes, men need Government. But for what purpose?

To keep order for Christians to do their commisssion. That's it.

Paul the Apostle spoke about this: its purpose being to keep order so that Christians can use their FREENESS of SPEECH to spread the Word in peace. Very simple.

And that's what America was (and still is) all about. It opened the door--the way for the Good News to go out all over the earth, for the innovation and invention that led to Publishing Houses that printed the Bible in all languages--the Good News went out as never before. So that all men everywhere could hear the glorious Good News. So all men everywhere could be FREE to live and to choose--and serve God. And once that Freedom rang out--all men desired it, because as our founding fathers knew: it was the God-given Right to all men.

--rhonda

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

"Liberalism is very simple: its about a bunch of control freaks who want others to think they know best how to "save the world."

That describes some professional politicians on both sides of the aisle.

Its made up of a bunch of guilt-ridden people who have more than they believe they deserve; so they "act" as if they really care, they really do..."

Even the poorest in this country are wealthy compared to third world standards and we still have people in this country living with dirt floors. Do they "deserve" to live that way? Not anymore than any of us "deserve" to live the way we do. Shouldn't this inspire people to act?

"...and whatever "sounds" compassionate --to justify themesleves being "fat cats"--they get on the bandwagon of any "cause" that sounds "good". It gives them glory from other men.

Again, you describe people of all ideologies. You don't think there are conservatives who perform actions just to look good and make themselves feel better?

Anonymous said...

Liberalism is in fact, Lie-beralism. Its built on lies and is the biggest hoax ever perpetuated on people. Crises are invented (such as "global warming") that they claim must be "saved", anyone who isn't fooled by it and refuses to have it stuffed down his/her throat is name-called as not caring.

And each crisis that you're to get onboard with them to "save" is designed so that you hand over to THEM more and more of your power and freedoms.

Its all a sham; a snare and a racket. Liberals will CREATE a crisis so that you'll give up more of your power and freedoms, like a fire-fighter who sets a fire so you'll call on him to put it out, and he can be the "hero." And if you try to expose him for what he is, he points the finger and says, "So you don't care! You want people to DIE!" That's how Liberalism operates and why Liberalism has held power for so long--but that is soon coming to an end, thank God, because the tactics are being exposed every day, and they will no longer work. Liberals want power over every single thing you do; they know best, you see.

If you don't believe what's going on right now with this Administration is Marxism/Socialism--disguised as "compassion"--study Marxism/Socialism.

"Government's first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives."
Ronald Reagan

--rhonda

Anonymous said...

I also want to say to Brian: Yes, Barack Obama is a Marxist but his agenda is no secret. He's made it very, very clear. --rhonda

Anonymous said...

Hey Brian

This is Someday. I don't follow you on Facebook, so I have no idea how the aforementioned debate went. I just always find it amusing when I see liberals and conservatives debate. Neither side will admit it, but both sides are two different sides of the same coin. Both sides want to force more government of some sort on everyone else. Both sides give lip service to freedom, but both sides go about trampling on freedom in one way or another.

All I am saying, have been saying to all of the so called "left" and "right" is maybe we should just give freedom a chance for once. Why is everyone so afraid of freedom?

Someday

brian said...

Someday,

Yeah, I guess you're right. We both do want to force some form of government on the other side. Even the conservatives who are for "small government" preach small government. But, they don't really mean it.

I'm all for freedom, as long as by freedom, you don't mean anarchy.

Anonymous said...

Baloney! Phony Baloney. :)

I know it makes Liberals feel good to say that the right wants to also force its way on others and wants bigger Gov too.

Ain't so.

No Prez has grown Gov and seized power like this Prez has; and he's as far Left as any we've ever had.

Provide some evidence, please to what you're saying.

The problem with the right these past years has, again, been the Liberal tactics; the cries of "Racist! Sexist! Homophobe!" over and over like a broken record every time a Conservative opened his/her mouth. The politics of personal destruction worked. Oh, IT WORKED for a long time.

But the Left has been exposed now, thanks to other media besides mainstream--which is why it doesn't work anymore. That "card" has been "maxed out."

Everything about Liberalism is phony. That's what America is seeing, finally, now. That's the good thing about this.

Oh, btw--the investigation against Tom Delay have been dropped, NOW.

Isn't that so generous? Aren't Liberals so kind? Pure as the driven snow, they are. Everything about America, we've been told is greedy, selfish, corrupt--but Liberal politicians are NOT? The mask is off.

I LOVE it! :) --rhonda

Stuart said...

Just reading through your posts. The labels we give others who oppose our views allow us to demonize them, while reducing our ability to actually have an intelligent conversation where we can come to a middle ground on some issues and "agree to disagree" on others. We forget the importance of the 2 party system and cannot see the disaster if we were all conservatives, or all liberals.

Michelle said...

Well, join the club. I'm being called a heretic by my only human friend that I came to love as if he was my own brother, which he is in Christ Jesus. I never met him, but we've been talking over the Internet for months. I don't have a social life and I'm secluded. I begged God to rid me of the detastable sin of smoking cigarettes since it ruin my health and harm his temple which is my body. But even though he disaprove, it just seem that he won't remove the thorn in my flesh. But Paul's thorn was obviously not a danger to his life and something that seemed to dishonor God. I'm not always nice, I sometimes lie like everyone else, but I struggle with what I consider a major sin. Smoking cigarette is disgusting and sinful and I hate myself for hurting Him and myself, but it just seem that I can't quit. No matter how hard I pray and beg, nothing change. Cigarette became an idol as well as an addiction. It's a sin because not only does it become an addiction, it becomes an emotional crutch. But no matter how hard I pray and beg, it just seem that He won't take that thorn away. Not yet anyway. What's the point of not curing me? I mean, I don't see what good could come out of this. Sometimes, I just don't get Jesus. I mean, I've been learning a lot from Him, I've changed a lot too, and I really love Him above all else, I always put Him first in my life and all, but there is just something unfathomable and alien about him. Sometimes, I just don't get Him and I feel like I'm trying to understand an extraterrestrial being. And my sister is always working and I never see her. My mother disaprove of me putting Jesus first in my life instead of her. She believes I owe her everything. I tried to tell her that all we have comes from God, but she call me selfish and ungrateful. I tried to register to a Christian Universalism forum, but it seems that I have a problem both with my registration mail and my gmail account. I tried to find a Christian Universalism chatroom, but didn't find any. It just seems that I have no one to talk to about these things. I crave human company and a human conversation. The love, the peace and the joy that I was feeling only yesterday and that I've felt for many days since I received the universal salvation revelation from the Holy Spirit is gone and I feel depressed. Evertime I make a friend it's the same story. Satan turn all my friends against me. He's been after me and my family for two decades, tormenting and oppressing us. I became a Christian Universalist a few days ago and I was free. No more demonic oppression, they couldn't oppress me anymore because of the love, peace and joy that I felt and my immense love for Jesus when I found out that everyone would be ultimately saved. But now, I feel very depressed and if I don't find someone to talk to I will lose my mind. I mean, I really love Jesus, but everyone needs another human to talk. Well, looks like the bliss that I've experienced when I receive the revelation of apokastasis has wore off. I wonder what kind of trial he's gonna put me through this time. Where did all the love, peace and joy go? I just hate when He does that. It makes me want to raise my arms to the sky and cry: "WHY ME???" What if I'm done for this time? What if I sink into such a deep depression that I never pull through this time? Ever since I found out about universal salvation, I've realized that my human faith is weak and that I can only rely on His faith alone. How am I supposed to go through this on my own? I was so close to Him this time. Closer than ever before. I just hate it when I can't feel His presence...