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Fri Aug 28, 2020, 08:05 PM

The Troubles

“This morning from a dewy motorway
I saw the new camp for the internees:
A bomb had left a crater of fresh clay
In the roadside, and over in the trees

Machine-gun posts defined a real stockade.
There was that white mist you get on a low ground
And it was deja-vu, some film made
Of Stalag 17, a bad dream with no sound.

Is there a life before death? That's chalked up
In Ballymurphy. Competence with pain,
Coherent miseries, a bite and sup:
we hug our little destiny again.
-Whatever You Say Say Nothing."
― Seamus Heaney, North


In his 2002 book, Irish author Tim Pat Coogan noted that what are referred to as "The Troubles" began three centuries before Columbus landed in the Americas. I have been watching as the news reports on events in the United States, that suggest that a domestic version is an option that this country is heading towards. As much as I love reading Irish history, I am hoping that we can turn this around.

My late friend Rubin "Hurricane" Carter often said that there is only one race -- the human race. Though not an orginal thought, he would expand on this theme based upon his own insights. Within our race, he said, there are several tribes: the black tribe, the brown tribe, the red tribe, the yellow tribe, and the white tribe. The white tribe was subjected to extended-family conflicts over the centuries, such as when the French fought the German, or the Irish fought the English. Yet, for most of history, if one of the non-white tribes attack one of the white families, the entire white tribe would unite to devastate that non-white tribe.

In American history, there has been resentment from many in the white tribe against those whites who advocated for, and even stood with non-white individuals and tribes. It led directly to violence, for example, during the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement. Thus, the violence we see spreading throughout our country -- our "Troubles" -- has been here since Columbus sailed into the Americas.

My son bought me a copy of a book that I've been wanting to read. The book is, "White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America," by Nancy Isenberg (Penguin Books; 2016). It documents a "family secret" that played a role in American history, which we inherited from British society. Just as the ruling class in Britain believe the white tribe was superior to all non-white tribes, they were convinced that the white tribe was stratified in terms of value as human beings. They refered to those they defined as the lower levels as "white waste," and eventually as "white trash."

By the late 1600s, the British elite were loading the "white trash" onto large boats, and sending it across the Atlantic. There were investments on the potential to exploit the "New World's" resources. They had anticipated an experience as easy as the Spanish had in Central America at first, and were caught off-guard by the red tribe's people, who practiced a woodland form of democracy. The resulting conflicts would mark the birth of the first twin of America's Original sins. The second twin, of course, was the importing of slaves.

The colonial era up through the 1880s, the American experience is best understood as red, white, and black. By no coincidence, Gary Nash's 1974 book, "Red, White, and Black" provides fascinating information on the inter-relationships between these three tribes. Whites viewed blacks as domestic animals, to be kept on plantations for commercial exploitation. And the whites recognized the risks involved in blacks held in slavery learning to read. Whites viewed Indians as wild animals, creating problems for whites intent upon taking (re: stealing) their lands. Besides hunting Indians, there were efforts to "civilize" them, including by teaching them to read -- this at a time when literacy was not a common feature among white trash.

The single biggest conflict in US history came with the Civil War. The south wanted to expand slavery into the new territories. Lincoln, among other reasons, wanted to use these new territories to expand employment opportunities for the growing number of European boat people arriving on American shores. The result, with some significant exceptions, was a fight between the south's Scotch Irish and the north's more recent immigrants from the Irish starvation ships. This resulting in the freeing of the blacks held in slavery, and unleashed violence on those Indians living in a manner on their territories that got in the way of "manifest destiny."

This planted the seeds of resentment among much of the "confederacy's" white trash and elites. The resentment has flowered over the generations, and even pollinated white trash in other regions of the country. Thus, in the 20th century, other than being involved in two huge family feuds known as WW1 and WW2, the American elite whites were in an ongoing competition that involved the European elites of the white tribe to control and exploit the non-white tribes.

This included the domestic non-white peoples. To do so, the elite whites relied upon a trick: turn the white trash's resentments towards the non-white people. This was highlighted by the white trash's violent resistance to the Civil Rights Movement. In many parts of the country, it was impossible to tell the difference between the police and the KKK. Those alive at the time remember this; younger people are aware of this today.

A curious dynamic began after WW2. While there had long been a fringe of the white tribe that advocated for non-white people, the Civil Rights Movement increased these numbers, especially among the white youth. There were still some issues -- members of the black and red tribes recognized that they could identify leadership within their own communities, and some whites had difficulty in understanding why this was essential. But over the decades, a significant balance -- not perfect, as it involved human beings -- began to form.

An important part of this process began during the 1960 presidential campaign. Martin Luther King, Jr., endorsed John Kennedy, and soon the majority of black Americans became Democrats. Soon, LBJ passed the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts, although he knew his party would lose the southern elite and white trash that had long been Democrats.

Though imperfect, the Democratic Party began to represent the non-white minorities. The party would find both leadership and an important voting block among black citizens in particular. The republican elite -- almost exclusively white -- determined that they would need to create more hostility among the white trash, in order to win elections. And here we are today.

The connections between "race" and economic class warfare on the part of the white elites, would cause them to lose their grip on power, should white trash learn should white trash -- and the white middle class -- realize they had more in common with most non-whites, than with the self-appointed elites. That would take the fuzz right off their peach. And so the white trash in particular has been encouraged to think that they have more in common with a Donald Trump than a George Floyd.

The white trash cannot tell the difference between King's March on Washington and the Watts riot. And some middle class whites say that good people should use King's tactics to advance, woefully ignorant of either King's economic message or the terrible violence that he and his followers were met with. Both have an inability to understand that the riots, with burning and looting, is not connected to the Democratic Party.

The white trash today, in identifying with Trump, also view the non-white peaceful protesters as dangerous, and the white ones as traitors to the white tribe. Thus, we are seeing the white supremacists -- often with at least low-level support and cooperation from some police -- are convinced that they have license to attack and kill the "enemy." As this cycle increases in strength, we are moving as a society to a domestic version of "The Troubles."

We have three options. We can say, "That's terrible" when we see reports of the increasing violence, and hope we are not the next victim. We can put into practice Malcolm X's say,"In the jungle, there are hunters. There are also those who hunt the hunters." Both lead directly to The Troubles. Or, we can engage in non-violent activities, those covered in the Constitution, and work to revive a civil society. That is the only way.

Peace,
H2O Man

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Arrow 48 replies Author Time Post
Reply The Troubles (Original post)
H2O Man Aug 28 OP
CaliforniaPeggy Aug 28 #1
H2O Man Aug 28 #5
Hekate Aug 28 #2
H2O Man Aug 28 #6
dhol82 Aug 28 #3
H2O Man Aug 28 #7
cachukis Aug 28 #4
H2O Man Aug 28 #10
misanthrope Aug 28 #19
H2O Man Aug 28 #22
crickets Aug 29 #41
burrowowl Aug 28 #8
H2O Man Aug 28 #11
malaise Aug 28 #9
H2O Man Aug 28 #12
dalton99a Aug 28 #13
H2O Man Aug 28 #14
panader0 Aug 28 #15
H2O Man Aug 28 #23
spanone Aug 28 #16
H2O Man Aug 28 #24
spanone Aug 28 #38
coeur_de_lion Aug 28 #17
H2O Man Aug 28 #25
coeur_de_lion Aug 29 #40
gristy Aug 28 #18
H2O Man Aug 28 #26
yonder Aug 28 #20
H2O Man Aug 28 #27
mountain grammy Aug 28 #21
H2O Man Aug 28 #29
a la izquierda Aug 28 #28
H2O Man Aug 28 #30
Blecht Aug 28 #31
H2O Man Aug 28 #32
c-rational Aug 28 #33
H2O Man Aug 28 #34
Warpy Aug 28 #35
H2O Man Aug 28 #36
srose58089 Aug 28 #37
H2O Man Aug 29 #42
Martin Eden Aug 29 #39
H2O Man Aug 29 #44
Martin Eden Aug 29 #46
crickets Aug 29 #43
H2O Man Aug 29 #45
voteearlyvoteoften Aug 29 #47
H2O Man Aug 30 #48

Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Aug 28, 2020, 08:16 PM

1. What a fascinating post, my dear H20 Man!

I had never seen this explanation of the different tribes, until I read your post. It is a perfectly clear and rational explanation of what is going on.

I'm bookmarking this so I can read it again, and so that I can intelligently comment on it to others.

Thank you so much!

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Response to CaliforniaPeggy (Reply #1)

Fri Aug 28, 2020, 08:50 PM

5. Thanks, Buddy!

You know, when I was young, I didn't always understand why Rubin Carter and Chief Paul Waterman were teaching me some of the things they did. In part, I suppose, that was because I was a dumb kid, sure I already knew everything. Yikes!!! (grin)

Now that I'm old, a lot of it has started making sense. A dumb kid would be lucky to have either of those men for a mentor. I guess the Universe determined that, as a tough case, I needed a double-dose of mentoring!

All credit for anything of value in the OP rightfully goes to Rubin & Paul.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Aug 28, 2020, 08:22 PM

2. Kick Rec Bookmark

Thank you

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Response to Hekate (Reply #2)

Fri Aug 28, 2020, 08:50 PM

6. Thank you!

Much appreciated!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Aug 28, 2020, 08:26 PM

3. any chance I can share this?

It is something others should read.

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Response to dhol82 (Reply #3)

Fri Aug 28, 2020, 08:53 PM

7. Why, yes, definitely!

I appreciate that you find it worthwhile. And that you want to share it! That makes my day!

And thank you for asking, although you really didn't need to.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Aug 28, 2020, 08:28 PM

4. Well thought out. Machiavelli would be impressed.

A study on the psychology would examine the nuance of protecting the tribe over progress. Edsall's recent column on the end of democracy would be a good start. Opinion | ‘I Fear That We Are Witnessing the End of American Democracy’ - The New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/26/opinion/trump-republican-convention-racism.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage

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Response to cachukis (Reply #4)

Fri Aug 28, 2020, 08:55 PM

10. Thanks!

I've seen the author interviewed, but haven't had the opportunity to read it -- until now! Thank you very much!

I was recently talking to my west coast brother. He said that if Trump is re-elected, we'd see the empire starting to crumble. I corrected him: we are witnessing that now.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #10)

Fri Aug 28, 2020, 10:01 PM

19. You are correct.

These fault lines have been advancing for a long time.

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Response to misanthrope (Reply #19)

Fri Aug 28, 2020, 10:40 PM

22. Right.

For some time, we've seen things going in a slower motion. But in a bad direction in many ways. Trump has accelerated the pace. Biden can slow it, and institute some positive changes. But for the actual change necessary, citizens have to be active participants.

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Response to cachukis (Reply #4)

Sat Aug 29, 2020, 01:21 PM

41. Interesting read. Thanks for the link, cachukis. nt

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Aug 28, 2020, 08:53 PM

8. K&R

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Response to burrowowl (Reply #8)

Fri Aug 28, 2020, 08:56 PM

11. Thanks, burrowowl!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Aug 28, 2020, 08:54 PM

9. Thoughtful and powerful

Thank you WaterMan

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Response to malaise (Reply #9)

Fri Aug 28, 2020, 08:59 PM

12. Thank you!

I had fun writing it, as my sons were busy doing plimbing repairs for me. As they have more to do tomorrow, I'm likely to write another essay.

I think it shows some of the many important dynamics of this time.Lots of layers.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Aug 28, 2020, 09:14 PM

13. Great post.

So timely and insightful

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Response to dalton99a (Reply #13)

Fri Aug 28, 2020, 09:28 PM

14. Thanks!

It is a strange time, that's for sure. It amazes me that anyone would think that Trump cares any more about them, than he does me -- not at all.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Aug 28, 2020, 09:31 PM

15. Really good one tonight. A pleasure to read your essays.

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Response to panader0 (Reply #15)

Fri Aug 28, 2020, 10:41 PM

23. Thank you!

A good bit of my essay was simply my writing down my part of a discussion last night as my son and I watched the RNC in horror.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Aug 28, 2020, 09:38 PM

16. 'That is the only way' ...Amen

K&R

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Response to spanone (Reply #16)

Fri Aug 28, 2020, 10:42 PM

24. Thanks, spanone!

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #24)

Fri Aug 28, 2020, 11:58 PM

38. Thank you H2O Man.

A good post.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Aug 28, 2020, 09:48 PM

17. The troubles . . .

Love this ~
The white trash cannot tell the difference between King's March on Washington and the Watts riot. And some middle class whites say that good people should use King's tactics to advance, woefully ignorant of either King's economic message or the terrible violence that he and his followers were met with. Both have an inability to understand that the riots, with burning and looting, is not connected to the Democratic Party.

The white trash today, in identifying with Trump, also view the non-white peaceful protesters as dangerous, and the white ones as traitors to the white tribe. Thus, we are seeing the white supremacists -- often with at least low-level support and cooperation from some police -- are convinced that they have license to attack and kill the "enemy." As this cycle increases in strength, we are moving as a society to a domestic version of "The Troubles."


You reminded me of a line from a poem -- "Easter, 1916" by Yeats.

All changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.


There's such a furious backlash against trump it's nearly impossible to believe he could "win". But he could.

I unfriended my redneck white trash trumper brother-in-law several weeks ago. I hated seeing what he posted come across my feed. Ignorant. Dangerous. His most recent cartoon said,

"34 people died in Chicago this week from Covid gunshot wounds. They will be voting by mail."

Such is his ignorance that this is funny to him.

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Response to coeur_de_lion (Reply #17)

Fri Aug 28, 2020, 10:48 PM

25. It is difficult

to think Trump could win. He can't. But it is possible that he -- with outside help -- could steal the election. Considering that this is exactly how he "won" in 2016, it's impossible to imagine that a coordinated attempt isn't underway. Heck, we've seen it with the Post Office nonsense.

Yeats is wonderful. A close second to Lennon, since John was a better singer.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #25)

Sat Aug 29, 2020, 01:18 PM

40. Both Lennon and Yeats

have a quality that makes you want to know more about them personally. What motivates them and what inspires them? I've read a few biographies of Lennon and a little bit of Yeats' life.

Lennon is endlessly interesting. Sharply intelligent, introspective. My idol.

Yeats seems darker, more mysterious.

Both men expressed themselves eloquently.

My favorite quote of Lennon's is in my signature line. My favorite quote by Yeats -- just because it's funny -- is this:

“Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy.”


Pessimistic, but sums up the Irish personality so well.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Aug 28, 2020, 09:59 PM

18. K&R

What a wonderful piece of writing, H2O Man. I'm just sorry that it both could and had to be written.

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Response to gristy (Reply #18)

Fri Aug 28, 2020, 10:50 PM

26. Thank you!

It is a shame that these things have to be said. But they do, which really shows how frustrating it can be to try to communicate with those foolish people who think Trump cares about them -- and the United States.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Aug 28, 2020, 10:06 PM

20. This a fine, educational essay. Thank you.

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Response to yonder (Reply #20)

Fri Aug 28, 2020, 10:51 PM

27. Thanks, yonder!

Much appreciated!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Aug 28, 2020, 10:20 PM

21. This is so good.

thank you..

Captivating read,

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Response to mountain grammy (Reply #21)

Fri Aug 28, 2020, 10:55 PM

29. Thank you!

Yesterday, I mailed the information about the violence and racism that took place by the "counter-protesters" at the Black Lives Matter rally in a village near me on the 15th to the NYS Attorney General's Office. Three village officials were part of the group screaming, "We are the new KKK!" Last night, my son and I were talking about the fools that support Trump. That conversation led to my writing this essay today. I'm pleased if people like it.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Aug 28, 2020, 10:53 PM

28. Bookmarking to read later

I grew up in an Irish Republican family, in an Irish Republican neighborhood.

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Response to a la izquierda (Reply #28)

Fri Aug 28, 2020, 10:58 PM

30. Thanks!

I'm second-generation here in the US, but remain in frequent contact with extended family in Ireland. From the 1798 uprising of the United Irishmen until recent times, my family has been active in favor of one Ireland, from sod to sky. However, as I'm sure that you understand, it would be much better if we do not have a similar experience here.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Aug 28, 2020, 10:59 PM

31. I was just thinking about this exact parallel

I was reading Adrian McKinty's Sean Duffy series about a Catholic "Peeler" in Northern Ireland during The Troubles, and I couldn't help seeing how America could easily turn into that, only on a much larger scale.

It's a terrifying thought.

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Response to Blecht (Reply #31)

Fri Aug 28, 2020, 11:02 PM

32. It is.

Too many people think that it couldn't happen here -- as if the United States is immune -- forgetting not just the Civil War, nut the long history of the nation.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Aug 28, 2020, 11:06 PM

33. K&R - A great post H2O Man. Thank you. Bookmarked. Rang bells of truth. Just prior to getting

back on DU I was reading about writing poetry, and I was met with the most interesting choice of words to start your post. Is it mere coincidence...

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Response to c-rational (Reply #33)

Fri Aug 28, 2020, 11:12 PM

34. Well, thank you!

I do not believe in "coincidence." Just my opinion.

Some of the greatest poetry comes from the Irish. Certainly not all of it, as some human beings, at different times and places, have wrote some amazing poetry.

I have a poem my great X7 grandfather wrote while in a dungeon, sentenced to death for his participation of the 1798 uprising of the United Irishmen. It was snuck out by his "pasting" it under a plate with a potato.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Aug 28, 2020, 11:25 PM

35. "White Trash" is a fascinating book. If the English had set out

to declare a large proportion of their population as both subhuman and expendable, they couldn't have done a better job than ending the commons system, enacting the various enclosure laws, and mechanizing poor rural people out of a subsistence living had done. Those were the things that caused the flood of desperate people into overcrowded cities with the all too predictable result of too many people competing for too few jobs, turning to crime, packing together into already crowded slums, and allowing opportunistic disease to spread like wildfire.

Having created the problem, the moneyed class found it expedient to dump the ones who survived malnutrition on a perilous sea voyage onto indigenous people in the Americas and Australia, all as they held their lace handkerchiefs delicately to their long blue noses and deplored the naturally lax morals and total shiftlessness of the poor. Law and order demanded they be exported as quickly as possible, and with as little expense and care as possible.

We're seeing that exact same mindset today, but there are no convenient dumping grounds left. If we don't manage to force change onto the truculent ruling class, we face a new Final Solution.

(and don't tell me you're shocked that people who had known nothing but being brutalized at home turned it around when they got dumped here)

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Response to Warpy (Reply #35)

Fri Aug 28, 2020, 11:44 PM

36. Very good!

I think that, as a group, poor people are the best. There are a few quotes by Gandhi that I love, particularly when he says that he recognized no God but the God of the poor underclass.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Fri Aug 28, 2020, 11:54 PM

37. I hope it is not option 2

I loved reading this post and have bookmarked it for future study and reference. Thank you H2O Man

As an older male member of the "un-elite white tribe" who read and studied a lot of Malcolm X's the ballot or the bullet speeches I would be compelled to join with the "non white tribes" as I did back in the 60s if it comes to option 2. I sure hope it does not . An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth will leave us all toothless and blind as Gandhi said so what can a person do?

I plan on voting as many times as I can for Joe Biden. So far I can vote 4 times. Of course only one of them is actually me. The other 3 or friends I know who have never voted before but have through civil discussion and some help registered to vote for the first time in their lives. My goal is to have 10 votes by election day. .

I am not a rich man but I have donated money to Biden's campaign and for Senate races in key states.

I have tried to stay informed.

I don't try and argue with some of my family and friends that are Trumpers . I listen to them and try and figure out what we have in common in our political views. I don't try and persuade I try to inform them. Unfortunately some have become cult members.

I try and stay positive in my thinking for my own mental health. I still believe that good will triumph over evil and Love really does trump hate.

I close with a 2 quotes both from the same man:

"Mankind has only one real enemy -- ignorance. Let us all work together for its destruction helping and cheering one another along the way."

"Some people try to be tall but cutting off the heads of others"
--Paramahansa Yogananda

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Response to srose58089 (Reply #37)

Sat Aug 29, 2020, 01:22 PM

42. Thank you!

We certainly don't want to add to the growing force of violence. Nor do we want to be victims, be it in our homes or if we are out minding our own business in public. It's a sad state of affairs when those appear to be possibilities.

People like Gandhi and King provide what I think is the best path to take.

Thank you for including those wonderful quotes!

I think that we are from the same generation. It is strange to look back, at all the beauty and madness of those bygone times, especially when my younger son asks, "Uh, hey, Old Man. I thought your generation was going to solve all these problems. What the hell happened?" All I can say as we built the best foundation that we knew how, and now it's up to the younger generations to build on that. Democracy, after all, requires constant struggle.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat Aug 29, 2020, 09:39 AM

39. Violence begets violence. Only Love can conquer Hate.

Last edited Sat Aug 29, 2020, 02:26 PM - Edit history (1)

Simple platitudes perhaps, but Honest Truth nevertheless.

We all have the two wolves within us, the good and the bad. Which one wins? The one we choose to feed.

It is so easy and tempting to Hate the Trumpers, to strike back at them any way we can, to repay violence with greater violence. This course will escalate The Troubles, far worse than we're experiencing now.

A House divided against itself cannot stand.

America is our House, inhabited by all The People. This great experiment will only succeed with the spirit of E Pluribus Unum. Tribal hostilities will ultimately rot the foundations of our republic, and our House will collapse.

Historically our separate tribes have come together to fight a greater menace, as in World War II -- the deadliest, most violent conflict in human history.

Can we not come together for a higher purpose? Our country, and human civilization, depend on it.

Each and every one of us has to make a conscious effort to win the battle within ourselves, for only Love can conquer Hate.

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Response to Martin Eden (Reply #39)

Sat Aug 29, 2020, 01:29 PM

44. Well said!

Gandhi taught that until we can love the lowliest of human beings as much as we love ourselves, we are unable to see the Light of Truth properly. I have no problem in admitting that I am not there, and likely never really will be, no matter how hard I try. For I am, after all, human.

There are times lately when, seeing some news report or reading some nonsense on the internet, I become disgusted. But I make an effort to keep most of my rude comments in my head, or maybe to a few family members and friends. I'd like to think that allows for a release that keeps the madness from taking up space in my head.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #44)

Sat Aug 29, 2020, 02:25 PM

46. The madness that takes up space in our heads

For anyone who cares about our country, our Mother Earth, and our fellow human beings, it's nearly impossible to keep the madness of Trumpism out of our heads.

It certainly needs an outlet, and therein lies a daily decision point. What do we do with it?

If we react with anger and violence directed at other people, those who seek to divide the American people and destroy our democracy have achieved the response they sought. Vlad Putin will have gotten his money's worth, and then some.

I spend altogether too much time on the internet, trying to find an outlet in discussion forums. It works to some extent but it further immerses me in the madness, and I must admit I've shown no mercy to those from the other side of the divide.

It's a daily struggle. We all have to find our Better Angels.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat Aug 29, 2020, 01:26 PM

43. As always, H2O Man, an eloquent and thought provoking read.

Thanks for putting the time and effort into these posts. I enjoy reading them, often learning in the process.

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Response to crickets (Reply #43)

Sat Aug 29, 2020, 01:31 PM

45. Thanks, crickets!

I appreciate that!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sat Aug 29, 2020, 06:03 PM

47. Knr

Sobering thoughts indeed. Peace be with you.

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Response to voteearlyvoteoften (Reply #47)

Sun Aug 30, 2020, 02:35 AM

48. Thank you!

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