Sunday, April 08, 2018

End Of Moosetracks

In 2016, I quit cross posting the blog to Facebook when I started a new job -- here is that entry, and the key paragraph.

Yes, the reason for stopping the cross-posting is the potential that "someone would be offended" relative to the new job. We live in a time where Christian, conservative, Constitutional, etc views are offensive to many. While I believe in people in the United States being able to have any view they want short of "pledging allegiance to ISIS" as in the case of the shooter this week, our current nation seems OK with ISIS supporters, but often offended with those who support Christ or the Constitution.
I realize that when I started the blog in 2005, I never posted my reason for blogging, so I will now.

My father was and is a very capable debater. So were his brothers, and I gather his dad, my grandfather who died when I was like 3. One story of my grandpa that I heard from dad more than once was of him taking dad to a county or town board meeting as a kid maybe 12 years of age, Dad was disturbed by everyone arguing so loud and seemingly angrily that he thought they could not be friends.

When the meeting was over, everyone went out for pie and coffee with no problems -- his dad was on the board, and instilled in my dad that being able to discuss / argue / debate with passion and still shake hands afterward was an important part of living in a democracy.

So I learned that lesson well -- early on with some tears or stomping anger, however my dad assured me that "I would grow up", and so I did -- perhaps just a little too well, as is common with such lessons.


Cowgirls may well not cry, but this moose certainly does -- pretty much every time I listen to that song as one small case, as well as sometimes when I witness the wreckage of our nation in broken families, addiction, suicide, and meaninglessness.

The lesson of making my case with dispassionate debate would serve me well through my schooling in those days. In the 1970's America was still a place where deiversity of thought was honored, and there were no such things as "safe spaces", certainly not in universities. The ACLU in those times even defended Illinois Nazi's right to march through a Jewish neighborhood -- freedom of speech meant freedom of even (especially) very unpopular speech. The IBM of the late '70s and most of my career was also a place where it was critical to "get your ducks in a row" and put together the right "pitch" to get your ideas implemented in systems.

By 2005 however, the US was sliding rapidly away from honoring diversity of thought. W was a pariah to the elite and "progressives", and it was important to not speak up in most cases when people would make some statement about how stupid he was, how he ought to be impeached, how Iraq was lost, how he was a "war criminal", etc.

While I was always more than able to hold my own in a discussion, the net result was likely be anger from the anti-W speaker that anyone would dare stand up for W, and even more anger when the person who intiated the attack felt that they were not actually able to defend a position they thought was "obviously correct". One of the "values" of the left became that people that did not agree with them were uneducated, only listened to "Fox News and talk radio", not very intelligent, etc -- feeling that they "lost" a debate with such a low life was just plain embarrassing. It usually meant that in an odd return to a practice of religions like the Amish, they would "shun" the person who stood up for such a terrible person as W.

The blog allowed me to continue to listen to NPR, read the NY Times, WaPo, and even see clippings from Huffpo, Slate, New Yorker, and a broad range of media on both (or many) sides of issues and "talk about it in the blog" without having  other people be hurt, angry, or embarrassed. The assumption was that people that did not like what they read would just "change the channel" -- as Christians were to do with the NEA funded "Piss Christ" and many other things.

In the back of my mind, there was always the dream of "discovery" -- some folks would probably just be kind to me and say "you ought to have a column" or "you ought to be on the radio". Over the years, my readership went from none to a few thousand a month ...


It's always been a labor of love -- I enjoy writing, it comes easy to me, and the blog was a way for me to keep track of thoughts, articles, book reviews ( 180+ was the final count), travel, etc with some good discussions from some people over the years as a bonus.

As I look back on Holy Week 2018, Good Friday 2005.  stands out as a post from the early days that I'm glad that I was able to share -- and go back and read.

The post from when I quit cross-posting to FB gives some hints on how the blog is organized if you want to poke around. As those of you that know me are well aware, the blog both is and is definitely NOT "me". It' was an "outlet" for instant reactions to events and media reactions to those events -- so those reactions were less likely to be discussed at work, family events, church, social events, etc. I read broadly and more the kind of person who knows "nothing about everything" as opposed to "everything about nothing" -- the sad choice of we very finite humans and our limited minds.

The blog is less me since 2016. In 2016 I started my new career as a Certified Peer Support Specialist ... I learned about DBT, Motivational Interviewing, and that validation is not agreement. I learned both the Mindfulness skills to stay "in the moment" during discussions as well as a number of other skills that are critically important during "difficult conversations". Some of these skills are well sumarized in this post on an excellent book; "The High Conflict Couple".

If you liked the blog and miss it, send me an email (bilber99@gmail.com) with ideally your google mail -- my new blog is going to be limited to my approving your access, and since I'm using blogger to start,  I'm sure the google id will work. Depending on interest, I may look for other solutions.

Thank you for those that have read over the years, and especially to those who have engaged in discussion with me on posts. I still firmly believe that freedom of thought and speech, as well as the willingness to engage with those who think differently from us, was at the very core of what once made America an exceptional country. It was a nation under God with a written Constitution that was honored, and a free nation where independence, especially of thought, was a primary value.

As I wrote when I largely left FB and quit watching the NFL, we now live in a nation where there is no value that is agreed on by supermajority of people within our geographic borders. Since America was a nation founded on ideas, NOT ethnicity, religion, or territory, I assert we really no longer have a nation.

It will certainly not be me that fixes that (if it is to be fixed), and the costs of having a semi-public opinion that is easily ignored have now gotten too high as the costs of speaking up in public did in 2005. There is no way to know who is reading, not interacting, and just becoming more and more angry as they do. There is no way to discern a reader in "Emotion Mind" so I can use validation skills rather than simply "making a case".  I'm not going to fix what has happened to America -- it is not worth the price to keep publicly speaking to all. The "desire to read" may be a desire primarily to be angered and justify attacks on myself or my family. Thinking differently is now something that needs to be done "in the closet" ... hopefully this move to a closet of only approved readers will work.

For ALL those who have or will read my blog or other writings, especially those who most strongly disagree with me, I believe that love and free will are the two sides of an ultimate eternal value. To love is to allow free will, and only in freedom can we return love. God is love and light -- only he can truely love even those that reject him with all their hearts, however I promise to do the best that I am able to follow his example.

 I pray that you let God's love work it's miracle in your life and we have eternity to work out the nunces of our differences.
May the Lord bless you,
and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you,
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you,
and give you peace

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