Saturday, September 12, 2009

Being Civil and Decent

Do these people have children? Hopefully, they're sterile. If not, I pity their children.


Dave Wheeler said...


The flip side to this is why did CNN report on Rep Joe Wilson in the middle of this rally? The anchor comments on the crowd before the report so perhaps CNN had an agenda of their own in doing this to cast the protesters in a certain light. What difference does it make that folks chose to voice their opinion on healthcare or any other issue REGARDLESS OF ONE'S POLITICAL PERSUASION? The debate should be on the health care plan that still doesn't exist and the "details" the President said in his speech still need to be worked out.

We as a nation need to stop the labeling of others and ourselves and using those labels to drive our behavior and actions, we need to stop thinking in absolutes as if my way is the only way, and come to the simple realization that people get paid and political power is gained by perpetuating conflict between "us"...the people. If a bad bill gets passed on this or any other issue, who is gonna pay? " We the People", progressive/conservative, rich/poor, young/old, and so on and so on, and so on. That is the common ground we should be able to unite behind.

Judith Ellis said...

Dave – Do you actually hold this reporter responsible for the ignorance, insidiousness, blatant disrespectful and disgraceful tone and signs such as "Bury Obamacare with Kennedy?" Do you think that the reporter's freedom of speech or her job should be restricted? Do you think that she should have reported off site because of the vast ignorance and aggression on display? I’m all for free speech but keep the likes of these away from young people that I love and those whom I taught. What awful examples they are! Would you like for them to have taught your children?

One sign in the hand of a woman with red nails read "Good thing we didn't bring our guns." And you think these people want to talk? It's not about talking; these 30% percent of Americans seem more amenable to a civil war than have legislation passed by this particular president to benefit Americans and better position him for 2012. These are the same hateful people at the McCain/Palin rallies and those who didn’t want President Obama to indoctrinate their children. How utterly sad it is that the whole world is watching.

By the way, the reporter asked those in attendance the question about Wilson after they refused to allow her to answer any question by displaying such ill-manners. It was like, "OK how about this question." Perhaps it will be good for the media not to even show up at all at these events where such ignorance and aggression are on display--fat chance, I know. Spectacles with mass ignorance and the threat of violence will always be covered.

Many of these people idealize President Reagan as a true conservative. He made the famous analogy of the deficit by saying he wouldn't increase the deficit to 1 trillion dollars:

"If you had a stack of thousand-dollar bills in your hand only 4 inches high, you’d be a millionaire. A trillion dollars would be a stack of thousand-dollar bills 67 miles high."

President Reagan then went on to increase the deficit by 3 TRILLION DOLLARS. Do the math, please. I wonder how high that is. Do you think many of the rally goers realize this in all of their vaulted ignorance? Or, is it sheer hypocrisy? I imagine that many simply do not care if the agenda as has been spoken by one of the speaker Jim DeMint Republican of South Carolina noted, to kill health care form

Judith Ellis said...

On Congressman Wilson's website there is this statement that the he is "PASSIONATE ABOUT STOPPING GOVERNMENT RUN HEALTH CARE!" In this case why doesn't he, as Arianna wrote, give up his "top-flight government-run health care he gets as a retired Army National Guard colonel Joe Wilson is raging about government intrusion in health care while he receives."

Is his life more precious than an entrepreneur and his family whose efforts prop up the economy? Many small businesses can't afford health care insurance in a market where insurance companies milk the government system AND charge exorbitant rate.

Human Health Secretary Kathleen Sibelius said yesterday that $1.2 TRILLION dollars has already been returned by insurance companies over the past few months. How much money do you think is going to the "good" Congressman's campaign?

With regards to voicing one's opinion, by all means. They are, however, showing themselves to be the backward ignorant non-enlightened one that should be put on some kind of FBI watch with the hate they have been spewing for months now that is even putting President Obama life at risk. These people do not want to have a debate. I'm not even sure if many of the them can even have a debate or civil discussion. They seem utterly big on hype and thin on issues. Many appear to be ignorant ideologues. This has little to do with health care. I imagine that many of these are on some sort of government health care program.

Your desire for there not to be any labels is good I guess in the sense presented here. But you can probably forget that. To a certain extent labels help to put order to things in a world of clutter. By this I mean, that they are category developers and distinguishers, such as parts of speech: verbs, pronouns, nouns, adjectives, etc. But that does not mean a verb cannot become an adjective. The problem with the rally goers that I have seen on the news is that they only know one part of speech and have no clue that there are various uses and parts of speech. How can they debate an issue logically without knowledge?

The squeakiest wheel gets the oil. Rational people better start making some "noise."

Dsve Wheeler said...

Auntie "J", here's what I think...

I think my views on political speech have been shaped by my time in the military and this dialogue from the movie "The American President". "America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship. You gotta want it bad, 'cause it's gonna put up a fight. It's gonna say "You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours. You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country can't just be a flag; the symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then, you can stand up and sing about the "land of the free"."

I find being disrespectful to a President reprehensible be it in Rep Wilson's outburst or in the case of President Bush being loudly booed during his State of the Union address in 2005. I don't attempt to "excuse" whether the President is in the party I support or boorish behavior is from the same party. I find loud and obnoxious crowds when someone is trying to report yesterday's... as I did with some of them that were protesting the war in Iraq at President Bush's ranch in Crawford Texas or during the vote recounts in 2000 for example. I might not like the behavior, but I damn sure feel proud that all these folks can express their point of view vocally and publicly. If I label one side as ignorant, uneducated whatever when their political persuasion is different and not the other then I am stereotyping, being judgmental and hypocritical.
I will say I am for people exercising their right to free speech and will not put the word "but" behind that statement to qualify or quantify it. And the one thing I think is terrific about you Auntie "J" is if I ever appeared to contradict myself or act differently that you would call me on it. We can say a lot of things but our actions are what matters. Politically, personally, or's not what our mouths say but what our assess do that matter.

"Rational people better start making some "noise."...I agree Auntie "J"...we have some common ground. Let's show them how it's done.

Bob Foster said...

Judith - Here is a sobering thought: Yes, these people do have children, and they are being raised in the households of these same people---households that have long ago replaced, civility and respect for others, with ignorant ideology.

Moreover, these are the children who will become many of tomorrow's leaders.

Judith Ellis said...

Bob - Last Sunday morning I awoke very early and went to my favorite breakfast nook. I wore a baseball cap, a Michigan sweatshirt--GO BLUE-- and yoga pants. I carried a book of poetry by Emily Dickinson and the philosophy of Sartre. This has been my routine twice a month or so.

I take a both in the corner, prop my feet across or on the same side. I have an enjoyable morning seeping coffee, reading and having the best breakfast in the Detroit area. It is a hot spot. But I go real early to beat the crowd.

Last Sunday a family came in and sat opposite of me: A mom, dad, 10-year old son or so and his grandparents. I noticed them because they all had sections of the New York Times.

The kid looked over my way and I smiled. I so appreciated the fact that this was a reading family. It reminded me of my family. I waved and spoke to them and they smile and waved in return. I liked them.

But as I sat there something struck me. I had my feet on the bench. Was this proper, I wondered? The kid looked my way a few times. I removed my feet immediately so as to be the best possible example for this kid. I wanted to re-affirm the positive example that he was obviously receiving at home. I didn't think twice. I just simply removed my feet.

I am ALWAYS thinking about the example that I am setting in various situations and try to judge appropriately. The most alarming thing about these protestors is that could care less about the kind of example they are setting. For example, they could care less that black and white kids see our president as a role model and valued his words.

Instead, they put hateful speech out in the media before even knowing what the President of the United States was going to say. We've entrusted him with the leadership of our country, but not with giving a speech to children at the start of the school year? How twisted and perverted was that?

I saw one woman actually crying on TV saying that Obama is trying to destroy American kids. These protesters were downright disgusting, for they chose politics over essence and hate over love.

Judith Ellis said...

"Moreover, these are the children who will become many of tomorrow's leaders."

Bob - This really hurts. A very respected businessman gave me hope about our youth a few months back as he was speaking at colleges. "He said they get it." I think I need to email him again.

I wonder if the children of these protesters will even go to college? I also wonder about their education level? I also wonder about their understanding of various cultures.

One woman said that Obama was trying to turn them into Muslims, as if being Muslim is a dirty thing. She too was crying bitter tears. In my estimation, she is not well. She needs a psychiatrist or priest.

Judith Ellis said...

Dave - Never has there been in the histroy of our county a president who has been addressing a joint session of Congress been called a liar. There are rules and there are norms. Booing is an acceptable norm. Yelling out such things is not. Congressman Wilson may be censured.

"If I label one side as ignorant, uneducated whatever when their political persuasion is different and not the other then I am stereotyping, being judgmental and hypocritical."

Surely, Dave, you have not been listening to the ignorance of these people who say thing such as "I don't want the government getting in between me and my doctor" while seeking to interject both THEMSELVES and the GOVERNMENT in decisions of a man and a wife such as what happened in the Terry Shiavo case. This is lunancy plain and simple or hypocrisy. Both are bad.

Let me say regarding your two examples, I think that there is a difference although I am for civility by ALL in the public square.

1) The reason for going to war in Iraq was a lie. There were no WMDs and Colin Powell, whom I love, knew this. He played the role of the good general. The sad thing is that not only have our soliders died but the estimates on the high end is that some 900,000 Iraqi civilians died. What Congressman Wilson has said regarding undocumented people in the heatlh care bill is itself a lie and he could not point to the veracity of his statement.

2) The Supreme Court, in fact, decided the election of 2000 which gave cause for alarm and this is not a lie. I also know people who were intimately involved with this decision. These people who protested in Washington yesterday are saying that the President wants to indoctrinate their kids, that he is like Hitler, and that there are death panels in the health care reform bill that advocates killing seniors.

Now, I believe in civil disobedience, but I detest the behavior of aggressive ignorant people. Be ignorant and meek. Be aggressive and right. BUT PLEASE DO NOT BE BOTH AGGRESSIVE AND IGNORANT. THIS IS DANGEROUS! What we have seen for nearly two years is ignorance and aggression.

By the way, labels can be true.

Dave Wheeler said...


So are you saying that physical threats against the President are justified or excusable when you disagree with the policy being proposed by the President...regardless of the political affiliation of the President? Protesters are protesters. Speech is speech. What makes one justifiable or are all types of "hate" speech abhorrent? Are these below acceptable?

I can assure you Auntie J... I am not listening to either side on this or most issues. It's getting to the point I avoid the "news"/spin and endless opinion completely. Maybe one day here will be a real healthcare bill to discuss...

Judith Ellis said...

"So are you saying that physical threats against the President are justified or excusable when you disagree with the policy being proposed by the President...regardless of the political affiliation of the President? Protesters are protesters. Speech is speech. What makes one justifiable or are all types of "hate" speech abhorrent? Are these below acceptable?"

Dave - I'm sorry. But I have no idea whatsoever the points being made here. Speech is most certainly NOT speech. You can't, for example, yell "fire" in a crowded building nor can you say that you are going to kill me.

Your first question is completely not understandable to me. I have no idea from where it comes. I disagree with the current president, for example, on a number of policies and have written of them here. I have also disagree with the last president on certain policies.

Protestors are not protestors. There is a difference between violent protests and non-violent protests. There is also a difference between the level of ignorance displayed at any given time. The power behind the March on Washington, for example, wasn't merely the right to do so but the righteousness and justice of the cause.

From what I can gather about these tea parties and particular protestors is that there appears to be just a lot of vast ignorance and hatemongering going on. There is no dignity for the country in this, although they are allowed to protest.

What I am talking about here is acceptable civil behavior as well as the vast ignorance of these protestors. PERIOD. Now, if by you mean that everyone has the right to protest, I completely agree with this--all within the boundaries of the law, of course.

Dave Wheeler said...


I guess I am trying to understand why these folks are perhaps guilty of vast ignorance and hatemongering. They assembled legally and non-violently as best I can determine. Like you, I may not agree with the President myself yet I do not label those who support him as uneducated or mis-informed or anything else. Over the past days I have heard or read Rep Diane Watson, Rep Charles Rangel, Maureen Douwd, and Joe Klein all use "race" as label for those who oppose the health care bill that has yet to be written. Have we reached a point where one cannot voice dissent without being judged on anything other than the substance of our opinion ...REGARDLESS OF PARTY AFFILIATION? Perpetuating pays politically and is a means to divert attention and discussion from the real issues.
Free speech, much like being pregnant, can not be done "partially"...particularly when done within the boundaries of the law. Until our political discourse is no longer driven by labels, thinking in absolutes, and perpetuating conflict for profit (financial and political)...we should not wonder why things never change...

Excellent topic Auntie "J" always!

Judith Ellis said...

Dave - I'm afraid that if I have not made myself clear with the many words and examples above my ability to do so is sorely lacking and unachievable. I accept this. Thanks for the discussion. Best, my friend.

Judith Ellis said...

Oh, Dave, this is hysterical:

"Have we reached a point where one cannot voice dissent without being judged on anything other than the substance of our opinion."

Were you serious with this statement? What should we be judged on--our good looks? These protestors certainly can't be judged on their manners or kindness, eh?

I must admit to laughing aloud reading the above.

Dave Wheeler said...


One of us could be judged on our good looks...and that one would not be me!

Judith Ellis said...

You're a handsome man, Dave. This I know. :-)

septembermom said...

This was a feisty debate between you and Dave! I loved it.

I do agree with you Judith that these people need to speak responsibly and respectfully. Civil disagreement should be encouraged in our democracy, but threats and defamation should always be condemned.

By the way, I love that you bring Emily Dickinson's poems with you. I used to bring her poems with me when I rode the train every day to NYC years ago for work.

Judith Ellis said...

Kelly - What you can just about always count of with me is feistiness, especially on issues so dear to me as being better examples for kids and for a more civil thoughtful debate in the public square.

Although, I must say that I am not easily goaded. I don't take baits unless it means something to me and is worth it for others. I can go at length if necessary. I am also always aware of keeping my ego in tack by various means.

Dave knows that I love him.

I had not thought of defammation of character. But this looks like precisely what's going on here. To liken the President of the United States to Hitler as far as policy seems like it falls pretty close to defammation to me.

When I lived in NYC, Kelly, I kept books of poetry, biographies and novels with me at all times. I often memorized whole sections, re-reading passages again and again while riding the train. Such memories! I love New York! I'll move back maybe sooner rather than later.