Group Think?

Why is everyone is so worked up? Is it that the left that was so willing to push its agenda down everyone else's throat is now afraid the right is going to do the same to them.

On the one hand, this is a reasonable fear. We tend to think people will think and act as we do. And if we are willing to impose our opinions on someone else, whether under the guise of progressive group think or something else, when that group is in the ascendancy, it is natural to believe it will push its agenda on us.

The funny thing is we didn't have these demonstrations, and demonization at this level, when they ascended. I think it's because maybe we don't see things the same. And I don't know if it's because the right believes more in group think, or less.

Is it because we get that people are tribal that we accept tribal behavior - “Okay, you won. Your tribe gets to rule for the moment.” - or fear it, as the case may be. Or is it that we trust differently that our institutions and constitution will uphold the rights of the individual even when group-think seems to be taking hold?

White Feminist

The following came across my facebook feed. My response is below:

I've been a White Feminist as long as I can remember … I am beginning to learn, though, that I've always been pretty self-centered in my suffering. And guess what, white blond girls from Hunterdon aren't the only ones who have been oppressed.
This year I've been faced with the fact that we white feminists have a LONG. WAY. TO. GO. on educating ourselves- on understanding, on listening- on believing-- the ways others have felt oppression…

White Feminism can be a “gateway drug” to learning about oppression, but we must use that horrible feeling as a key that opens our minds to learn about ALL types of oppression. We must feel and act with equal outrage when others' rights are infringed upon. We have much to learn from all the groups who have this fight for along [sic] time, who have been scared all along. We must be humble in our joining, and follow when others lead.

Well then, is it possible that the many who voted for Trump feel their own sort of oppression,

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Resolutions

Ninety Seven Percent of New Year's Resolutions just don't pan out. Dr. Ben Adkins, one of my virtual mentors, suggests there is a better way. Stop trying to change things. Start by measuring them. For instance, maybe you've got a resolution to put aside money for a vacation this year. What Dr. Ben suggests is take the next twenty one days. Don't try to save money. Just keep track of every dime you spend, in real time. It's all about being powerfully connected to What's So.

Now let's take it to the political arena. What are we committed to? What is our resolve? The point is we love to talk, but let's see what we do with it. If I'm committed to dialogue in the world, maybe I should measure how often I find myself talking to folks who look and think too much like me, or how much time I spend perusing facebook, only engaging on the most superficial level.

You know your own commitments. It's time to take a look at the actions you take in pursuit of them, or avoidance of them. When you've measured that, I think you'll be in a much better place to look at what action will come next.

So my invitation this week is to pick something in your life you'd like to change, and just measure what you are doing now. And while you are at it, I suggest taking Dr. Ben's advice and do that for 21 days.

Dignity

I'm reminded particularly of my son Uriel. Sometimes, as a father, I see him going to make a move while he's playing chess, and I see a better move, and I want to help him.

I've learned not to. You see the thing is he wants to play the game on his own. When he wins, he wants the win. When he loses, he's okay with that. He doesn't want to have to wonder if he'd have won without me. He doesn't want to second guess his win.

But he doesn't want me to help his brother either.

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A Fairer System: Candidates we could vote FOR

A Fairer System: Candidates we could vote FOR

Do you remember Prof. Lani Guinier? She was President Clinton's nominee for Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights in April 1993. She was run out of Washington on a rail for, among other things, suggesting that some parts of our electoral systems do not produce fair results.

I am reminded of her now as I look at what our last election has wrought. Two candidates, neither the favorite of much of their party, both demonized by much of the other party, leaving a huge gap in the middle where no one feels well served or particularly confident that our best interests will be served by those in Washington.

And what are the kinds of things Prof. Guinier might suggest? She might suggest cumulative or proportional voting systems, like we see in corporate or school boards. These try to ensure everyone has a say.

For instance, it might make sense that a State with 57% Democrats and 43% Republicans would have one Democrat and one Republican Senator. If we elected both Senators at the same time, and gave everyone two votes that they could put on whomever they want - even both on the same person - we'd be much more likely to have one Senator from each party. As it is now, the Democrats in a State like this can often run roughshod over their Republican counterparts, and vice versa. The idea here is that, with a fairer system, everyone could, and maybe even should, have their man, or woman, in the Senate.

But I'd like to take it down to the party level. I think both parties have been drawn to their poles, and I think this is unhealthy. And I think one, or the other, or both could go over the edge, and go the way of the Whig party.

And I'd like to propose a fix, if either party has the will, or confidence, to implement it. It might also be a great draw for the center party that comes to replace one of our poles. The fix is to have open primaries; restrict candidacy to party members with a certain seniority, but let everyone weigh in. I think it's got a good chance to pull candidates to the middle, and leave us all with candidates in our general elections we'd have less trouble voting for.

I know it's a stretch, and it might be too late to pull our current parties in from the edges, but it could work to cement the center position of the party that will rise there.

I don't know enough about Prof. Guinier to know what she'd think about this proposal, but I like to hope that the party open enough to let her and a white supremacist help select its candidate would be open enough to at least ponder and debate her ideas for a fairer electoral system.