Thursday, September 13, 2012

An American Tragedy

The beauty of blogging for me is that I can express myself without entering into the constant political contentions as are exhibited in most news or opinion websites, and certainly on Facebook. I get some modest controversy here, but I edit out offensive comments (see my rules on the comment option below). It's nice to be in control of my own arguments and opinions - and outside comments. Maybe that's a little cowardly of me, but so what. It's my blog and you don't have to read it. I also seriously doubt that anyone has been convinced to change an opinion through a political debate on Facebook - or even this blog.

With regard to a Facebook criticism of Governor Romney for his statements about the recent attacks in Egypt and most tragically in Libya and the resulting comments back and forth, I was tempted to enter in. But I didn't - preferring to address it here in my calmer manner without provoking people I don't even know. For the record, I admit that I generally agree with the sentiments of my actual Facebook friends PB and NB, I just choose to address the issues a little differently. I may fail, as I often do, but the big principles are more important than the details of any particular dispute. My eternal hope being, if we can get the basic principles right, the rest will follow.

The Facebook exchange:
[photo w/verbiage deleted]

What kind of a man reacts like this? Certainly not a man who's thinking about how much he loves his country. He'd rather jump on the "opportunity" to score political points.

Image via
Like ·  · Share · 11 hours ago · 
  • 2 people like this.
  • SHB Only when he deserves to be attacked! Maybe Pres Obama has been so busy bragging about all of the troop withdrawals and the fact that he killed Bin Laden that he didn't have time to notice that America was being attacked all over again on 9/11!!!
    10 hours ago via mobile · Like
  • PB Spankie, change the channel and watch some real news ;)
    9 hours ago · Like
  • NB I'm fairly certain that the President was one of the first people to know about the attacks, and just to be sure, he had a press conference first thing in the morning on 9/12...
    8 hours ago · Like
  • SHB PB...I have tired...I really have....but I just can't take the lack of news, just liberal for me...I'll stick with FOX. Love ya!
  • PB But if you're tired "of lack of news" you watch FOX? LOL, love ya too friend
    8 hours ago · Like
  • KBG I am pretty certian Romney is not privy to the inside infor he comments on.. He is an outsider like we all are.. He should shut up until he is briefed!
  • LG Romney was GRAND in his comments.At least he showed some type of leadership with compassion,unlike Obama who is to busy campaigning.
    4 hours ago · Like
  • LG I also feel that Romney can be to America,what Netanyahu is to Israel.A man who cares for his people and country.
    4 hours ago · Like
  • PB L, Romney shot his mouth off without knowing what the situation was; he's in no way remotely presidential, he attempted to capitalize politically on the deaths of four Americans - he's a schmuck
    3 hours ago · Like
  • NB in the President's press conference, where he responded to the attacks, he spoke of the tragic circumstances that surrounded the death of the Ambassador, and as President of the United States, it is likely that he knew him personally, his speech was all about the ambassador, the Americans who were killed, or wounded. The desire for peace in Libya, and about justice being served! now... I watched the entire speech, not once did I hear the words "Obama for President" nor anything like it. Politically speaking, there was no attempt to gain any political gain from the death of a truly great leader, on the presidents side. the same cannot be said for candidate Romney.
    2 hours ago · Like
  • NB I am concerned that many people who support Mr. Romney, like he, himself, jump to conclusions without knowing all of the facts. for example, he said; “It’s disgraceful that the Obama administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.”... he made this statement after the American Embassy in Cairo issued a statement – BEFORE THE PROTESTS AND ATTACKS HAD BEGUN — condemning the anti-Islam video. (Notice, it says "the American embassy in Cairo", not "the White House). and while the President did publicly condemn the anti-Islam video, he did not sympathize with any of the attackers, he said, "justice will be done."
    2 hours ago · Like
  • LG Is the American Embassy not a representation of the president?I do believe it is.And furthermore,I listened to his heartless speech and found it despicable.
    2 hours ago · Like

The response I typed out on Facebook, then cut and pasted here:
LG- A U.S. Embassy anywhere in the world represents you, me, and all the People of the United States. Both Romney and Obama used this tragedy for political purposes and that is wrong. Romney started and Obama retaliated about "shoot first, aim later." The problem with this whole thing is that once it goes political, everyone falls back on their personal preferences and everything is viewed and interpreted from that perspective. Your use of the words "heartless" and "despicable" in describing the President of the United States tends to confirm this. That's why it's wrong to politicize this when it's a national tragedy and our people were killed. Our solutions lie in unity, not in over-heated rhetoric.
I've typed a lot of these comments and then deleted them, some more intemperate than others. Some, of course, became blog postings.

The best principle of all is that we can have these debates in the United States, even with over-heated rhetoric, without shooting at each other. Only the criminally insane seem to be provoked to violence these days. And there's still too much of that. But now that we've generally left the widespread shooting aside since the Civil War and the lynchings, secret murders, bombings, and riots during the Civil Rights movement, we live in a blessed country - with much room for improvement. Let's keep trying.


  1. A friend makes a good point commenting on my FB link:

    "Not sure about your closing comments. In 2009 there were 11,493 firearm homicides in the U.S., that's a lot of criminal insanity."

    Yes, way too many gun deaths. Look for my posts on the issue by using "guns" in "search this blog" box (lower right)

  2. To the credit of my friend PB, he and NB (yes, they are related) had this additional exchange privately that PB shared with me and I now have his permission to share with you:

    NB: why are you friends with LG and SHB? I mean seriously, they are so far to the right they wouldn't believe the president if he told them they looked nice today... I am not commenting on that embassy thing anymore because they are so blinded by hatred of a democratic president, they aren't even able to see the truth.

    Oh, and I love you! Thanks for being a voice of reason, even if people see that voice as extreme

    PB: SBH and I taught school together at BHS, she's a great friend who stood by me, and Les was a few grades behind me in high school. We can be Friends with people who see things differently, in spite of how others may act

    I love you too my son, I'm proud of you for standing up for what you belief in

    NB: I was just kidding, I am sure that you have good reasons why you're friends with them, but just wow... I have some friends like that too though did you find the president's reaction "despicable?"

    PB: I think you know my answer to Les' comments; he's a bit of a right wing tool, but it makes me laugh to see how uninformed some people are

    NB: yeah... I understand

  3. I see the polarizing of political views, to the point of excluding even the thoughts or voices of each other, extremely unsettling. I am constantly amazed that even when I carefully explain MY thoughts on a situation, I am accused of "spouting propaganda" by someone who disagrees with my thoughts. It sometimes gets to the point where simply stating what someone else says, is seen as suspect.

    I have worked on local and statewide issues, and because of that, I have good friends on both sides of the political spectrum. Often, when I comment on a particular topic, I share my concerns with how the two sides respond to a particular issues, and how those responses concern me. Almost without fail, MY thoughts and concerns are ignored, in favor of accusing me from getting all my information from a biased source, so my thoughts and conclusions are not valid.

    Usually my point IS that neither side thinks about how their actions and rhetoric appear to the other side. Of course, the comments prove my point, but I am not interesting in scoring points, I am interested in both sides listening to each other. I am not interested in bringing the two sides together to both agree that I am biased, although often times that seems to be the only thoughts or critiques being offered. When did simply saying "I don't like what you are saying, so I don't have to trust you or anyone who thinks like you" become a response to a political argument?

    A comment thread on "By Common Consent" was a good case in point. I posted a quote (marked with quotation marks and a link to the place I found it) and shared my concern that as quotes similar to the one I shared, became a mainstream way of thinking that LDS politicians were going to be open to more scrutiny than they have in the past.

    I cited conversations with liberal lawmakers and political operatives, who I know personally, who have shared their excitement that Romney's business practices at Bain, now give them an opening to question other conservative Mormon candidates about their own business practices and beliefs. Before this elections cycle, Mormon candidates had generally been able to count on having the moral high ground, conceided by their opponent and the general public. Unledd there was a particular "bad act" by the candidate themselves, Mormon candidates usually did not have to answer in depth questions on business ethics. The liberals who run Democratic campaigns now see this as something they can back conservative Mormons into a corner on, especially in areas where Mormons are not a natural majority of voters.

    When I express this, on Mormon blogs or in conversations with conservative members of the church, I am told that I am wrong, simply because the source for the information comes from liberals. If I was claiming to know what every Mormon believes, I wouldn't ask people who have never been part of the church. If I am talking about what vegetarians think, a barbecue contest in Texas would not be likely to give me much information that would give me what the vegetarians in Texas think. I might find out what non-vegetarians think of them, but that is not the same thing. So, if anyone wants to understand how Mitt Romney's run for the white house will impact other Mormon candidates, only talking to Romney supporters misses the total impact.

    I think what bothers me most is that even having contacts and friends in conservative and liberal circles is seen as somehow dishonest. In a comment two weeks ago I included a quote from Fox News, NPR, and the BBC. I actually had people say that if you watched Fox, that you would know that NPR and BBC news *always* lie. I also had people respond that even quoting something from Fox have them legitimacy that was not deserved. If we can't listen and read and watch people who don't always agree with us, how do we expect to have constructing relationships with one another?

    1. Thanks, Julia. Interesting insights. I think it would be a breath of fresh air if "moral high ground" wasn't just about s-e-x.

  4. Yes, well my "classical political science training" which included reading political philosophers and actual politicians through a number of time periods, does come out in my writing. Lol. Very often I end up explaining phrases that are used popularly, but not properly. Generally people who are older than me are especially confused by my "old fashioned" ideas about politics. (I just had my 36th birthday.)

    I tangentially touch on this in my newest post in my "Proud to Be an American" series, that went up this afternoon.


Comments are welcome. Feel free to disagree as many do. You can even be passionate (in moderation). Comments that contain offensive language, too many caps, conspiracy theories, gratuitous Mormon bashing, personal attacks on others who comment, or commercial solicitations- I send to spam. This is a troll-free zone. Charity always!