Friends, Americans, Countrimen...

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by mischief, Mar 22, 2005.

  1. mischief macrumors 68030

    mischief

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    Aug 1, 2001
    Location:
    Santa Cruz Ca
    #1
    Who are you?

    For a helluva long time we have, as a society defined ourselves by rote. We have reflexively used monikers to function as macros to explain who we are. Increasingly it is becoming clear that this is no longer an accurate or reliable method. I want to know who you are. I am not asking who or what you hail from. I am not asking your Party, religious or racial affiliation. I want to know your beliefs. I am hoping that this exercise will help to uncover the core humanity and compassion shown so elequently from all camps in the threads regarding Terry Shriavo. Those of us who are not Americans, please post with your citizenship as a subject... I want to aim this primarilly at fellow Americans as we, as a society deny commonality of identity to the point that we have, IMHO lost track of what "American" really means.

    I believe that all people have a right to live and die in dignity, free of opression. I believe that all persons are created equal and in the image of Divinity. I believe that politics and religion are like ego and relationship: inherently inseperable but mutually destructive. I believe that a person's religion or party affiliation is less important than their equal treatment under the law. I believe that The Constitution should be the core document of policy. I believe that money and nepotism have nearly destroyed any shred of humanity left in DC. I believe that taxes should be simple and direct with no exceptions or shelters. I believe that quality of life is more important than standard of living. I believe that decisions should be made in the moment on a case by case basis.

    That is all part of who I am.

    Who are you?
     
  2. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    Washington, DC
    #2
    There's plenty of humanity in DC.

    As a lifelong resident of the District of Columbia, I hate that "DC" and "Washington" are metonymns for the US government, as if we are to blame for them.

    They're your damn representatives people, not ours. Stop blaming DC.
     
  3. mischief thread starter macrumors 68030

    mischief

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    #3
    Okay. You obviously caught the difference. I apologize for offending you. Could you comment on the topic please?
     
  4. Mav451 macrumors 68000

    Mav451

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    Maryland
    #4
    When Republicans stop using "morality" and religion as political freeze tactics, maybe some real work can be accomplished. Notice how morality is in quotation marks.

    I also get pretty scared when people use the word American. I am Asian. Let's just say that no matter what I do, even if my English/grammar is far better than the white guy next to me, I will never be as "American" as the white guy. Its the sad truth.

    American, in short, has been used TOO often, by the right, as a means of creating some kind of institutionalized, fake society. It is "American" to do this. It is "American" to do that. Watch Chris Rock "Never Scared", and you will understand why I don't like using these kind of 1984 "patriot" cries.
     
  5. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #5
    If you weren't born here (you haven't said), then it's not too surprising that to some you aren't as "American" as somebody who was -- especially if you prefer to refer to yourself as Asian. I put that term in quotes because aside from citizenship attained by birth or naturalization, I really don't know what it means anymore to be an "American." But I do know that it's generally more difficult for an immigrant to be accepted in most societies than it is in the US.
     
  6. mischief thread starter macrumors 68030

    mischief

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    #6
    Mav,

    You illustrate my point beautifully. We've gotten so focussed on the factions we've forgotten and marginallized what is universal. I understand your position as an individual. I could go on for several posts in regards to my personal beefs with feeling opressed. That's not the point. I want to know what you believe in, not what you're reacting against.
     
  7. Desertrat macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2003
    Location:
    Terlingua, Texas
    #7
    Lessee. "Quality of life" for me is not defined by possessions. I've always felt rich because of the numbers of friendly acquaintances and friends that I have.

    As for people in general, I think that folks oughta do their best to be as self-sufficient as possible. Doesn't matter if it's paying the bills or being a do-it-yourselfer. Nobody was born an expert anything, and life oughta be an unending learning trip. Heck, I didn't learn to fly an airplane until I was 54 years old...

    I think people oughta work at general politeness and courtesy when dealing with others. The old "oil, not sand, in the gears of society" shtick. Differences in race or religion or whatever are unimportant, as long as folks aren't pushy toward others on account of these.

    Looking at the meaning of words in the context of the times of those who wrote the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights: I don't really think I can improve on them.

    Hmmm. I think that respect and self-esteem can only be earned; they can never be given. Anyhow, not as I understand those words. You earn respect by the way you live and how you perform. This is separate from treating people with courtesy and politeness. Self-esteem? That comes from meeting challenges and succeeding against them. One helps the young by giving them just enough of a challenge to push them toward their best, while not making the challenge so difficult that it's beyond their capabilities.

    May, down in my little chunk of desert, nobody cares about where you're from or any of that. It's what's in your heart and how you treat others that matters, here. Once upon a time, then-governor Mark White was touring backwater areas of Texas. He went into one cafe and introduced himself, "Howdy! I'm your governor, Mark White." The owner responded, "Howdy. In Terlingua, you can be anybody you want to." Yeah, that works. :)

    'Rat
     
  8. Mav451 macrumors 68000

    Mav451

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    #8
    My mistake. I believe I should have said "I think I'm an Asian-American"; meh, but that in itself is a whole can of worms. Do I belong in my home country, where they look down on me as an American? Do I belong here, in the US where stereotypes and subtle racism still exists?

    I didn't mean to make it a race issue, but my sense of belonging? It is hard to say. Going to iTASA (Taiwanese) summits/conferences, and other things like FUEL, ECASU, certainly help, but my identity is still something that I'm trying to figure out. Hell, even in college I'm figuring myself out.
     
  9. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #9
    I won't make excuses for racism, subtle or otherwise -- but you might consider how readily you might have been accepted had you decided to live in some other country. Americans have always been conflicted about immigration. We are most of us not far removed from our immigrant roots, yet many of us seem comfortable with the proposition that our immigrant ancestors were the last worthy generation. At least we are of two minds on the subject. Most countries are of one mind -- they'd prefer to have no immigration at all.

    Most first-generation Americans (there's that word again!) have a difficult time adjusting, figuring out where they belong. But I think the country's history suggests that the U.S. is as much about its recent immigrants as it is about those who've been here for many generations. I take it you are young, and intelligent. I have an idea you'll work it out before too long.
     
  10. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #10
    Hmmm. That's a very "American" assertion, IJ. :rolleyes:
     
  11. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #11
    A bit of an exaggeration perhaps, but it's not an "American" assertion to observe that few countries anywhere in the world have been as welcoming to immigrants as the U.S. has been historically.
     
  12. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

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    PDX
    #12
    Good thread topic Mischief...

    I will try to put a thoughtful answer out when I have a moment, but for now I feel the most pertinent thing I believe is:

    That what I believe, as a thoughtful person, as a citizen, as an American, no longer matters.

    That the rules of marketing have, in superceding the pursuit of truth, made the manner,medium, and (framing of) character of the author of a particular belief, more important than the validity of the message itself.

    The very precepts of successful marketing/advertising, deliberately mask the truth and/or the intent of the message. Talk Radio (political) is polemic to attract viewers for advertising revenue, not beholden to an accurate, insightful or truthful portrayal of an issue. The fact that many cannot tell the difference is what marketing is all about. Perhaps you might allow this distortive practice for an electric shaver, but it is abhorrent and corrosive applied to Political issues.

    In such an instance, it hardly matters what I think from a practical political perspective, which leads me to believe that we have not had a representative Democracy in a long time, if ever.

    I believe in Education as a foundation for a healthy political climate, and am saddened by the abdication of responsibility for providing this by the Government, the School Districts and the Parents.

    I believe in the goodness and sensible character of the individual, yet the irrational, dangerous and ignorant character of many groupings of them. Many cannot seem to discern this obvious difference or are too lazy to try.

    I believe in hope. Despite everything I have written, I do. I also believe that my hope ( and ideals) have been, and will continue to be, manipulated by those who lack the scruples to refrain from such behavior.

    I believe that in many cases in an imperfect world, an imperfect choice now is better than a potentially imperfect choice tomorrow. I also believe that it is leadership to make the former as close to the latter as possible, not to merely use this fact as a convenient excuse.

    I believe that all individuals have the right to dignity, which includes: the access to health-care, to decent food, shelter and education. It also includes the right to make choices about their life, from who they love, to whether they wish to end it, without government interference.

    I believe unless it can be proven definitively otherwise, that Government is the best guaranteer of these rights. In a Democracy, it should be, and is certainly preferable to Corporate guarantees. I would like to believe that citizens could provide this service without government, but I haven't seen it happen yet.

    I believe that some force, government most likely, should mitigate the essential inequaltiy of the capitalist system so that every person could provide for themselves in a modicum of comfort and dignity, while working less than 40 hours a week. I believe that the future of our society is in the balance.

    I believe I left much out and will try to come back to this later. I believe that in a country of almost 300 million people, "Americans" are both as good and as bad as they are made out to be, but mostly somewhere in the middle.
     
  13. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #13
    Cynical me, I believe in moms and apple pie. I also believe I need a drink since it's now after 5 on an otherwise crappy day.
     
  14. Thanatoast macrumors 6502a

    Thanatoast

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    Location:
    Denver
    #14
    I believe in treating people with respect until they prove unworthy of it, and then I believe in treating them with patience. I believe I don't always succeed in this endeavor.

    I believe that a corporation, by definition, cannot have my best interest at heart. Only that it's goals may sometimes coincide with mine.

    I believe the government should work for the benefit of all the people, not just its constituents. Infighting between our own leaders has caused more trouble and misery than is worth it.

    I believe in the Golden Rule. I also believe there is a lot of lip service to the Golden Rule. I thirdly also believe that humans are not perfect, that they have their bad days, and will not always be nice eachother despite their goal of following it. I believe that whenever possible, we should just let it go, and smile at the pissed off cashier, and move on with our day. I believe we'll all be a lot less stressed this way.

    I believe that we, as Americans, are too focused on the trivial, or only how something affects us personally, to see the larger picture, and that the larger picture often involves short term loss, but often involves long term gain, while the trivial and personal often works the other way.
     
  15. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2003
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    #15
    I agree. And you forgot that you in DC proper have no legal right for representation.

    What bothers me is that with 70% of the nation disagreeing with the politicians, they will end up forgetting that in the upcoming elections.

    GWB flew back, even though he could have signed the law in his "home" state. He and his hypocrite Fascists talk of state rights and the "wrongs" of "activist judges". To me they are the money changers in the Temples. May they rot in Hell when they meet St. Peter.
     
  16. mischief thread starter macrumors 68030

    mischief

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    Location:
    Santa Cruz Ca
    #16
    This is going better than expected. Thank you all for your views; cynical, introspective and otherwise.

    My point in starting this thread was to get to the core from which this amalgam we call a Nation built itself. I believe that within each human, regardless of race, gender, national origin or mental status is the same basic set of universal gut-instincts about morality, ethics, fair play, etc. I wanted to provide a forum for each of us to express how we see that core.

    I also acknowledge that there are a plethora of factions, actions and policies that exist contrary to any of those core values. I will make the assertion that all of these things are the result of fear and self hatred expressed through denial and cruelty.

    I believe that the vast majority of citizens in this country, as well as worldwide share the same horror and frustration over these phenomena. Unfortunately common sense, common decency and mutual respect rarely sell papers. I believe that the citizens of this country have been convinced by sheer saturation of media that there are no sane, decent, compassionate people left in the world. I started this discussion to prove that belief wrong.

    I believe that less than 1 in 1000 people in this country are as dammaged as people believe. I believe that if we were a little braver about expressing what we believe in and where our hopes and outrage lies we may just find we all agree on far more than we'd ever guess.

    So please, Rant, cry, scream or just prognosticate on all you believe in. It's about damn time we started standing up and declaring ourselves above the din. It's not the end of the world, the sky isn't falling.

    I personally believe deep in my gut that the world will soon be utterly intolerant of fearmongering and greed... But only if we make it clear to each other first that we're all together in those assertions.
     
  17. takao macrumors 68040

    takao

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    Dec 25, 2003
    Location:
    Dornbirn (Austria)
    #17
    about the problem with finding identity: it's the same over here since 1995 (and before) after joining the EU .. i remember being asked the question "as what do you see yourself ?" ...where the answers were

    1. a citizen of the world (or something like that)
    2. a european
    3. an austrian
    4. a "vorarlbergian" (the 'state' i'm living in)
    5. a member of your hometown

    was an intersting discussion because hardly anybody was sure...and few called themself "an austrian" ..most identified them selves as a member of their 'state' or 'hometown'

    except being pessimistic,a little bit close minded and perhaps a good chunk of harshness/grumpyness i don't see anyting with being an "austrian" ;)
     
  18. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    Jul 4, 2003
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    Terlingua, Texas
    #18
    Aw, well, takao, me being from Texas, I know I'm one of God's chosen. :D That makes life easy.

    Back almost 50 years ago, I walked into a bar in the Communist section of Paris. Somebody grumbled, "Yanqui..." and my response was, "Yankee, hell, I'm from Texas." (A minor misunderstanding of the difference betweeen "Yanqui" and "Yankee", there. :) )

    "Ah, Texas! Cowboys...!"

    I spent the afternoon and evening telling BS whoppers about cowboys and Indians and ranching and Texas Rangers and all that, and they got me drunker'n a rat.

    People are fun, most everywhere I've ever been...

    :), 'Rat
     
  19. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #19
    my most typical response when i'm abroad and asked where i'm from: "chicago."

    oftentimes, it seems to engender some kind of respect. whether it's because of michael jordan or al capone, i'm not sure.
     
  20. takao macrumors 68040

    takao

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    Dec 25, 2003
    Location:
    Dornbirn (Austria)
    #20
    well rat it could be worse... i always end up saying "no... the other australia .. the one without the animals who like to jump around" ;)

    zimv20: i know that michael jordan was/is a good basketball player but apart from that i have no idea (or any other american football,basketball,baseball player) and i'm pretty sure i'm not the only one...

    on the other side the members of US skiing team are perhaps more famous over here ...
     
  21. Don't panic macrumors 603

    Don't panic

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    #21
    it's more likely the Blues Brothers or ER, depending on age ;)

    when did Paris have a Communist section? :confused:
     
  22. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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  23. Don't panic macrumors 603

    Don't panic

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    #23

    Ou, mais oui. Naturellement...
     
  24. mischief thread starter macrumors 68030

    mischief

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    Aug 1, 2001
    Location:
    Santa Cruz Ca
    #25
    I'll go through these one at a time...

    Amendment I

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.


    Mischief's radical-centrist translation:

    Section 1: The legislature SHALL NOT create any law, tort or bill in regards to religions, their tax status, nor whether one organization is and another is not a religion recognized by the state, nor outlaw or suppress any system of belief or faith.

    Section 2: Censorship is not on the table. Ever, under any circumstances. Congress shall pass no law that directly or indirectly suppresses the free flow of ideas and dissent. Ever. Period. No exceptions. "National Security" is no goddamn exception.

    Section 3a: Congress shall pass no law nor tolerate from the Executive any order or actions that violate the right of free association. This includes but is not limited to labor organizations, political groups, religious groups, gatherings in public places, orgies and biker rallies. ;) \

    Section 3b: Congress shall pass no law obstructing the populaces' ability to complain about the lack of lubrication involved in the ****ing they get from the Fed. Additionally Congress has the responsibility of making themselves easily available to hear these grievances.
     

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