Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member Latest Breaking News Editorials & Other Articles General Discussion The DU Lounge All Forums Issue Forums Culture Forums Alliance Forums Region Forums Support Forums Help & Search

H2O Man

(74,284 posts)
Wed Jul 29, 2015, 12:24 PM Jul 2015

Down at the Spring

“God gave Noah the rainbow sign,
No more water, the fire next time.”
-- James Baldwin; The Fire Next Time; Dell; 1962; page 141.


Like many community members, I had read DU before eventually joining on December 29, 2003. A number of associates from the group I worked with at that time had recommended this internet discussion site to me. But what actually convinced me to join was a powerful essay that Will Pitt posted earlier on that day.

At that time, the forum was a smaller, tighter community, comprised of liberal and progressive Democrats, along with a number of “leftists.” In large part, DU was created in response to the frustration that grass roots activists felt after George W. Bush was selected -- by the US Supreme Court -- to occupy the White House, despite the fact that Al Gore had clearly won the 2000 election. The focus of many discussions was on the undemocratic and unconstitutional manner in which Bush and his vice president, Dick Cheney, were ruling in.

Now, I say that, without intending to define the intentions of the creators of the Democratic Underground. Over the years that I’ve participated here, I’ve read a number of opinions, from a wide range of members, regarding the intentions of the gentlemen who started DU. I could speculate on this topic, but see little benefit in that. I’m more concerned with the discussions -- including, of course, the tone of many of the debates.

On a couple of occasions, when “old-timers” have stated their belief that “DU ain’t what it used to be,” an administrator responded by saying that it actually is pretty much the same as its always been. And, in some ways, that is correct.

But it is inaccurate in other ways. This isn’t to imply that the administrator was lying, or trying to deceive people. It is simply in recognition that no system remains static or stagnant. Only that which is completely non-organic could remain the same system, unaffected by outside influences. But systems of human beings always change.

Change is constant. Internally, the system grows or shrinks; even if it stagnates, it will have internal decay that causes it to lose its potency. Externally, changes in the outer world will have an impact upon it. Even traditional systems -- for example, the Amish, or Native American people -- must either react or respond to the changing dynamics in the outside world.

With DU, there have been two significant changes: one external, one internal. The external includes the changes in the presidency. George W. Bush is no longer president, though the damage he accomplished remains a reality. Advances have been made in health care and marriage equality. Yet, war remains a constant, and income distribution continues to separate the 1% from humanity.

The internal changes include a larger forum membership, which often involves people who have very different interests and goals than the original community of the early years. When I say “different interests and goals,” that isn’t intended as a value judgment. But without question, what was once a primarily liberal-progressive community of Democrats and others to the political left, has slowly but steadily absorbed new members, including a significant number who tend to be to the right -- to various degrees -- of the early community.

When we think of a system as being like a mobile hanging over an infant’s crib, we can see how adding new pieces on one side shifts the system, slowly but surely. When we also include the removal of other pieces, the shift continues. Let’s briefly consider a few types of pieces/ members who have been removed from the community.

An insignificant group of DU rejects are known as “trolls” or “freepers.” Their only goal is to come to DU to splatter the excrement of their being, before being tomb-stoned. A sub-group of this ilk attempts to disguise themselves as “liberals” -- or even pseudo-revolutionaries -- and to create dissention and divide the community. There have always been a few of them here, seeking to spread their infectious pus. They, too, are of minor consequence.

Another group of former DU members are those who have died. Their influence is still felt by those of us who were honored to know them. Yet the loss of their on-going contributions to our discussions diminishes the forum.

A third group are sincere individuals, who simply lose interest in DU, usually because of the toxicity of the debates and arguments -- particularly those that involve presidential primaries, and a few divisive topics.

The group that I am focusing upon here today includes some of the most steady, reliable, and insightful members -- often “old-timers” -- who have made this forum worthwhile. These are the women and men who -- subtly or openly -- make us view things differently, and to think in new ways. If we were in the “public square,” we would anticipate that the opposition would focus their wrath upon these individuals. They would openly insult them, and attempt to undermine their influence, by pointing out that they made a mistake in the distant past. Or try to belittle them, by identifying them as being in a tiny minority, or the old, worn-out insult that they are conspiracy theorists.

We’d expect such attempts in a public forum, such as a city board meeting, much like we expect it when we watch a debate on television. In such a format, the rules of engagement allow for direct, firm responses. Sadly, we’ve come to expect it on DU, as well. And I’m not talking about the healthy, respectful debates we have between forum members who are on the left versus those on the right of the Democratic Party. Rather, it involves when, in what could be a meaningful discussion of important issues, one group attempts to mis-use the forum rules to sidetrack such discussion or debate. When they attempt clever personal attacks, pretending that they respect the other person. When they attempt to control what opinions can be expressed, and indeed how they can be communicated.

Many of us have, at various times, reached the point where we take a step back, and take a break from DU for a few weeks or more. And that’s fine. But there have also been many instances of where good people -- those who elevate DU -- get so tired of being the target of petty personal attacks, that they simply quit. And we’ve witnessed some examples of this in the past few days.

I hesitate to mention them by name, only because I know these two men well enough that I am sure they will think it unnecessary. But I’ll do it anyhow …..for two reasons: first, because I have the utmost respect for each one of them; and second, because this community is definitely diminished by losing their contributions. “Will Pitt” and “kentuck” have decided to stop posting on this forum. They were not driven out in shame, or tomb-stoned for outrageous behavior. Instead, they are simply opting to move on.

It would be an error for their opponents to believe they have silenced these gentlemen. In whatever format they use the energies they have long invested here, they will continue to influence the way that others around them think. Likewise, it would be an error for anyone to believe that, well, that’s just the way it goes ….that while some folks leave, other new members replace them. No, it is a change in this system, and the removal of these two pieces on the DU mobile results in a shift that isn’t corrected by adding a couple of new pieces.

What doesn’t change is what many of us recognize as an on-going, coordinated dogging of a group of forum members who are sincere in attempting to communicate their opinions, insights, and values. My “short list” includes members such as nadinbrzezinski, Sabrina 1, trumad, and Octafish. I could easily list a dozen others.

If we were in that public square -- a city board meeting, for example -- there would obviously be a segment who would try very hard to silence this group of people. It shouldn’t be the case on the Democratic Underground. That it is -- and without question, it surely is -- is something that should be of concern to the greater community. I have been impressed by a few threads that include thoughtful responses to the glee that some folks have expressed about Will’s leaving (as if they somehow defeated Will in a contest that exists only between their ears). That provides solid evidence that the Goodness I associate with the DU community still exists.

Thank you to anyone who has read this long an essay. And keep on fighting the Good Fight.

Peace,
H2O Man

56 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
Highlight: NoneDon't highlight anything 5 newestHighlight 5 most recent replies
Down at the Spring (Original Post) H2O Man Jul 2015 OP
... onecaliberal Jul 2015 #1
Thank you! H2O Man Jul 2015 #2
Thank you! onecaliberal Jul 2015 #4
K&R...n/t ms liberty Jul 2015 #3
Thanks! H2O Man Jul 2015 #6
Well said! Thank you. nt Mojorabbit Jul 2015 #5
Thank you. H2O Man Jul 2015 #7
Differences of opinion are what makes horse races. Mark Twain K&R Tierra_y_Libertad Jul 2015 #8
Yes, people do contribute especially when they disagree, so long as they do it without sabrina 1 Jul 2015 #9
I frequently have to remind myself that DU is just another discussion board. Tierra_y_Libertad Jul 2015 #10
Some people have influenced the political discussion outside of DU. Will Pitt eg, whose book sabrina 1 Jul 2015 #11
“News is what somebody somewhere wants to suppress; all the rest is advertising.” Lord Northcliffe Tierra_y_Libertad Jul 2015 #13
Repulsive is a good word for attempts to control what people read or sabrina 1 Jul 2015 #14
I remember the ugliness here as U.S.A. torture and abuse of prisoners in Iraq was being exposed. hunter Jul 2015 #30
Thank you for this eloquent example of the type of "long post" that Zorra Jul 2015 #12
Thanks! H2O Man Jul 2015 #29
Thank you... Kensan Jul 2015 #15
This whole thread is wonderful and helps me understand why I like DU so much. erronis Jul 2015 #18
There is still more "good" H2O Man Jul 2015 #33
The ugliness sometimes H2O Man Jul 2015 #32
Speaking of D.U. members that have passed away. Uncle Joe Jul 2015 #16
What a beautiful post Uncle Joe. How intuitive you were to sense that something was sabrina 1 Jul 2015 #19
I missed you and many other posters here as well, sabrina. Uncle Joe Jul 2015 #21
Wonderful post Uncle Joe malaise Jul 2015 #39
I sure missed you as well, malaise, Uncle Joe Jul 2015 #41
Yes indeed malaise Jul 2015 #42
This is it, sabrina. Uncle Joe Jul 2015 #22
Tears ... an amazing thread Uncle Joe sabrina 1 Jul 2015 #25
And for you sabrina. Uncle Joe Jul 2015 #26
I noticed that it was a year as well malaise Jul 2015 #43
Yes, it is very sad. sabrina 1 Jul 2015 #47
Thank you, my Friend. H2O Man Jul 2015 #34
It was my pleasure H2O Man, let me say thanks to you Uncle Joe Jul 2015 #40
Excellent piece, H2O Man Oilwellian Jul 2015 #17
Right. H2O Man Jul 2015 #35
Yes, me too. It's strange isn't it, how something that was so negative, turned into something sabrina 1 Jul 2015 #48
Thoughtful as usual malaise Jul 2015 #20
Thanks, Buddy! H2O Man Jul 2015 #36
Very well said H2O man. zeemike Jul 2015 #23
Thank you. H2O Man Jul 2015 #38
Perfect piece, perfect timing. MerryBlooms Jul 2015 #24
Thank you! H2O Man Jul 2015 #45
cannot K & R enough.... dhill926 Jul 2015 #27
Thanks! H2O Man Jul 2015 #46
Excellent OP, perfectly stated wrt to the changing dynamics of this forum H2O Man sabrina 1 Jul 2015 #28
Light vs darkness. H2O Man Jul 2015 #49
Wow, that is sad, but you are right, and sometimes we need to see sabrina 1 Jul 2015 #53
One of the things that H2O Man Jul 2015 #56
Your light in a dark room analogy triggered me to think of a deeper meaning of. Uncle Joe Jul 2015 #54
Great question, Uncle Joe. H2O Man Jul 2015 #55
Thank you for expressing so eloquently some of the frustrations I have felt. robertpaulsen Jul 2015 #31
Hello, Friend Robert! H2O Man Jul 2015 #50
Thank you. nt hay rick Jul 2015 #37
Thank you! H2O Man Jul 2015 #51
Peace to you, H20 Man awoke_in_2003 Jul 2015 #44
Thanks! H2O Man Jul 2015 #52
 

Tierra_y_Libertad

(50,414 posts)
8. Differences of opinion are what makes horse races. Mark Twain K&R
Wed Jul 29, 2015, 01:53 PM
Jul 2015

I've been on DU for 14 years. I've never put anyone on ignore. I've alerted on one post that was egregiously racist. I've had many, many, disputes with many other DU'rs. Some of them I hold in utter contempt, others I admire. But, they all belong here if they choose to and make this place interesting rather than a "Me Too!" echo chamber.

We're not supposed to be agreeable robots who are only allowed to utter the "correct" message and conform to whatever majority is fashionable at the moment. If everyone only posted to please everyone else, this would be a dull place indeed.

sabrina 1

(62,325 posts)
9. Yes, people do contribute especially when they disagree, so long as they do it without
Wed Jul 29, 2015, 02:08 PM
Jul 2015

malice or without making it personal.

There is a reason why many people have moved on to other venues. When real discussion is no longer possible, and the issues are so important, people simply find places where they can be more effective.

Which raises a question for me, and I know several other DUers, and I'm not sure yet what the answer is.

 

Tierra_y_Libertad

(50,414 posts)
10. I frequently have to remind myself that DU is just another discussion board.
Wed Jul 29, 2015, 02:22 PM
Jul 2015

To many, it seems to be something crucial and personal. We like to think that what we say is monumentally important and will change the course of world history.

Alas, it's just a discussion board with a variety of opinions that most of the world doesn't even know exists.

Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. Ecclesiastes 1:2

sabrina 1

(62,325 posts)
11. Some people have influenced the political discussion outside of DU. Will Pitt eg, whose book
Wed Jul 29, 2015, 02:32 PM
Jul 2015

contributed to exposing the lies of the Bush administration.

Most of us are not capable of that, but those who, at that time, were courageous enough, and if you remember the atmosphere back then when to even whisper the truth about the lies, got you threatened and called a traitor, (even people like me on much smaller forums than this one) people who were courageous enough to do so publicly, DID have some influence in changing people's minds.

Back then not one of our so-called journalists had the courage to challenge the war criminals who were obviously blatantly lying on national TV. A few courageous people DID and they paid a price for that.

But you are right, most of us are just ordinary people doing what people do, trying to make sense of what happened, not even trying to influence anyone, but to satisfy our own curiosity regarding whether or not what we are seeing is really what we think it is.

 

Tierra_y_Libertad

(50,414 posts)
13. “News is what somebody somewhere wants to suppress; all the rest is advertising.” Lord Northcliffe
Wed Jul 29, 2015, 02:44 PM
Jul 2015

Unfortunately, I see a lot of attempts at suppression of news right here that doesn't fit the narratives. Usually under the guise of "Party Unity" or "bashing". I'm repulsed the calls for conformity and "loyalty".

We are free human beings with the ability to think for ourselves.

sabrina 1

(62,325 posts)
14. Repulsive is a good word for attempts to control what people read or
Wed Jul 29, 2015, 02:54 PM
Jul 2015

see and/or their opinions. We boast of our 'freedoms' to the world, but in reality we are a long from being what we pretend to be.

And yes, it is insulting to be constantly monitored as to what sources we choose to read. I have faith that most DUers are capable of considering sources, and of making sure other sources confirm what one may be saying especially if it's a source known to be biased.

I left kindergarten a long time ago. I don't think we need nannies to keep watch over what we think and say.

hunter

(38,565 posts)
30. I remember the ugliness here as U.S.A. torture and abuse of prisoners in Iraq was being exposed.
Wed Jul 29, 2015, 05:28 PM
Jul 2015

Some posters were very severely flamed for even suggesting our blessed U.S.A. would ever do that, right up until actual photos started to appear online.

I'm still finding enough here of value on DU to continue reading and posting, and I'll probably never feel harassed because I always wear protection...



I also have a dragon living under my staircase.

Zorra

(27,670 posts)
12. Thank you for this eloquent example of the type of "long post" that
Wed Jul 29, 2015, 02:32 PM
Jul 2015

helped make DU so special during the early years of this forum.

I don't believe the ideas expressed in your essay could have been delivered more succinctly, accurately, or thoroughly.

Kensan

(182 posts)
15. Thank you...
Wed Jul 29, 2015, 03:07 PM
Jul 2015

Well said. I have always enjoyed your posts, H2O Man.

I've constrained myself to being a silent lurker since the early days of DU. Over the years, I've seen many brilliant people come and go for the many reasons you listed. With the sheer volume of posts each day on this site, I do have to be selective about the posts I want to read. So naturally, there are some members (such as yourself) that I have always taken time to read.

There is amazing value in reading the framework of someone who doesn't think through issues like yourself. I've received quite a bit of value and insights from those posters who've presented "contrarian" views versus the majority of others here. They would often be mocked, and plenty of threads were reduced to back-and-forth jibberish. But before the threads went down in flames, there would be valuable information. I can think of 2 members off the top of my head that seemed to have detractors follow them through every thread (Prosense and NNadir).

Every presidential election cycle has been ugly on this forum, and this one is already shaping up to be another whirlwind. The stakes have become increasingly higher each time as certain issues have been delayed, squashed or sabotaged by various political (and moneyed) forces. Passions get hot, and people get rash in their comments.

Thank you for writing this post. Hopefully it will be a helpful reminder to keep things civil.

erronis

(15,973 posts)
18. This whole thread is wonderful and helps me understand why I like DU so much.
Wed Jul 29, 2015, 03:42 PM
Jul 2015

Even tho I'm pretty damp behind the ears and have made a few faux pas('s?) in my comments, I just can't help but want to come here for some insightful views. I can get "news" from many sources but DU gives me some real thought and feedback.

I do wish there was a way to vote individual comments up or down instead of relying on the absolute block, or making some "+1" comment to give approval.

H2O Man

(74,284 posts)
33. There is still more "good"
Wed Jul 29, 2015, 07:42 PM
Jul 2015

than "bad," I think. The support I got from this community last fall, when two of my relatives were brutally attacked by a raging, off-duty cop with a gun, meant more to me -- and my family -- than I can express with mere words. (It translated into letters, e-mails, and phone calls to the local DA and County Judge that literally set the record for our region! Impressive!)

A good bit of that support came from folks on this forum who don't often agree with my point of view on politics -- but who know right from wrong, and who understand the power of compassion. I don't forget that type of decency.

I've stepped back a couple of times, for a week or two. And I recall that some character named Skinner once "suspended" me for a few days ....I've long since forgiven him. We all make mistakes sometimes.

H2O Man

(74,284 posts)
32. The ugliness sometimes
Wed Jul 29, 2015, 07:35 PM
Jul 2015

reminds me of road rage .....people being comfortable saying nasty mean things to strangers they don't know, from the comfort of their own vehicle on the information highway.

Uncle Joe

(59,148 posts)
16. Speaking of D.U. members that have passed away.
Wed Jul 29, 2015, 03:35 PM
Jul 2015

I felt an unexpectedly, intense emotional sense of loss with the passing of RainDog, I never met the woman and didn't even know what she looked like until after her death.

She and I wholeheartedly agreed on many issues and had passionate opposing debates on others but I greatly respected her.

I sensed something was wrong with RainDog during the last couple of weeks of her life and I PMed her about it, we had many discussions about our lives. I tried to lift her spirits, while giving hope and comfort, but her pain and the cloud over her head was strong, still I had no idea "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" would be her last OP and thread.

For some period of time after that, I couldn't come to D.U. without thinking about her, so I had to take a break from this place just to recharge my emotional batteries.

Thanks for the thread, H2O Man.

sabrina 1

(62,325 posts)
19. What a beautiful post Uncle Joe. How intuitive you were to sense that something was
Wed Jul 29, 2015, 03:44 PM
Jul 2015

wrong. I'm glad you acted on it and got to help comfort her. I am so sorry to hear of her suffering.

What a wonderful title for her last OP 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps'. I will go look for it as I did not see it at time, which I regret.

I am glad to see you posting, people were wondering about you, you were missed.

Uncle Joe

(59,148 posts)
41. I sure missed you as well, malaise,
Wed Jul 29, 2015, 08:15 PM
Jul 2015

whenever I get back down to Jamaica, I will look you up, peace to you.

sabrina 1

(62,325 posts)
25. Tears ... an amazing thread Uncle Joe
Wed Jul 29, 2015, 04:19 PM
Jul 2015

I listened to the song raindog posted, so beautiful.

You were so kind to see that she was saying more than what it appeared to be ....

It's a year since then. An anniversary.

I rec'd the post and cried.

That is a very special thread. Beautiful, sad ...

We did miss you and thank you for being so wonderful.

One of DU's special members.

RIP raindog!

for Uncle Joe!

H2O Man

(74,284 posts)
34. Thank you, my Friend.
Wed Jul 29, 2015, 07:44 PM
Jul 2015

You expressed what is Best about this community. I have a lump in my throat, that seems to be blocking my ability to respond in a way that I'd like to. So I'll just say Thank You.

Uncle Joe

(59,148 posts)
40. It was my pleasure H2O Man, let me say thanks to you
Wed Jul 29, 2015, 08:12 PM
Jul 2015

for so many fine, insightful OPs that you have contributed to D.U. you're one of the jewels here, my friend.

Oilwellian

(12,647 posts)
17. Excellent piece, H2O Man
Wed Jul 29, 2015, 03:37 PM
Jul 2015

Thank you for expressing exactly what I'm feeling. The last couple of days have helped to restore my faith in DU and made me realize just how many damn fine people hang out here. I'm honored to be their kindred spirit.

sabrina 1

(62,325 posts)
48. Yes, me too. It's strange isn't it, how something that was so negative, turned into something
Thu Jul 30, 2015, 12:11 AM
Jul 2015

so positive? Not the intent of the originator of it all, I'm sure. But definitely ironic. So many great people here who make it worth while, and sometimes you forget that.

zeemike

(18,998 posts)
23. Very well said H2O man.
Wed Jul 29, 2015, 03:55 PM
Jul 2015

And your analysis is spot on and important,
I could add nothing to it...except thanks.

H2O Man

(74,284 posts)
38. Thank you.
Wed Jul 29, 2015, 07:53 PM
Jul 2015

I was in the middle of composing an essay on a completely different topic, but my mind kept coming back to this ....in part, because I don't like when friends leave DU; because of some of the petty shit a few posted; and because of the outpouring of decency from the larger community. Responses like your's make me think that I was able to communicate that. Thanks, zeemike!

sabrina 1

(62,325 posts)
28. Excellent OP, perfectly stated wrt to the changing dynamics of this forum H2O Man
Wed Jul 29, 2015, 05:07 PM
Jul 2015

I'm glad you named these two DUers, because you are correct that the forum will be diminished by their absence.

I hesitate to mention them by name, only because I know these two men well enough that I am sure they will think it unnecessary. But I’ll do it anyhow …..for two reasons: first, because I have the utmost respect for each one of them; and second, because this community is definitely diminished by losing their contributions. “Will Pitt” and “kentuck” have decided to stop posting on this forum. They were not driven out in shame, or tomb-stoned for outrageous behavior. Instead, they are simply opting to move on.

It would be an error for their opponents to believe they have silenced these gentlemen. In whatever format they use the energies they have long invested here, they will continue to influence the way that others around them think. Likewise, it would be an error for anyone to believe that, well, that’s just the way it goes ….that while some folks leave, other new members replace them. No, it is a change in this system, and the removal of these two pieces on the DU mobile results in a shift that isn’t corrected by adding a couple of new pieces.


Yes, my shorter analysis of this whole 'event' is that there are those who actually contribute worthwhile content to this forum. Who brought people such as myself among many others, TO the forum and a much smaller group who do not, in fact they do the opposite which causes me to wonder, why they are here?

As for your kind comments about those such as myself who have 'fans', they do not deter me in any way.

I believe everything can be used for a better purpose than was intended, so I often USE negative material, sometimes simply to keep good threads kicked, other times to highlight issues and where people actually stand on those issues so we know who is for the principles the Dem Party espouses, and who is not.

And speaking of that, turning what was intended to be negative into so much that is positive, The negative OP on the pretext that it was 'sincere' following Will's farewell has produced some of the most positive threads, at least four or five, this one included, that I have seen on DU for a long time.

Sometimes things backfire for those with negative intentions. I like that. Everything and everyone has a purpose!

Thank you for another excellent OP generated by something that, it turns out, had unintended though wonderful consequences.

H2O Man

(74,284 posts)
49. Light vs darkness.
Thu Jul 30, 2015, 12:19 PM
Jul 2015

Whenever one lights a candle, or turns on a light, in a dark room, it will bring light to at least part of that room. Sometimes, of course, it makes ugly things visible.

I remember shortly after Mr. Pitt wrote an essay about my hunger strike, an associate sent me a link to a right-wing site. I told him that I prefer not to read such sites, but it said that I should make an exception. I did. Dozens of angry people not only were attacking Mr. Pitt, but expressing their hopes that I would die.

Really?

Because I wanted to speak to one of my elected representatives? A representative who earned a salary from tax-payers dollars? Is that so un-American that I should die?

Yes, there is a great darkness in this land.

sabrina 1

(62,325 posts)
53. Wow, that is sad, but you are right, and sometimes we need to see
Thu Jul 30, 2015, 12:40 PM
Jul 2015

who is lurking in the darkness. It might even help some of them when the realize how isolated and despised they are for allowing hatred and jealousy to eat them up.

There is a lot of darkness in the land, fueled by pitiful hatemongers who hopefully one day will be marginalized as they are in most civil societies.

I am sorry you had to read that, I have avoided doing so in this case and others, but I don't have to, it's always the same, it pollutes the mind, and I would rather focus on the light, such as this OP.

H2O Man

(74,284 posts)
56. One of the things that
Fri Jul 31, 2015, 01:32 AM
Jul 2015

I always remember is Chief Waterman telling me that it is important to pray for our enemies. To pray that their eyes, minds, and hearts are opened. To not seek "victory," but a reconciliation. And to reach the higher ground that we call Truth.

I try to do just that. Still, sometimes I am surprised to hear/ read what some folks think of me. Who they imagine I am.

Strange days, indeed.

Uncle Joe

(59,148 posts)
54. Your light in a dark room analogy triggered me to think of a deeper meaning of.
Thu Jul 30, 2015, 06:51 PM
Jul 2015

yin and yang, would you be the man that you are without being forged by the challenges of facing corruption, ignorance, greed, incompetence and hatred?



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yin_yang

In Chinese philosophy, yin and yang (also, yin-yang or yin yang) describes how apparently opposite or contrary forces are actually complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world, and how they give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another. Many tangible dualities (such as light and dark, fire and water, expanding and contracting) are thought of as physical manifestations of the duality symbolized by yin and yang. This duality lies at the origins of many branches of classical Chinese science and philosophy, as well as being a primary guideline of traditional Chinese medicine,[1] and a central principle of different forms of Chinese martial arts and exercise, such as baguazhang, taijiquan (t'ai chi), and qigong (Chi Kung), as well as appearing in the pages of the I Ching, purportedly written in 1,000 BC and before.[2]

Yin and yang can be thought of as complementary (rather than opposing) forces that interact to form a dynamic system in which the whole is greater than the assembled parts.[3] Everything has both yin and yang aspects, (for instance shadow cannot exist without light). Either of the two major aspects may manifest more strongly in a particular object, depending on the criterion of the observation. The yin yang (i.e. taijitu symbol) shows a balance between two opposites with a portion of the opposite element in each section.

In Daoist metaphysics, distinctions between good and bad, along with other dichotomous moral judgments, are perceptual, not real; so, the duality of yin and yang is an indivisible whole. In the ethics of Confucianism on the other hand, most notably in the philosophy of Dong Zhongshu (c. 2nd century BC), a moral dimension is attached to the idea of yin and yang.[4]








H2O Man

(74,284 posts)
55. Great question, Uncle Joe.
Fri Jul 31, 2015, 12:09 AM
Jul 2015

Chief Waterman taught me that it is our way to be thankful for everything .....including those things that really don't seem so nice or pleasant, in and of themselves. I hope that, at some point in time, those people who "hate" me are able to see things clearer. Because that person they despise isn't really me at all ....it's some projection that they mistake for me.

Heck, even old Tom Libous found out that I am actually fun to talk to. It took a few moments, for him to have to catch his breath after shouting at me. But within two minutes, I had him laughing, and shaking my hand like an old friend. We disagreed -- strongly -- about fracking (and much more). But that shouldn't prevent our having a civil conversation.

robertpaulsen

(8,632 posts)
31. Thank you for expressing so eloquently some of the frustrations I have felt.
Wed Jul 29, 2015, 06:27 PM
Jul 2015

You know I've always felt an affinity for your writing, H2O Man. I particularly identified with this section of your OP:

The group that I am focusing upon here today includes some of the most steady, reliable, and insightful members -- often “old-timers” -- who have made this forum worthwhile. These are the women and men who -- subtly or openly -- make us view things differently, and to think in new ways. If we were in the “public square,” we would anticipate that the opposition would focus their wrath upon these individuals. They would openly insult them, and attempt to undermine their influence, by pointing out that they made a mistake in the distant past. Or try to belittle them, by identifying them as being in a tiny minority, or the old, worn-out insult that they are conspiracy theorists.

We’d expect such attempts in a public forum, such as a city board meeting, much like we expect it when we watch a debate on television. In such a format, the rules of engagement allow for direct, firm responses. Sadly, we’ve come to expect it on DU, as well. And I’m not talking about the healthy, respectful debates we have between forum members who are on the left versus those on the right of the Democratic Party. Rather, it involves when, in what could be a meaningful discussion of important issues, one group attempts to mis-use the forum rules to sidetrack such discussion or debate. When they attempt clever personal attacks, pretending that they respect the other person. When they attempt to control what opinions can be expressed, and indeed how they can be communicated.

Many of us have, at various times, reached the point where we take a step back, and take a break from DU for a few weeks or more. And that’s fine. But there have also been many instances of where good people -- those who elevate DU -- get so tired of being the target of petty personal attacks, that they simply quit. And we’ve witnessed some examples of this in the past few days.


I am one of those "old-timers" who joined in 2003, as I'm sure you know. While I've never issued a public post saying that I would leave, there have been a couple times that I just walked away for long periods of time for the very reasons you specified above: I got tired. Tired of personal attacks. Tired of the goading strawman. Tired of the goalposts that never seemed to stay put. Tired of having hours of research finding links to verify my claims denigrated with the label "conspiracy theorist." So I went away where I felt my efforts would be more productive.

I'm not sure if there is a solution to this. There are solutions to problems, but not predicaments. I'm not saying DU doesn't have problems, but I believe the situation you are describing above is just our predicament: DU has evolved, and continues to evolve. That reality pretty much puts to rest the false conception that DU has always remained the same. Again, I really appreciate you spelling out the reasons why. Thanks for hanging in there and fighting the good fight!

H2O Man

(74,284 posts)
50. Hello, Friend Robert!
Thu Jul 30, 2015, 12:23 PM
Jul 2015

Very good to see you here!

You and I went on quite the adventure here, on DU, back in the days of the Plame scandal. The impact those threads had, reached far beyond DU. And that included into the reporting done on MSNBC. I think of that, when some friends here claim that DU is an isolated, unimportant little gathering, and not representative of anything larger.

H2O Man

(74,284 posts)
52. Thanks!
Thu Jul 30, 2015, 12:28 PM
Jul 2015

For whatever reason(s), I tend to have fewer people here attack me "face-to-face" as most of my friends have. I suspect it's because I'm so grumpy and mean, that I'm a less inviting target.

Latest Discussions»General Discussion»Down at the Spring