Thursday, June 3, 2010

Variety is the Spice of Life

from Reya Mellicker

The Capitol dome and the Library of Congress look like brothers in this pic, at least to me. But if you have a different opinion, that's OK!

Remember way back in the last millenium, during the 1990's when the phrase "Celebrate Diversity" was so popular? I do - well - vaguely. Celebrate diversity, eh? I think it's hard to even tolerate diversity, let alone celebrate it. Yet I agree with the sentiment. It's a worthy goal.

My habit is to blame things on the Bush administration, which is probably unfair as everything is so complicated that any superficial finger-pointing is just ridiculous.

It was during those years, though, that here in the U.S. we became so intolerant of each other. My friends who are congressional staffers tell me that Newt Gingrich instructed his staff not to fraternize with Democrats. From there it got worse and worse. Where, once upon a time, deals were made "across the aisle" as they say, now Congress is so divided that the whole process is kind of a joke.

It's not just within Congress that this rigid intolerance runs wild. I notice how carefully I walk on eggshells when speaking with a friend who is a moderate Republican, as if having different opinions from his is some kind of offensive situation. Why is it offensive to disagree? Why is it that so often people are personally insulted by the differing opinions of others? I thought that's what America was supposed to be about.

One of the reasons I love this blog is that although we have similar values, there are differences of opinion among us. I think that's a good thing. I've said before (and often) that I never learn anything new when talking to someone with whom I agree completely. Healthy debate, open minds and differing opinions expressed honestly and without vitriol could take all of us, (not just here on the blog) a whole lot closer to true compassion.

Peace, love and understanding. Yeah.


  1. Can't get the link to work. Dang. It's Nick Lowe singing "What's so funny 'bout peace, love and understanding."

  2. Link is working! Yay!!

    Of course I love (and am much more familiar with) the Elvis Costello cover of this song, it's cool to hear the guy who wrote it, sing it. Yeah.

  3. "Healthy debate, open minds and differing opinions expressed honestly and without vitriol..."

    Add a good bottle of wine, and THAT'S my idea of a great evening!

    My father used to say that only looking at one side of an issue was like looking at a work of art from only one angle.

    It is only by looking at it from all angles in all light that we can really see it for what it is.


  4. A bottle of good wine always helps in every situation! O yeah.

    There's nothing I love better than when, through healthy debate, I change my mind about something. It's a revelation, the light bulb over my head switches on. It's thrilling.

  5. Oh you girls! I think if they let women rule the world we would have so much less strife, division and hatred. We don't have time for all that shizel because we're busy trying to learn from each other while we're sipping our wine.
    I love it when my opinion is changed by someone who is able to express their point of view in a logical, non agressive, thoughtful way.

  6. My mother thought the same thing, oh Lindi Loo. But Margaret Thatcher kind of changed my mind on that one.

  7. Wow. While I've been writing my comment, two new ones have just popped in! btw, I agree that what is critical at this time in the history of the world is that we lead with a feminine aspect approach. I call it Extreme Yin to counterbalance overabundant Yang.

    Thanks Reya. This is a subject that is dear to my heart, especially over these last few months.

    A movement can be built on the principles which you define. Go out and debate and be prepared to celebrate our differences! In fact have picnics right there on the spot. Let our kids play while we watch. Tap our beer bottles in salute to our healthy exchange. Agree to consider any similarities as sacred and also that we don't have to vote the same way.

    But talk, learn, and consider the other viewpoint. I'm in baby. Big time!

  8. Lindi-Loo, I love your phrase, "all that shizel"...I will be using that one a lot!

    I'm in, too, Dubby. I'll bring the blanket if you bring the wine (or beers)!

  9. I completely agree... with everything... mostly..., at certain times anyway.

    I just can't tolerate intolerance.

  10. I'm one who, too, laments the loss of good dialog and the trading of ideas. Memories tickled by comments that our current atmosphere of intolerance took root during the years of the Bush administration, I set my Google-search clock back to pre-2000 and found diatribes and distrust alive and well among the oft-quoted political leaders of the day. So it's been among us for quite awhile.

    I, too, as a conservative Christian, tread lightly among my liberal friends, b/c these days it's just hard to have a fact-based discussion. A shame really. I still do ask questions; if something doesn't make sense to me, I like to understand why someone else finds it compelling. If one's operating premise is that "people are more alike than they are different", as mine is, then I'm eager to understand what's behind someone's strong position that's so different from mine. Even if I don't come to the same understanding, at least I have some idea of why they support that view.

    Facts-reasoning-conclusion. Facts oughta be the facts; are they, or merely assertions? Then reasoning: what inductive / deductive / abductive / derivative / some process is applied to make sense of the facts? Then conclusion, the "therefore". Seems like now, the collective "we" merely rails at the conclusions and wants to label the "behavior" as part of group "x" or "y" and leave it at that. Which, as you all have so ably pointed out, isn't helpful at all in addressing the things we care about.

    And yes, beers, please! No wine at our house, Stacy's allergic, but we love a good Belgian: Chimay, Duvel, Leffe, Rochefort, or great American craft-brew.

  11. Sounds like a helluva good picnic in the offing!

  12. I'm Jewish, therefore I learn through argument. I don't mind getting a little hot under the collar in a high-spirited exchange. The only thing that doesn't work is when the tone turns nasty. Personal attacks don't help me understand anything.


Your visit makes my heart smile. Thank you.