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Death of a nation

By DOUG THOMPSON
January 8, 2011

Vera Rapcsak, left, 20, and Lilly Wool, 19, both from Tucson, hold candles outside the office of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011, in Tucson, Ariz., as Giffords was shot in the head Saturday by a gunman who opened fire outside a grocery store during a meeting with voters, killing a federal judge and five others in a rampage. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Michael Chow)

The tragic shootings in Arizona that left six people — including a child and a federal judge — dead and Congresswoman Gabriellle Giffords fighting for her life highlights on one one hand just how violence-pr0ne political debate and rhetoric has become in our nation.

On the other, it showcases the fine line between passion and violence.

Political debate is no longer just that — debate. Debate has been replaced by shouting matches, punctuated by threats. Opponents become “targets.” Those whose disagree with us must “be taken out.” You no longer talk of defeating an opponent. You destroy them. You “kill” their careers.

Arizone sheriff Clarene Dupnik pointed to his own state as an example of what has happened to the American political system.

Saturday’s violence, he said, took the lives of several of his friends, including U.S.District Judge John Roll, who stopped off at Mass on Saturday morning before stopping off to see Congressman Gabriellle Giffords.  He went down in a rain of gunshire that left five others, including a nine-yea-old girl, dead and Giffords suffering from a life-threatening bullet in her brain.

“When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to he vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government,” Dupnik said. “The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that does on in this country is getting to be outrageous.  And unfortunately, Arizona I think, has become the capital.  We have become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry.”

On Saturday, that prejudice and bigotry erputed from a gun and ripped trough the flesh of a nine-year-old boy, the chest of a federal judge and the brain of a Congresswoman.

But it did more than that. It tore through the fabric of a nation, a  country where civility has become a stranger, where reason has taken a leave of absence and where violence has become the quick means to an end.

The six people who died at the hands of a madman Saturday may turn out to be more than just victims of yet another senseless crime. They may well become martyrs to the death of a once-civilized nation.

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54 Responses to Death of a nation

  1. b mcclellan

    January 9, 2011 at 12:58 am

    Keep your Martyrs to yourself.
    Wait til dark has it’s advantages.
    Innocent participation minus the truth is the toll.

    One more homeland reference, vacate that trailer.

    Kids, we are on our own..

  2. griff

    January 9, 2011 at 9:46 am

    I wouldn’t say we were ever a “civilized” nation, although we like to think we are. We slaughter innocent people every day all over the world in order to bring the wondrous gift of our “civilized” democracy to our barbaric beneficiaries.

    We betrayed and slaughtered native Americans almost to extinction, just for one example. We condone the torture of children under the guise of defending our “civilized” democracy, this way of “life.”

    We live for violence.

    This of course is an unfortunate incident. But to blame it on the nature of political debate in this country is wrong. Political debate has always been adversarial by nature, dating back to the ancient fledgeling democracies. Murder has always been a part of it, and presumably always will be.

    There was no Hannity or Olbermann when Caesar was knifed to death. No television or radio.

    The stark truth about this is that countless murders happen every day in this country for thousands of reasons. There will always be those in society that can’t handle the reality of their lives, whether it be an adulterous spouse, a friend’s betrayal, or in this case, political debate.

    There will always be an unhinged, and thankfully extreme minority, of people in any society that will turn to violence as a way to express their grievances. There is a fine line between passion and violence, and some people find that line to be blurred or even non-existent.

    A friend of mine killed himself last week. The fourth person I know in the last two years to commit suicide. Every one seeks answers to why some one would do some thing so permanent, irreversible. Every one seeks an explanation. Answers. We want answers. Some one or some thing to blame. The sad truth is that you can never know what makes one man strive to persevere and another man give up all hope.

    It’s the nature of things. There is no answer. No solution. No one or no thing to blame but the fallibility of human nature, and human weakness.

  3. bmclellan

    January 9, 2011 at 10:08 am

    My condolences Griff.

  4. Sandune

    January 9, 2011 at 11:22 am

    We are a violent nation. But must we continue this dreadful label? We cannot legislate against hatred or threats of violence but we can look into ourselves to be responsible for yelling “fire” in a crowded room.

    I am guilty of blaming President Bush 43 for knowing enough about 911 to have stopped it. I had read 6 books on the subject and felt I knew more than many others. That has been my problem all my life. My law of averages on this much reading has shown me to research the hell out of many actions from the white house that were unexplainable. From that 911 date, I gave up my Hospice work and lost respect for the White House. The problem is the voters not being aware of who they are voting for.

    So America will end up demanding federal laws to protect us from ourselves. Griff, I believe in the survival of the fittest and have known many suicides that left us by their own hands. A number of these people could not take the attitudes of others. We must look to ourselves and our loved ones to understand the glory of life. We must also respect the desire to end it when the pain of living becomes the focus.

    Do we want the government to stop the rhetoric of Rush, Sarah and those other windbags who have never been able to come up with a winning candidate themselves or a winning agenda for the GOP.

    We can control our children and grandchildren by teaching right from wrong and self respect. We must show respect for all others……

  5. Almandine

    January 9, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    Melodrama… languaging the theatre of life. Psychosis… energizing the actor of death.

  6. Carl Nemo

    January 9, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    “When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to he vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government,” Dupnik said. “The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that does on in this country is getting to be outrageous. …extract from article per Sheriff Clarene Dupnik

    Although not an excuse for said violence, it seems that the good sheriff et al. in a position of authority fail to realize our government is broken from the local to national level.

    Instead of issues being addressed in an intelligent, citizen friendly manner via constructive discourse and legislation we have a continual stream of corporatist sponsored nightmares being shoved down our collective throats regardless of the opposition to such legislation and the negative impact on our society. We the People do talk to our reps, but they invariably fail to listen.
    They are obsessed with shoving unfettered globalism down our collective throats; consequences be damned.

    Our Federal government has failed us on controlling immigration, securing our borders, maintaining a functional manufacturing base which is key to a nation’s prosperity and the provision for jobs so famlies can make ends meet without being on the public dole. Long term unemployment is surely one of the factors for dissension among the people.

    We have a government that seems to exalt violence in far off places such as Iraq, Afghanistan and possibly Pakistan in time all for pipeline easements along with the endless purchase of evermore expensive ‘killtoys’ from the MIC.

    Our nation has been abandoned by the leadership at all levels. The entrenched one’s whether pols, bureaucrats or public servants have their fatcat checks, medical percs and pensions nailed down while those dependant on the private sector are foundering. Our leaders and public servants are only driven by self-interest, their mantra….”I’ve got mine…screw you!” The citizens who support them have become the ‘enemy’. / : |

    Things are not well in Gotham City for sure. This current violent episode is just a preview of coming attractions for when there’s no longer a check in the mail or is severely cut for SS recipients, Medicare, Medicaid, and for when emerging Obamacare turns out to be an expensive bust providing minimally effective medical care. Even government pensions from local to the federal level face being cut back bigtime to make ends meet.

    People seem to forget there’s only a thin veneer of civilization that keeps a society from reverting to anarchy and the associated “blood in the streets”.

    *****

    “A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves”…Edward R. Murrow

    *****

    Carl Nemo **==

  7. Fivebyfives

    January 9, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    “Things are not well in Gotham City for sure. This current violent episode is just a preview of coming attractions for when there’s no longer a check in the mail or is severely cut for SS recipients, Medicare, Medicaid, and for when emerging Obamacare turns out to be an expensive bust providing minimally effective medical care. Even government pensions from local to the federal level face being cut back bigtime to make ends meet.”

    This from Carl Nemo is what should be drawn from this incident more than anything else. We can argue the tone of political discourse, gun availability, and the rest forever. But that is not what literally frightens me. It’s what Carl wrote above. What Tucson experienced was a small flash of anarchy. That is when Yeats’ center will not hold. The imbalance of our society will become more pronounced as time goes on, and the most our ‘representatives” will do is further insulate themselves from the rabble. My God, some congressional folks have been complaining about the smell of tourists flocking into the Capital building during the summer.

    A government responsive to its citizens provides stability. The definition of citizen, in Washington at least, is confined to those with briefcases waiting outside the doors of those “serving” in congress.

    The choices we are supposed to have in our form of government appear elusive simply because they no longer exist. What affects the majority of our population is determined by a select few for a select few. It frightens me because there is an alternative; one that is suppressed at every turn.

    We do not have a government of wolves, but one of weasels. And my apologies to the weasels.

  8. Sandune

    January 9, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    But 5, we elected those weasels! Trying to educate the people surrounding all of us is impossible so we will have to allow the government to choose their own. Even here when we try to opine our own agendas, we are taken apart by others.

    Why can’t voters research their own candidates and hold them to their stated agenda? My Congressman is of the religious right and believes he is representing all of us in this district.

    Prior to the 2008 election, the GOP had no candidate that spoke for the majority in the Republican Party. The Tea Party saw the void and brought in their own candidates. I have to admit they did better than the Goldwater movement in ’64. I’ve spent 60 years in this game and have few wins.

    Several years ago I suggested a team form here to locate and research the candidates of our choice. I was criticized for this and took a break from CHB.

    I think the citizens are responsible to provide stability in the government. It must be my age group…..

    Sandy

    • griff

      January 9, 2011 at 10:07 pm

      Campaign for Liberty

      The last I knew, we were 600,000 strong.

      Take a look around Sandy. Read some of the columns and other sections of the site.

      Mission Statement:

      Our mission is to promote and defend the great American principles of individual liberty, constitutional government, sound money, free markets, and a noninterventionist foreign policy, by means of educational and political activity.

      Statement of Principles:

      Americans inherit from our ancestors a glorious tradition of freedom and resistance to oppression. Our country has long been admired by the rest of the world for her great example of liberty and prosperity—a light shining in the darkness of tyranny.

      But many Americans today are frustrated. The political choices they are offered give them no real choice at all. For all their talk of “change,” neither major political party as presently constituted challenges the status quo in any serious way. Neither treats the Constitution with anything but contempt. Neither offers any kind of change in monetary policy. Neither wants to make the reductions in government that our crushing debt burden demands. Neither talks about bringing American troops home not just from Iraq but from around the world. Our country is going bankrupt, and none of these sensible proposals are even on the table.

      This destructive bipartisan consensus has suffocated American political life for many years. Anyone who tries to ask fundamental questions instead of cosmetic ones is ridiculed or ignored.

      That is why the Campaign for Liberty was established: to highlight the neglected but common-sense principles we champion and reinsert them into the American political conversation.

      I don’t believe I could post the entire statement of principles, but you can read the rest by clicking the “about” link on the navbar.

  9. Carl Nemo

    January 9, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    The only way we have any chance of prevailing is to flush the very concept of Republicans and Democrats from our collective psyche’s. They need to become nulls; with people voting for anyone other than those of the aforementioned stripe. They’re totally compromised by corporate interests via their operatives known as lobbyists.

    We need to forget about what happened post WWII to present and start anew. Even if we take a new tack relative to party represenatation, affiliation etc. we must be ever vigilant for that is truly the price of freedom. Freedom is not free…!

    I truly believe none of them should get a second term if not by statute then to become so by a newly entrenched national voting tradition for making it so.

    *****

    “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” … Edmund Burke

    *****

    “I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.” …Thomas Jefferson

    *****

    Carl Nemo **==

  10. Sandune

    January 10, 2011 at 9:38 am

    Griff, I’ve been a member of the Campaign for Liberty and a follower of the Mises Institute for years. They claim to be for individual liberties but tend to overlook women’s choices and the gay community. I have met and read Lew Rockwell with great respect. I was shocked at the 2004 Libertarian Convention where the candidates all had records for breaking many state laws. They show little respect for the Federal Government and came off as less than committed for change.

    They may have started out as a grass roots group but have made no attempt to work with either party for change.

    I’m tired of the whining from people who claim to want change. Our current President ran on change and then faded from his agenda.

    A new start based on individual freedoms needs soul searching. It cannot come from the federal government which would be delighted to tell us what to do, think, eat, drink and write. The American voters are like a tsunami that reacts to earthquakes. They gang up against one party or another and never learn how to survive under decent leadership.

    I agree with Carl’s statement above. Only we can change what we find offensive and work to build those values we respect. I sometimes wonder if Americans would take on their own individual states and give up on the Constitution. The document is not understood by most voters who seem to want the government to tend to them from the crib to the grave. It gives the government the right to change the American people. I understand the tea party but its affiliation with the religious right offends me.

    The first action must be to educate our school kids to be individually trained to take care of themselves. Those who cannot stand on their own were taken in by the churches. Now the churches look to legislation to make us all worship as one. There is little more I can do to sell individual liberties when Americans do not want the responsibility.

    I’ve been talking libertarian concepts since my husband and I met with Harry Browne after the Goldwater loss and he formed what was to become the LP. Our first attempt was to repeal the 16th Amendment. We got few people interested as it would mean exchanging the IRS system for another way to pay the bills. The Liberty Amendment has been tried several times and failed. Not knowing your age or involvement in politics it is hard for me to start over with my work for American Liberties.
    Sandy

  11. Stratocaster

    January 10, 2011 at 9:56 am

    Somthing that never existed can not die. It is only the dream of a nation that keeps us going.

  12. bogofree

    January 10, 2011 at 10:06 am

    Well too many seem to consider an isolated incident by a whack job as the end of civilization – if we even have a civilization. Those with even a rudimentary knowledge of history – and just limit it to American history – will note that every once in awhile someone surfaces to do something just like this to varying degrees. What was the last one? The Cessna into an IRS building?

  13. senegoid

    January 11, 2011 at 7:07 am

    “The most notable assassination victim in early U.S. history was President Abraham Lincoln in 1865. President Lincoln lived only a few hours after being hit in the head by a single .44-caliber handgun round fired by John Wilkes Booth.[40] Presidents James Garfield and William McKinley were both assassinated with handguns; President Garfield was killed by an assailant using a .44-caliber handgun; President McKinley was killed by two rounds fired from a .32-caliber revolver.[40] President John F. Kennedy was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald who used a bolt-action Carcano M1891/38 rifle in 6.5 x 52 mm. Presidents Andrew Jackson and Harry S. Truman were uninjured during assassination attempts, as was President Gerald Ford in two separate attempts only a few weeks apart.[41][42][43] President Ronald Reagan survived an assassination attempt after being shot by John Hinckley, Jr. with a Röhm RG-14 .22-caliber revolver, and is the only sitting President to survive a gunshot wound.[44] Former President Theodore Roosevelt was shot and wounded during the 1912 presidential campaign.[45] On February 15, 1933, Giuseppe Zangara attempted to assassinate Franklin Delano Roosevelt while the then President-elect was giving a speech in Miami, Florida.[46]” – Wiki.

    This recent event seems somewhat “normal”, does it not?

  14. Warren

    January 11, 2011 at 11:41 am

    This thing is getting WAY over-analyzed. One serious nut-case with a gun went postal. The pundits will now take the actions of one nut case and try to extrapolate that to all of America.

    If there’s anything to be amazed at, it’s the general civility in our society, to the point that the actions of one nut case engender such outcry. What happened in Tucson was extremely rare. Three hundred million people. That it doesn’t happen more often is a compliment to our overall civility.

  15. Stratocaster

    January 11, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    It’s not called The American Dream for nothing. Keep on dreaming.

    • griff

      January 11, 2011 at 11:10 pm

      As Carlin once said of the American Dream, “You have to be asleep to believe it.”

      Touche’ George. RIP.

  16. woody188

    January 11, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    Instead of asking the sheriff his philosophy on American violence they should be asking him why his security was so lax. They should ask him how a boy with little to no experience in firearms was able to shoot so many people so accurately. They should ask the boys parents if they had any idea their son was going off the deep end. Where are the real reporters?

  17. griff

    January 11, 2011 at 7:10 pm

  18. Carl Nemo

    January 11, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    The link provides a stunning, spot-on indictment against “bleeding heart” hypocrites we find in government. They’ll use any instance such as this to enlist empathy/sympathy from beaten down people; ie., “We the People”.

    They’ve engaged us in phony engineered wars looking for nonexistent WMD’s in far off places along with terrorists that had nothing to do with 9/11; now ten years and still in progress with no sign of abatement. It was recently disclosed that the Saudi regime is the world’s greatest financier for terrorists worldwide and the fact that 18 of the 9/11 hijackers were of Saudi origin. Of course they are like family to the Bushistas…say what?!

    I understand the President is going to show up in Tucson for services etc. To me he’s out of line in that these people are hurting badly and to have the grand distraction of a President and his entourage disrupting air traffic, street traffic and the heightened level of security is over the top. Truly a grand show all for political gain. I’m presuming he’ll be wearing robes along with his ‘papal mitre’ too.

    Hopefully others will read your supplied link material. It seems we live in times that nothing is too outrageous for us to endure from the streets of Tucson to the White House. The center cannot hold.

    My personal condolences go out to the victims’ families. : |

    Carl Nemo **==

  19. eve

    January 11, 2011 at 10:55 pm

    I’ve heard it mentioned the shooter’s mother and the congresswoman knew each other, attended the same church or synagogue or something?

    Is this true? If it is true, why has it not been mentioned in the media?

    Lastly, those who are anti-gun and for the disarming of American citizens will use any and every excuse they can to forward their agenda.

    And lastly (as most always) Carl Nemo is calling it like it is.

    Washington DC could fix this financial mess in a week if they wanted to.
    They could end the wars and have troops home in a month if they wanted to.
    They could end free trade and bring manufacturing back to the US if they wanted to.

    Isn’t this what a government who represents it’s populace does?
    Represents the populace? Yet, they have done nothing of the sort while playing the charade of two different political parties.

    American’s have gotten the government they deserve. I suppose the few of you who read this blog will read these words.

    Millions of others are watching ESPN right now and continuing to get their opinions from the MSM because it’s easier than thinking for themselves.
    Sigh.

  20. bogofree

    January 12, 2011 at 9:39 am

    The ultimate knee jerk reaction has taken place in putting constraints upon the Westboro Baptist Church from “demonstrating” at the funerals. So much for the right to assemble.

    • Almandine

      January 16, 2011 at 1:34 pm

      One might legitimately say it’s because they disturb the peace.

  21. Stratocaster

    January 13, 2011 at 9:21 am

    I actually have to go to court tomorrpw because my landlady doesn’t like the way I keep house. I can’t believe I’m being put on trial for .bad house keeping. So there goes my protection from unwarented seach and my constitutional right to peace and privacy. Well, at least we can all sleep well knowing that we are being protected from dust bunnies.

    • Carl Nemo

      January 13, 2011 at 1:53 pm

      Hi Stratocaster,

      I live in SW Washington. We have laws that protect renters from such harassment. They also publish a renters handbook/guide so folks can know their rights.

      Landlords can inspect the premises, but must do so on announced basis giving the renter x number of days/week/s notice to do so. If you change your place of residence post this debacle then make sure under renting conditions you specify in your rental agreement as to what’s acceptable to you and read the fine print on the rental agreement too. If you don’t like the terms, then don’t rent from that party.

      In the event you do have laws protecting you and your landlord/lady has violated the terms, then I suggest suing her in court for such in order to get her trued up to the realities as to the landlord’s responsibilities to the renter.

      Sorry to hear you are in court for such, so do your research concerning my recommendations. If she’s violated the terms of the agreement for which you should have copy for your court appearance along with any renters guide or laws you can find on the web for your jurisdiction; then present them to the judge. If she’s screwed up, then he or she will throw the case out.

      Good Luck!

      Carl Nemo **==

  22. Almandine

    January 16, 2011 at 12:15 am

    At what point can we open the dialogue on recapturing America for the people?

    • logtroll

      January 16, 2011 at 10:20 am

      Al,

      That dialogue has been started many times but is always dragged off into the weeds by the pernicious helpless victim mentality that currently underwrites our culture.

      The beginning point is to realize that “they” are not doing this to “us”. “We” are fat, lazy slobs who want to be taken care of but reserve the right to bitch about anything and everything, justifying it all by believeing that we are victims of Big Gummit and Corporations, too helpless to regain control (if “we” ever had control). It brings to mind the movie “Wall-E, or more darkly “The Matrix”.

      We need to start doing for ourselves more, and having “less” (sometimes less is more). I see a catastrophe coming, as most of you seem to see as well, and we WILL do for ourselves, or die. Espousing the bunker mentality (as the proper response to catastrophe) is more evidence of the cultural inability to personally engage in creative positive action today.

      The choice that we have now, and always have every minute, is to consciously change proactively and rationally, or willingly suffer as victims of our own lazy apathy.

      I recently tried to give some examples of local action and was disparaged by another CHB poster as “stroking my own ego”. This is the sort of knee-jerk psychological resistance to taking responsibility that makes my point. The respondent didn’t ask, “How are you accomplishing those good things in your community? I’d like to do the same.” No, he needed to deny that anything good is possible because to acknowledge anything positive would be threatening to his victim self-image and excuse to do nothing but bitch.

      Hey, bitching can be fun, but like alcoholism, it can ruin your life; and the lives of those around you. Try volunteering in your community. I know it’s a terribly Socialist and anti-Capitalist thing to do, but it might just open some doors to a brighter view of the future.

      • Almandine

        January 16, 2011 at 1:27 pm

        Getting actively involved is, I agree, the only real way forward to changing the status quo. But, it’s such a bother, you know? Look at most of the TParty folk, a bunch of old guys and gals getting out, taking the bull by the horns, becoming politically active for probably the first time in their lives, and – except for the few reps they got voted in – receiving very little but a load of crap from their “opposition” – not to mention those of limited like-mindedness. No groundswell of admiration from the general citizenry as to their actions in the name of personal civic responsibility, just another opportunity to razz and call them ugly names. So if bitching is not tantamount to taking action, we’ll just have to invoke the old adage, “if you can’t stand the heat…”

        • logtroll

          January 16, 2011 at 7:15 pm

          I wasn’t speaking primarily of political activism and, yes, it is time consuming. But it’s a healthier way to have time consumed than nuthin’ but worra, worra, worra.

      • griff

        January 16, 2011 at 8:55 pm

        Blah blah blah. What the hell do you know about any thing I do?

        You don’t. You make assumptions.

        Maybe I do volunteer in my community. Maybe I do take responsibility for myself and my family. Maybe I do practice what I preach. And maybe, just maybe, I don’t feel the need to advertise how wonderfully active and civic-minded I am, nor do I feel the need to put others down by assuming that all they’re doing is being whiny victims.

        Ha. I worship you logtroll. Please teach me the errors of my way. You’re a god amonst men here. Forgive my ignorant ways. I bow in supplication to your omnipotence.

        • logtroll

          January 16, 2011 at 9:07 pm

          Crikey, Dude!

  23. bogofree

    January 16, 2011 at 11:27 am

    Logtroll has an interesting point about being local as all politics are local according to the late Tip so can much activism and by activism I don’t mean just politics.

    I am not politically active in the town I live in. Not a bit. I follow the doings but do do participate. But what my wife and I have done in the past is run our scout troop, have a 4H Club, I coached baseball for 25 years, active in several civic organizations and on and on. Doesn’t take much to help out locally with service time or a checkbook.

    Before I retired I was a teacher in a program for severe at risk students. I was often asked for how one can measure success in education? To me it went beyond testing. Just look up the students of a graduating class in say twenty-five years and find if they have a job, are in a positive relationship, give back to the community and are not court involved. Real basics.

    • logtroll

      January 16, 2011 at 11:47 am

      Skol, Bogofree!
      That’s what I’m talkin’ about!

  24. Sandune

    January 16, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    Log and Bogo, there are not enough of us to even try to influence the voters on how to vote for the best candidates for our values. Sometime in 1999, when Governor Bush of Texas put forth his agenda for the White House, I went into a flat spin. I had been a member and supporter of the Separation of Church and State and when I read that the Bush Administration wanted the federal government to issue grant money to the churches and he sent his attorneys out to find out how to keep their 501(c)(3)active. This was the final straw of the loss of freedoms once the churches were activated politically. I was not the only one who panicked as “Takeover” by Charlie Savage wrote about this abuse to the first Amendment but could get no interest in the Congress. Most of us who worked on the 64 campaign realized that Christians had little interest in politics and we backed away from involving them locally or federally. Christians are missionaries and the federal government is the makings of killer crusades. When Bush 43 won the election, I knew it would be a matter of time before we went after Islam. I even wrote that it would be less than 25 years before we would turn Israel into our enemy. That is the mindset of these Evangelicals; and I had my life threatened for exposing them.

    Americans are nothing but audience waiting to be entertained. The frustration of seeing our freedoms sucked from us as individuals has riled up our emotions but not enough to work together to fix it. Our two political parties are bought and paid for by big money and we have to pick up the tab.

    About every 3 years I unplug my internet and turn off the news channels and go back on tranquilizers hoping others will soon see the wisdom of my words.

    We are under the thumb of big daddy and no way in hell can we stand alone. I’m getting bored with the same old—same old whining and complaining and my doctor tried to talk me into heading back to the hospital due to my high blood pressure. She doubled my meds just so I could get out of Arizona.

    What if we had the big one hit somewhere in America. Could we survive? Should we survive?

    Sandy

    • bogofree

      January 16, 2011 at 8:46 pm

      Not enough of us? Just look at the TP! Many political and social movements started small.

      But my post was not about politics. Nothing about it. I spoke of activism on the local level. That’s where most of it takes place and in this case it was not political activism.

  25. Sandune

    January 17, 2011 at 11:10 am

    Bogo, I’ve lived 70 years of my life on the San Andreas Fault. Our survival skills would often ooze into politics when the economy would go down. Many have seen the federal dams and even freeways collapse after a big jolt and after we (RedCross) pick up the pieces we try to determine if changes in these structures could have saved lives. Several days after 911, the same survival skills brought many of us together to check out the structures of the twin towers….it is a natural assumption that men can do better in the construction of our buildings and highways.

    I will never side with the Tea Party as they are based only on the power of prayer and God. Show me constructive ideas from this group. There are 40 million non-believers in America and 35 million Homosexuals. In this time in America, it will take more than a few Tea Party voters to capture the majority of voters. We need a powerfully strong all inclusive group with an agenda that includes all of us. We must do more than talk about a smaller government and instead, live as if we already have one.

    Bobo, every human association for action will come down to politics. Every not for profit group needs a special tax classification to exist. Katrina showed us that too many believed that God did this due to the gay activities in New Orleans.

    For President Bush 43 to win, he had to sell faith based grants and no same sex marriages to the religious right. He knew it would put him in office. Appointments to the Supreme Court will require strong religious men and women who will promise to overturn Roe vs Wade. It will extend into the elimination of Islam and then Israel.

    Sandy

    • Almandine

      January 17, 2011 at 11:42 am

      “I will never side with the Tea Party as they are based only on the power of prayer and God… There are 40 million non-believers in America and 35 million Homosexuals… We need a powerfully strong all inclusive group with an agenda that includes all of us…”

      For the life of me, I can’t understand the juxtaposition of your thoughts. YOU are unwilling to embrace anyone with any turn toward religion, which must be at least 85% of the population using your numbers, and yet you call for powerfully strong unity working together for all. Seems to me that you can’t walk your talk.

      • griff

        January 17, 2011 at 1:08 pm

        Collectivism wrapped in faux libertartian rhetoric.

  26. bogofree

    January 17, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    Sandune

    All I wrote was the TP as an example of a successful grass roots movement. If you wish to partake or not is your choice. But it reflects directly upon your previous post regarding the ability to influence. They have made a difference and my argument was not one of if it is the greatest or the worse thing to befall us. And, no, not every action comes down to politics and in my experience in actuality most does not. The difference you make starts locally.

    I am an atheist but one I consider with manners, respect and common sense. I could care less about a public display of prayer as it is ingrained in our culture. I show my respect by silence and not turning my back or tossing a public hissy fit. I’ll save my tantrums for more important issues.

    To some religion is important and it provides a certain degree of stability and comfort – especially in times of personal or collective crisis – that I am not privy to simple because I am a non believer. I am exceedingly jealous of that ability to have faith.

    I also realize that much of this nation was founded on Christian principles and they have done a fairly decent job through the years. Yes, I can site a litany of failures that have marked history but overall I can think of some that have done significant worse. I really do not care to participate in “One Nation Turned Away From God.”

    Now when I am invited into a house and they say Grace what I do is participate and will even give a non religious version of it. Not hard to do. If a town puts up a creche display I could care less since it is important to virtually all of them and to a few of us. Somehow that simple display will not magnify into some type of Christian version of an Islamic regime bent on allegiance to a God. So I do not see some type of monolithic Christian conspiracy designed to remove my rights to practice my religion which is no religion. In fact all the Christians I know feel just the opposite.

    I don’t really care for a prayer in school and as a child refused to participate but now that moment of silence is a good idea.

    I have a few Born Agains who “pray for me” and that is good since it provides them with a purpose and me a potential insurance policy.

    The bible has some fairly interesting tales in it. Some of those stories are spot on and can be a lesson for us all and they don’t have to be framed in religious terms.

    I’m all for churches as even with some of their pomp and circumstances they do a fine job in the community I live in. Heck – I volunteer in a soup kitchen operated by a local church. Some have adopted families. Some provide clothing, shelter and heat assistance. For every member of the clergy that attempts to frolic with young ladies and diddle with young boys there are many, many more who don’t.

    For several years I taught Sunday School. Amazing until I mention it was at a UU church…and, no, I was not a member.

    What frustrates me is those atheist who deliberately look for issues when none or hardly any exist. They give the rest of us a bad name. If they wish to toss condoms at priests and stand and shout during a prayer service just don’t do it in my presence.

    So I am one atheist who chooses not to CONSTANTLY put my verbal dagger into organized religion. I am watchful and I am diligent but I try not to be obnoxious and overbearing.

    • Almandine

      January 17, 2011 at 4:44 pm

      And a hats off to you, my friend… not that I’m particularly religious either, but agree with the potential insurance policy. I also agree that while some of the born agains, and many of the staunch evangelicals, may rile against us sinners vociferously, most Christians [in my experience] practice tolerance and support of their fellow man. Many a food kitchen and free winter coat have been made possible by their generosity.

      Shudder, were we to fall prey to Stalin, Lenin, Pol Pot, Mao, Baby Doc Duvalier, and Castro, just to name a few “non-believers” who said they were working in the name of their countrymen. Think, too, of the probable status of our own country had we been “sheltered” thusly.

  27. Sandune

    January 17, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    Bogo, I kept my mouth and hands shut and quiet until 1999 when I looked at the agenda of the Bush Administrations plans for a list of Prohibitions that were to be acted on in the name of God. My aim is not to close a single church but to have a government where every Citizen is equal. I used to look the other way when I heard stories of Priests having their way with young boys and girls. The going concept was that all of us are sinners and all we have to do is beg Jesus to forgive us and all is well and good. This is not the way my kids were raised. They were not born in sin and it was up to me to teach them right from wrong.

    I was able to leave well enough alone until I saw the results of what this faith can do to individual children. I am a Hospice worker and many of my patients have no belief in anything and even post on their papers to be left alone to die without guilt. I have 26 years of disaster training in the Red Cross where I see parents fall on their knees in prayer while high tide takes their kids out to sea. Now we have to put up with Candidates who want to incorporate the Ten Commandments into the Bill of Rights!

    I only become obnoxious when these holy people want to change our Constitution claiming that America is and always will be a Christian nation. It is not and never was planned this way. I do not search out issues but I will not let fools like Michelle Bachman, Sarah Palin and that idiot from Nevada who wants everyone to exchange money for chickens. Those are the leaders for the Tea Party and should be exposed for their unAmerican agenda.

    It would not be difficult for any political movement to redo the U.S. Constitution around Jesus Christ. It is a powerful movement that will take over the government just as it has done all over Europe. I will go down fighting against this horrible plan but I will not ignore the danger of hell and damnation to be taught to our children.

    I have been thrown out of CHB more than once for my stand against the Church involvement in our government. My problem is that I have read the history of Christian involvement in Europe and cannot help but want no Inquisition action anywhere near America. I would like you to search out meetings of Fundamentalist Evangelicals and listen to their threats of hell for all humans. I see your opinions of Atheists are crude, rude and out of place. It might not hurt you to attend a Secular Humanist convention and meet up with the many Atheists who are actively growing all over America. We don’t throw condoms and we don’t shoot abortion doctors. We don’t last long on these forums as the whole concept of free speech does not include non-believers.

  28. Almandine

    January 17, 2011 at 5:23 pm

  29. bogofree

    January 17, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    Sandune

    Please note that I am not singling out all Atheist but a select few that have levels that approach toxic. I thought that was clear. My bad. I’ve met some and they should be cut from the herd. I do not consider that rude, crude or out of place but just an observation based on my own experience – after all I am also a bit long in the tooth.Thankfully that number is quite small and anyone with something above the I.Q. of a house plant can spot them. Every group has those somewhere in the woodwork.

    I have managed to attend a few functions where the “Secular” crowd congregated. I was met with a bit of proselytizing that would make any born again proud. However I found most to be rather well mannered and rather quiet group more interested in mundane repartee over a rather nice smorgasbord of eclectic topics. Unfortunately – as all too often happens – the more vocal seemed to get excessive attention. I guess bluster generally does win out.

    Personally I welcome various sorties by religious groups into the political arena since they are both part of the problems and solutions. I also do not have the same level of negativity that you have expressed over the possibility of some type of religious Elmer Gantry type taking control of my every breath – I’ll leave that for the various SIFi writers to ponder. I do not fear Binny Hinn although he does wear a spiffy outfit.

    I happen to have some TP members that are close friends – I just love that some of my (fill in blank) are friends. But they are. The few I know would best be classified as Regan Democrats or your plain run of the mill fiscal conservatives fed up with both parties. I’m sure the TP has also attracted a certain amount of those who find it nice to gain some type of legitimacy by latching onto a burgeoning movement and I am sure some of those need to be cut from the TP herd. But, again, the members I know all happen to worship God in a citadel of their choosing and none have spoken to me about how they intend to have some type of religious revival designed to supplant or modify our Constitution. Maybe this is something I have been excluded from? I will be watchful. I will look for pods under my bed – especially those with bibles attached.

    Somehow I can’t imagine this forum being restrictive to an Atheist. I would suspect your banishment were for high crimes that went beyond your religious or lack of views. I have expressed my Atheism many times with nary a response. Maybe Doug will become aware of this and excommunicate me so I can spend my time exclusively on sports boards.

  30. Sandune

    January 17, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    Bogo and Almandine. I cannot talk history of the horrors of Christians in the Governments of Europe unless you care to read of the atrocities. I’m not even certain either one of you want individual freedoms as part of our Bill of Rights.

    I am talking about the great secular humanists like Carl Sagan and Gene Roddenberry, or writers like Hitchenson, Dawkins and so many others who gave up superstition and the supernatural for common, rational sense. I have made a habit of reading the platforms of both parties during their campaigns. I spend many hours a day in the Thomas Library. I read nonstop on the subject of American Values. It might be that my values that are concentrated on t he individual freedoms are not shared by either of you. Were either of you around here when Doug worked on the Campaign for America? I certainly was and saw it fall flat on its arse for lack of interest. I cant read for any of you and my opinions are considered stupid. sobeit. You want this discussion on a first grade level, then I will push on.

    Sandy

    • Carl Nemo

      January 17, 2011 at 10:28 pm

      Ms. Price,

      I’ve intervened in the past concerning your ‘opinions’. I make it a point to read everything you write, but generally defer making a comment.

      You seem disconnected and all over the map at times. When fellow members try to discuss anything especially when in opposition you immediately go into a defensive mode where you “accuse” them of conspiring against you which is not the case at all.

      ***

      “I cant read for any of you and my opinions are considered stupid. sobeit. You want this discussion on a first grade level, then I will push on. ”

      “Individual freedoms? How? Again do you have some type of mind implant on me? I may have to fork out $900 for a CAT scan. But somehow you know – just know how I feel about individual freedoms.” …extracted from two recent posts on this thread.

      ***

      I’m hesitant to reply to most of your material because in short order you personalize the exchange and a skirmish breaks out. We’re just a group of folks who gather at the CHB watering hole to exchange thoughts and opinions concerning the order of the day, nothing more, nothing less. Believe it or not, we are not the enemy, specifically your enemy.

      Also linking Christians and religion in general to all the ills of the Republic is simply disingenuous to say the least. / : |

      *****

      “A great many people mistake opinions for thoughts.” … Herbert Victor Prochnow

      “There is nothing worse than aggressive stupidity” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

      *****

      Carl Nemo **==

  31. Almandine

    January 17, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    Never mind Sandy… I was thinking that a true libertarian with “values that are concentrated on individual freedoms” would not begrudge other folks their beliefs.

    Guess I’m just a foolish jackass.

    Good day.

    • griff

      January 17, 2011 at 10:04 pm

      Ha. Been there, done that. Move along, nothing to see here.

      • Almandine

        January 17, 2011 at 10:05 pm

        Yeah… you posted it above.

        Touche’

        • griff

          January 17, 2011 at 10:40 pm

          From one foolish jackass to another…

  32. bogofree

    January 17, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    Sandune

    I am well aware of the excesses of religions through the centuries and that is undeniable. I believe I have posted as such so I have no idea why it appears to be in a loop with you? I guess it’s that old learn from history mistakes thing?

    Individual values not shared? My goodness I guess while in the library you read the collected wisdom of mind readers with a minor in tarot cards since you have managed to assign to me some type of assessment of my values. What a wonderful and intellectual approach that seems to fly right in the face of any Secular Humanism that I know about. Based on what? The fact that I have expressed my personal beliefs on Atheism? That I don’t see the same boogie men that you do? I guess the only search for truth is what you find and how you interpret it? Reason is defined as what? Your value system and yours exclusively?

    Individual freedoms? How? Again do you have some type of mind implant on me? I may have to fork out $900 for a CAT scan. But somehow you know – just know how I feel about individual freedoms.

    At least I can understand why Doug wielded that internet axe and it was – to quote Long John Silver – “It warn’t about no Atheists stuff my hearty.”

  33. Sandune

    January 19, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    Okay, I get the message loud and clear. Since you cannot possibly see my points of view on religion in our government, I will take a break. I am not a victim but have developed a keen sense of individual freedoms. I know exactly the end game of politicians who use God for their votes. The fact that they step all over most of the minorities is never acceptable.

    Thanks for the back stabbing to get Doug to wield the ax again. What are friends for? I know I am unpopular at CHB as it has been obvious that no one will step out of line to point out the weakness of the membership. Daily I received comments that are incorrect in that I would never want to close a single church. My bag is to keep religious people out of government.

    Almandine, I wanted to send you a private message but you are not listed on Reader Rant. I have read your words and will take them seriously. It is hard for me to stop trying for equality in all Americans.

    Bogo, you do not understand the Christian Crusades and their actions of abuse to those who are not Christians. You probably laugh at the Salem Witch trials when those Pilgrims turned on innocent women to gain power in the community. There is no boogie man in my mind. I have no association with the supernatural but I have read the Executive Orders coming from the White House. What you do not see is the threat coming from the religious right to declare that America is a Christian Nation.

    I face people like you daily. Apparently my value system of each and every one who is an America is treated equally. That is too much to expect. The simple explanation is to separate the church and state. When you act like a spoiled brat who reports others, it say more about than you can see.

    I need to concentrate on getting my stuff shipped to California. I’m heading home where there is a tad better balance of equality among the people.

    • griff

      January 19, 2011 at 7:32 pm

      I think we all get your point of view on religion and government. You only repeat it with every post, no matter what the topic. It’s certainly crystal clear.

      But this site is a political one, not a religious one. There are plenty of those around. Find one, if that’s your bag.

      You obviously have no idea whatsoever how duplicitous your “equality” crap is in the context to most every thing else you say.

      We weaklings will get along just fine without you. Buh-bye.

  34. bogofree

    January 19, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    Sundune

    I guess you are the only one that happens to have an understanding of religious history. If you actually managed to read my original post you would note I recognize that. Here it is again.

    “Yes, I can site a litany of failures that have marked history but overall I can think of some that have done significant worse”

    I am actually amazed that a simple post I had in response to logtroll regarding acting locally somehow got you on this disjointed bully pulpit rant. You dragged a simple topic so far off topic it is laughable but not quite as laughable as your ability to somehow make value judgments on just about everyone who happens not to buy into your “worlds.”

    It seems that most are quite aware of your behaviors and just make a few posts and move on. I do not care to do that since I find your views much like astrology – fun to read but not take seriously.

    As far as Doug is concerned the last I looked this is his site and he may manage it as he pleases. If he decides to wield any axe on you I am 100% positive it is based entirely on your behaviors and not some attempt by him to silence ideas.