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How to have better political conversations

“So this is my call to you: let’s put this country back together. Let’s do it despite the politicians and the media and Facebook and Twitter and Congressional redistricting and all of it, all the things that divide us. Let’s do it because it’s right. And let’s do it because this hate and contempt that flows through all of us every day makes us ugly and it corrupts us, and it threatens the very fabric of our society. We owe it to one another and our country to reach out and try to connect. We can’t afford to hate them any longer, and we can’t afford to let them hate us either. Empathy and respect. Empathy and respect. If you think about it, it’s the very least that we owe our fellow citizens.”

This quote is from a TED talk by Robb Willer.

RIP Pete Seeger

The passing of this man is a landmark in my life. From an early age, our house was filled with song, all kinds of songs and music. While others my age were listening to Elvis or the Rock invasion, I was (and still am) at heart a folk singing woman. I have watched and sang Pete Seeger’s songs as long as I can remember. I admired his playing the fretless banjo, his enthusiasm for the causes of peace and the environment. At concerts and in life, he knew we were better when we worked and sang together. I am richer to have “known” him.

How weird is too weird?

That is the title on the article on my very own Asheville, NC in the  Wall Street Journal ! We made the WSJ- that is weird. The article starts out :

BY VALERIE BAUERLEIN  ASHEVILLE, N.C.—This city has made a name for itself as a tourist 
and retirement haven, known for its arts,festivals, spiritual retreats and welcoming 
culture. But a topless rally here Sunday prompted even locals who want to 
"Keep Asheville Weird" to question if weird is a sustainable economic model, especially 
in a downturn. But Ms. Best said she worries about blurring the line between 
being accepting and being offensive.   
This is all I can read unless I subscribe which I don't see myself doing.

“How weird is too weird?” is not a question I have asked myself- free speech and all. Does this help or hurt the cause of woman equality?  Is this an appropriate venue or a loosely related fringe hoot. Again it started conversation among us about the the issue of -if men can go around without shirts, so can woman. Well I think it is ridiculous to expect that much freedom- but if you feel inclined go for it and get arrested. I was surprised to find out that some of my friends felt that woman should be allowed to go topless if men can. To me this is a childish taunt, I can do anything you can do.

This is supposed to be a celebration of woman’s right to vote! Personally I think that is something to celebrate but not this way. Perhaps this is where the frustration over the LACK of EQUAL RIGHTS and EQUAL PAY for equal work leads the woman.  Although I did note that the organizer was a man- probably the aim was to make a mockery of woman and they played along.

Alternet said: No doubt, many conservatives find the idea of women showing their breasts in public to be “weird.” But isn’t it actually a lot weirder to live in the modern age and not understand how the female body functions, ala Todd Akin?  “Asheville was among a number of cities hosting Go Topless Day rallies on Sunday, the anniversary of the adoption of the U.S. Constitution’s 19th amendment, which gave women the right to vote.

Jeff Johnson of Huntsville, Ala., who organized the event, said the rally was intended to promote women’s equality. “We’re going to fight for the right for women and men to be treated equally,” he said.

Equality between the sexes. Wow. How weird is that?!? Hey I’d settle for equal rights and equal pay- how weird is that!

Gore Vidal was an original

The Associated Press is reporting that the lights on Broadway will be dimmed Friday night to honor the memory of Gore Vidal, whose play “The Best Man” is in the midst of a successful run at the  Schoenfield Theatre.

At 86, Mr Vidal passed away from us at his home of pneumonia. Gore Vidal is the author of twenty-four novels, five plays, many screenplays, more than two hundred essays, and a political commentator, an educator and a patriot. I admired his mind and his ability to speak his mind irregardless of others reaction.  He was one of my heroes.  I can’t say I always agreed with him, although I often did or always applauded his behavior. In 1968, I happened to watch the ill-fated exchanges on television between himself and William F. Buckley, Jr.- two powerful men with opposing opinions on just about everything. This may be when the phrase socially appropriate speech was born.

He wrote his first novel at 19 while in the army. The year I was born, 1948 he wrote “The City and the Pillar” which caused a furor for its dispassionate presentation of homosexuality. Mr.Vidal is often seen as an early champion of sexual liberation. The man was unappologetic about being gay but I hope he will be remembered for his novels about history,or his mystery novels or essays on the nature of national politics and critiques of american expansionism / imperialism. He was passionately political , ran for Congress himself and actively supported others over the years.  He helped me to formulate my own opinions on politics, free speech, and the direction of this nation. 

Two of my favorite quotes attributed to him :
 “Fifty percent of people won’t vote, and fifty percent don’t read newspapers. I hope it’s the same fifty percent.”
“There is no human problem which could not be solved if people would simply do as I advise.”

references: http://www.gorevidalnow.com/  ,   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gore_Vidal , http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-19074230
http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Gore_Vidal ,  http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/aug/01/gore-vidal-dies , http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/aug/01/gore-vidal-best-quotes