Namaste, remembered

This op-ed piece I wrote in the Democrat came up in my Facebook memories today. It was from two just years ago, and was written in the wake of the yoga killings in Tallahassee.

First, doesn’t it seem like that was more than two years ago?

Second, the quote in the piece about namaste moved me so then and did again this morning.

It didn’t occur to me then, but it really provides a path forward for the way we deal with each other in this polarized political landscape.

It’s from author L.R. Knost:

means that my soul 
acknowledges yours —
not just your light,
your wisdom, 
your goodness,
but also your darkness,
your suffering, 
your imperfections.

It is a recognition
and acceptance of
the inexplicable
divine absurdity,
the miraculous woven
into the ordinary,
light and darkness
intimately entwined
in magical, messy

It means that I honor
all that you are
with all that I am.

So, namaste, 
my fellow travelers.
I’m so glad we’re on 
this trek through 
the universe together.” 

“But also your darkness…” is the part that sticks with me. Right now, we selectively view the darkness of others and ignore our own.

Anyway, namaste, fellow travelers.

D’s and R’s: Deal or no deal?

So I conducted a Facebook experiment on the presidential election. Of course it’s not scientific or anything, but it does provide a window into how folks are thinking.

This was prompted by the palpable anxiety I feel from my social media timelines.

Here was the hypothetical deal I offered to my friends, of all political persuasions:

Biden wins the White House and the GOP holds the Senate. If you had the power to accept this today, would you?

Again, I’m not interested (for the purposes in this experiment) about hearing what you WANT to happen. I just want to know if you would take this deal today to ensure election day isn’t a total loss for your preferred candidate/party either way.

So, the results are in and they very interesting.

I had a Twitter follower suggest that D’s would be less likely to take this deal than R’s. That really wasn’t the case. About 70 percent of both D’s and R’s said they WOULD take the deal.

The primary reason appeared to be that they saw the deal as an insurance policy, so to speak, against the worst case scenario.

What’s surprising to me — and what I think my Twitter follower was getting at — is that Democrats are as nervous as Republicans about this outcome, even though the polling data is clearly favoring a “blue” result.

If you simply approach this as a statistical exercise, and use the excellent polling aggregation/statistical analysis site as a reference point, President Trump has barely a 1 in 10 chance of winning reelection and the Republicans have just a 1 in 4 chance of controlling the Senate.

A Vegas poker player would look at those odds and say to Democrats: LET IT RIDE!

Clearly D’s are suffering from 2016 PTSD and put a much higher priority on a Trump defeat than anything else. As one person wrote: “less productive result but at least we won’t have someone I view as incompetent, harmful, corrupt and embarrassing in the WH.” Another said: “I won’t be satisfied politically, but my anxiety levels will drop.”

Republican “yes” votes generally just seemed to want to avoid a wipeout: “because it beats losing Senate and the White House and holding the senate would mean agenda is slowed.”

Another observation — for the “no’s” it appeared to be difficult to separate what they WANT to happen from what will actually happen. The D and R “no’s” seemed to be coming more from a place of wanting total victory.

I only had a handful of those identifying as independent respond. One of them, however, succinctly summed up the limits of this experiment: “I’ll roll the dice and take it to the jury, the Voters, and trust democracy.”


Pro life? Pro choice? How about “pro nuance?”

There was a tremendous piece in the weekend Wall Street Journal entitled “What Americans Really Think About Abortion”

It captured so much of what I hope to talk about in this blog.

The gist of the research that was the foundation for the article was this: “Pro life” and “pro choice” are far too simple terms to describe what most Americans see as a complex issue.

Now, if you think I’m about to start an abortion debate, you don’t know me very well.

The point is, however, that we tend to oversimplify EVERYTHING when politics is involved.

If Trump/Biden is for it, I must be against it. If Trump/Biden is against it, I must be for it.

The same is true for issues. Going to war; taxes; regulations; COVID strategies. These are complicated things. Oversimplifying these issues does not do our form of government justice.

If you are a member of one party and can’t name a single policy from the other party with which you can’t agree, I would submit that’s a problem.

Further, if you can’t find any wiggle room in any of the major issues of the day — like the ones I listed above — then that’s a problem, too.

I hope you will read this piece I linked. Not to change your mind on abortion, but to cause some introspection on how we frame and label the issues of the day.

Oh, this letter is amazing

I wish I had written this letter.

I wish I was important enough to have been asked to sign it.

But given that neither of those things happened, my wish is that you read it and my hope is that it resonates.

Please take note of the list of signatories — it is an impressive collection of folks.

This letter advocated for everything I hope this blog becomes — a safe haven for those tired of the ideologically obsessed and those practicing “gotcha” politics.

A place where you’ll never read about how somebody “destroyed” someone else or their position.

A place where agreeing disagreeably isn’t just a slogan but a way of life.

A place where compromise is valued, where people change their mind, where the complex is embraced.

Welcome to the fanatical middle, my friends. Let’s do some good … together.