July 4, 2017

So I was listening to a discussion on bloomberg.com about Mayor DeBlasio's plan to shut Rikers Prison.

You all know I come from the right. As you can imagine, Mayor DiBlasio does not get high ratings in my circles. But in this case, I agree with him.

It took me a minute to notice it, but my gut reaction is to dismiss anything out of his mouth or office as a symptom of the sickness of the left. And I do the same with a lot of the mouthpieces of the left. And then I asked myself does this attitude really add anything to the marketplace of ideas?

Yes, I think some people are wrong—especially in their methods—most of the time. But I also believe, at least at some level, that most politicians really do—or at least one time did—have a commitment to create a better world.

And I also know that the best negotiators rarely say no. If you want to keep the conversation going, you are much better with a “Yes, but…”

And when we are talking politics, or bandying about ideas in this marketplace, it seems to me we should always look at what we have in common first.

“I absolutely agree that we should all be able share our ideas, but does that mean I have to agree?…”

“Yes, I also care for every human life, and I agree that people use guns to kill other people, but maybe the constitution guarantees our right for a greater purpose.…”

“I agree that people should have access to health care, but maybe this is an issue best left to the states.…”

“We both want to educate and prepare our kids for the future. Let's take a look at what really has been working.…”

So my invitation to you this holiday is to exercise your independence. Open your mouth. Share what you think. But first, listen. Listen for what you have in common. It's often easy to see our differences. But we've got a lot in common too. And maybe we can learn something that will help carry us all forward, together.

Let's celebrate our Freedoms by using them. Let's talk.

The Football Diamond

The Football Diamond

You might not know that I have a lot of trouble coming up with material to write here. I wonder how my few words will make a difference for the American People. It's not that I don't make a difference. I help thousands of people have better relationships, with girlfriends, parents, kids, in-laws, co-workers. I help them have better lives, whether it's around romantic relationships, jobs, or building relationships for business. Somehow that's really easy.

But it's one thing to coach a player, another the team, and another altogether when you are running the league. And unlike the Major League, where the schedule is set and the teams show up, government, for the most part, can only set up the field.

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Memorial Day 2017

I'm almost done reading Mr. Tuvia Tenenbom's rather depressing book The Lies They Tell. (Welcome to the real America,
a place you call home but don't yet know!
) One of his themes is that Americans are afraid.

And it's not that we are afraid of the rest of the world. We are afraid of ourselves. In the land that celebrates free speech, people are afraid to speak their mind, we don't want to tell you who we voted for, or what we really think for fear of how it will look.

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Angry Losers

This week, I am inspired to write by Pat Condell, and his video Hello Angry Losers. His point is that the left seems quite ready to celebrate the democratic process when it wins, and equally ready to angrily dismiss it when it loses, to wit branding those who supported the Brexit as racist little Englanders, as idiots who voted against their own interests.

In the US, this phenomenon shows up with those seeking to Impeach Donald Trump Now, a website registered within days of President Trump's election. This movement is sponsored by such organizations as Free Speech for People.org.

I find it incredible that those who seemingly celebrate free speech seem so against it when the speech goes against their own beliefs, in this case challenged by the beliefs of Trump supporters, and their speech in selecting him.

And it may be that many of Trump people are low-information voters, who voted more on emotion than knowledge. This didn't seem to bother anyone when President Obama was elected. So why should it now?

President Trump speaks for a segment of our country that simply does not believe America is living into its potential. Rather than examining and seeking to ameliorate the concerns of the people Mr. Trump speaks for, certain elements paint their concerns as trivial. For these elements, the people of Impeach Trump Now, this is flyover country. These are the people who cling to their guns and religion, to borrow a phrase.

Maybe it is that Trump's people had not been heard. Now it's their turn to speak. And rather than show themselves as true liberals, people who understand that others may think differently, that others may have valid concerns that do not echo their own, the people at Free Speech for People enter new echo chambers to convince themselves that they are right as they try to bring down the man who just happens to speak in a different voice.

They don't need to celebrate Trump, but if, instead of being Angry Losers, they chose to celebrate our process, and use our vast resources to make a difference for all Americans - and not by reeducating them in “correct thinking” - we'd all be in a better place.

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?