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Sun Feb 7, 2016, 09:26 PM

Revolution #3

One of the most valuable periods of my life was the years where I served as Onondaga Chief Paul Waterman’s top assistant. Paul sat on both the Onondaga Council of Chiefs, and the Haudenosaunee (aka Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy) Grand Council of Chiefs. I had the pleasure and privilege of not only being close enough that people at the nation referred to me as “Paul’s son,” but also attending numerous meetings with Paul. These included at Onondaga, small towns and large universities, and with everyone, from average citizens, to elected officials, to representatives from the United Nations.

Paul believed strongly in tradition. Thus, in his opinion, it was important that the Chiefs serve the people, literally. Paul looked out for what non-Indian society views as “the least among us.” He and I frequently spoke at various public meetings, and at lots of colleges and universities. Much f the time, we were paid for presenting to groups such as college students. At such times, neither of us benefited financially. We did not even use a few bucks for “traveling expenses” -- for gas and/or a meal.

Instead, every penny of that money went into a fund to support the poorest people on Onondaga Nation territory. I think that most of the time, it helped pay elders’ fuel bills. And some of it went for groceries.

I remember some non-Onondaga people who would say we were “crazy,” that we were making good money, and were entitled to it. But that was not our way.

I remember a meeting where a man from a corporation asked for a “private” meeting with us. So we arranged for the Tadodaho and two other Chiefs to arrive at the secret, private meeting place. The gentleman from the corporation had a briefcase, which was pretty full of money. But, within minutes, he understood that this was not a valued currency among us. Obviously, we all use money to pay bills; the cashier at a grocery store never says that we get a pass, for the good work we do. But there are things -- and people -- that money just can’t buy.

Over the years that I’ve been on this wonderful forum, I’ve participated in numerous discussions on the influence that the Iroquois had on the Founding Fathers. Even today, there are some people who attempt to argue that the Founding Fathers did not learn important lessons from the Iroquois, and apply them to their concepts on the structure and meaning of the Constitution of the United States of America. Like those who rigidly deny climate change, they serve as examples of choosen ignorance.

A person need only read a single book, “Exiled in the Land of the Free : Democracy, Indian Nations, and the U.S. Constitution” by authors including Oren Lyons, John Mohawk, and Vine Deloria, Jr. (Clear Light Publishers; 1992) for an accurate, well-documented, and impossible-to-refute read on this topic.

Just as no individual is “perfect,” neither is any society. That includes the Iroquois society, and the United States. But, by no coincidence, there was more to Iroquois culture than simply the structure of our governments. In his 1974 book, “Red,White, and Black : The Peoples of Early America” (Prentice-Hall), author Gary B. Nash noted the following:

“Even hard-bitten, unsentimental colonists often recognized that Indian society, though by no means without its problems and its own disreputable characters, put white society to shame. …Throughout the colonial period European observers stood in awe of the central Indian traits of hospitality, generosity, bravery, and the spirit of mutual caring. Indians seemed to embody these Christian virtues almost without effort in a corner of the earth where Europeans, attempting to build a society with similar characteristics, were being pulled in the opposite direction by the natural abundance around them -- towards individualism, disputatiousness, aggrandizement of wealth, and the exploitation of other humans. ….these Indian virtues came far closer to the precepts of Christianity that most colonists found it comfortable to admit.”

I think that this goes a long way in explaining why so many of us are inspired by Bernie Sanders, and believe that his campaign offers this nation a unique opportunity to get back on the track that offers true democracy and social justice.

61 replies, 3023 views

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Arrow 61 replies Author Time Post
Reply Revolution #3 (Original post)
H2O Man Feb 2016 OP
pangaia Feb 2016 #1
H2O Man Feb 2016 #2
haikugal Feb 2016 #3
H2O Man Feb 2016 #4
Mbrow Feb 2016 #5
H2O Man Feb 2016 #6
SammyWinstonJack Feb 2016 #7
H2O Man Feb 2016 #13
Arazi Feb 2016 #8
H2O Man Feb 2016 #14
Zorra Feb 2016 #9
H2O Man Feb 2016 #28
JudyM Feb 2016 #10
H2O Man Feb 2016 #29
Dem2 Feb 2016 #11
H2O Man Feb 2016 #35
Thespian2 Feb 2016 #12
H2O Man Feb 2016 #36
Jarqui Feb 2016 #15
H2O Man Feb 2016 #37
roguevalley Feb 2016 #16
H2O Man Feb 2016 #38
annabanana Feb 2016 #17
H2O Man Feb 2016 #39
chervilant Feb 2016 #18
H2O Man Feb 2016 #40
cantbeserious Feb 2016 #19
H2O Man Feb 2016 #41
jen63 Feb 2016 #20
H2O Man Feb 2016 #42
Enthusiast Feb 2016 #21
H2O Man Feb 2016 #43
vanlassie Feb 2016 #22
H2O Man Feb 2016 #44
zeemike Feb 2016 #23
H2O Man Feb 2016 #45
highprincipleswork Feb 2016 #24
H2O Man Feb 2016 #46
highprincipleswork Feb 2016 #61
Dustlawyer Feb 2016 #25
H2O Man Feb 2016 #47
slipslidingaway Feb 2016 #26
H2O Man Feb 2016 #48
H2O Man Feb 2016 #27
hootinholler Feb 2016 #33
H2O Man Feb 2016 #49
longship Feb 2016 #30
H2O Man Feb 2016 #50
senz Feb 2016 #31
H2O Man Feb 2016 #54
eridani Feb 2016 #32
H2O Man Feb 2016 #55
mmonk Feb 2016 #34
H2O Man Feb 2016 #56
mmonk Feb 2016 #58
Gregorian Feb 2016 #51
Zorra Feb 2016 #52
mmonk Feb 2016 #53
H2O Man Feb 2016 #57
Gregorian Feb 2016 #59
H2O Man Feb 2016 #60

Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Feb 7, 2016, 09:45 PM

1. Beautiful.

I drive by Ganondagan every day on the way to work,

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Response to pangaia (Reply #1)

Sun Feb 7, 2016, 09:58 PM

2. Thank you.

Much appreciated!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Feb 7, 2016, 10:11 PM

3. Thanks for this wonderful post! K&R!

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Response to haikugal (Reply #3)

Sun Feb 7, 2016, 10:18 PM

4. Thank you!

I am hoping that people will read this OP. I think it is important -- not because I wrote it -- but because it addresses an important point.

One of the things that several of the authors of the first book has been that people need to appreciate that the Constitution -- including the Bill of Rights -- must be applied to groups of people. It's not simply the structure of the federal government, and individual rights. Indeed, parts of the Constitution speak directly of groups.

In that context, the Sanders's campaign offers us unique pathways to democratic power and social justice.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Feb 7, 2016, 11:02 PM

5. Let get this moved up K&R!

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Response to Mbrow (Reply #5)

Sun Feb 7, 2016, 11:04 PM

6. Thank you!

I appreciate it!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Feb 7, 2016, 11:07 PM

7. KnR

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Response to SammyWinstonJack (Reply #7)

Sun Feb 7, 2016, 11:21 PM

13. Thank you!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Feb 7, 2016, 11:12 PM

8. Wow. Yes!

without going into detail, just yes

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Response to Arazi (Reply #8)

Sun Feb 7, 2016, 11:23 PM

14. Thank you, Arazi!

I am curious about if you did go into detail.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Feb 7, 2016, 11:13 PM

9. Recommend. nt

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Response to Zorra (Reply #9)

Mon Feb 8, 2016, 12:55 AM

28. Thanks,Zorra!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Feb 7, 2016, 11:16 PM

10. Great to think about this. K&R

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Response to JudyM (Reply #10)

Mon Feb 8, 2016, 12:56 AM

29. Thank you very much!

I really appreciate it.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Feb 7, 2016, 11:20 PM

11. Well said

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Response to Dem2 (Reply #11)

Mon Feb 8, 2016, 10:28 AM

35. Thank you!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Feb 7, 2016, 11:21 PM

12. K & R !!!!

The inhabitants ran societies that considered man's close relation with the physical world and the spiritual world..they were stewards of the land, not destroyers...Europeans felt the need to destroy a society far better that their own...

May oldest friend is Iroquois...I am part Cherokee...we honor our heritage...

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Response to Thespian2 (Reply #12)

Mon Feb 8, 2016, 10:39 AM

36. Thank you.

Bernie is opposed to fracking. That is a clear distinction between him and Ms. Clinton, on one of the most important environmental issues.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Feb 7, 2016, 11:24 PM

15. Thank you for sharing those wonderful thoughts nt

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Response to Jarqui (Reply #15)

Mon Feb 8, 2016, 10:40 AM

37. Thank you for

taking the time to read and respond to this OP! I appreciate it.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Feb 7, 2016, 11:32 PM

16. beautiful. Thank you so much.

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Response to roguevalley (Reply #16)

Mon Feb 8, 2016, 10:41 AM

38. Thanks!

I'm glad that you enjoyed the OP.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Feb 7, 2016, 11:36 PM

17. I think that, once again, you have put your finger

right on a vastly overlooked truth.

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Response to annabanana (Reply #17)

Mon Feb 8, 2016, 10:43 AM

39. Thanks, Anna B!

It's a path that is available to us.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Feb 7, 2016, 11:38 PM

18. k & r

I will read the book you recommend.

I just spent Saturday with a friend, her sister, and her husband, who is Chief of his tribe. My friend and her sister sang and drummed for me. We had delicious food and made lots of art.

One of the things I treasure most about visiting her home is that there is no negativity in her environment. Her dog, Makwa, is a love hound, and gave me her belly twice. I got to hike up to her spring-fed pond. I talked with her chickens. She has a white guinea--the first one I've ever seen.

All in all, a most restful day. I'll be back in two weeks to help turn the compost to be ready for planting.

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Response to chervilant (Reply #18)

Mon Feb 8, 2016, 10:45 AM

40. Very nice!

Thank you for sharing this with us. Your post reminds me of a book that my older daughter got me for Christmas,Bill McKibben's "Oil and Honey." We need to integrate our daily lives with the Good Fight.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Feb 7, 2016, 11:40 PM

19. Thank You For Sharing These Truths

eom

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Response to cantbeserious (Reply #19)

Mon Feb 8, 2016, 10:49 AM

41. Thank you.

My brother-in-law says that the United States too often picks the worst types of people to "serve" (themselves) as leaders. And that's sad but true.

But it is not our only option.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Feb 7, 2016, 11:48 PM

20. K & R!

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Response to jen63 (Reply #20)

Mon Feb 8, 2016, 10:50 AM

42. Thanks!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Feb 7, 2016, 11:55 PM

21. Kicked and recommended! Thank you for sharing that, H2O Man.

Just excellent.

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Response to Enthusiast (Reply #21)

Mon Feb 8, 2016, 11:10 AM

43. Thanks.

I'm glad that you like the OP. I am really enjoying this thread. It reminds me of "the good old days" on DU.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Feb 7, 2016, 11:56 PM

22. Kicking.

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Response to vanlassie (Reply #22)

Mon Feb 8, 2016, 11:11 AM

44. Thanks!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Feb 8, 2016, 12:09 AM

23. It brings to mind what Gandhi said.

“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

But long ago greed captured Christianity and they brought that over to the new world with them.

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Response to zeemike (Reply #23)

Mon Feb 8, 2016, 11:21 AM

45. Thank you.

In Steve Wall's biography of Tadodaho Leon Shenandoah, "To Become a Human Being" (Hampton Roads; 2001), Leon discusses the similarities between the historic figures Jesus and the Peace-Maker. Leon thought that the two were the same person, spiritually. He notes that the differences were found in the way that people treated them -- the Iroquois felt no need to nail the Peace-Maker to a tree. Instead, they admired and respected him to the extent that his gentle message still guides their daily lives.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Feb 8, 2016, 12:10 AM

24. Splendid. Beautiful. And I've got to read more on this.

 

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Response to highprincipleswork (Reply #24)

Mon Feb 8, 2016, 11:22 AM

46. Thank you.

I'd be glad to recommend some good books.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #46)

Mon Feb 8, 2016, 03:18 PM

61. You've recommended one, which sounds great. What might be some others?

 

I am always interested in that which helps us stand up for our highest principles. Unlike so much of what people spend their time on today, that can never be a bad thing.

Thank you for your leadership on this.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Feb 8, 2016, 12:26 AM

25. K&R!!!

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Response to Dustlawyer (Reply #25)

Mon Feb 8, 2016, 11:22 AM

47. Thanks!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Feb 8, 2016, 12:37 AM

26. Your posts are always worth reading and have been for over well over 10 years ...

thank you!!!





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Response to slipslidingaway (Reply #26)

Mon Feb 8, 2016, 11:41 AM

48. Thank you.

I enjoy being part of the team here!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Feb 8, 2016, 12:54 AM

27. Wow!

I'm going to respond to everyone who has been kind enough to add to this OP/thread. But I want to stress how much the responses man to me. You have made this old man feel like I have something to contribute. This really does mean a great deal tome.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #27)

Mon Feb 8, 2016, 09:07 AM

33. When you ever feel like you have nothing to contribute...

Pick up the phone and call me so I can disabuse you of that notion.

Plus, I have a new book to add to my reading list.

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Response to hootinholler (Reply #33)

Mon Feb 8, 2016, 11:41 AM

49. I will take

you up on that offer! Thanks.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Feb 8, 2016, 12:59 AM

30. I love positive political posts

which promote a candidate without tearing down the opponent. That is Bernie's way, too, I suspect, which is why I support him.

R&


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Response to longship (Reply #30)

Mon Feb 8, 2016, 11:58 AM

50. Thanks.

I think that Bernie always is respectful of his opposition. And I like that. I remember how when Paul and I would travel to distant places to "debate" our opposition, we focused on the concepts that those people had rational minds, reasons for their beliefs, and the right to their opinion. That didn't mean we thought their positions were correct, or their opinions were equally valid to our's.

I remember sitting in Governor Mario Cuomo's "meeting room," with Paul and I on one side of the table, and our opposition and their hired "experts" on the other side. Our opposition was very hostile towards us. They openly insulted us ....we were "living in the past" and that type of nonsense. But we remained focused on telling the Truth.

In such situations, that's the best one can do. It was our responsibility to tell the Truth. But it wasn't up to us if the opposition would accept and act upon it.

The governor's people watched the discussion closely. And, when the meeting was over, they knew.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Feb 8, 2016, 02:05 AM

31. Makes perfect sense to me, H2O Man.

 

Bernie's innate integrity comprises seemingly opposite qualities of wisdom and innocence, qualities that transcend culture and speak to the basic humanity of those who can recognize them.

I am so glad there is still a Native American presence in this country and wish Native Americans could play an advisory role in public deliberation. Thom Hartmann, who extensively studied the "founding fathers" of the United States, has spoken of the influence of the Iroquois and Cherokee on the founders' ideas for a new government. I think Hartmann included a discussion of this in his book, What Would Jefferson Do?

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Response to senz (Reply #31)

Mon Feb 8, 2016, 01:20 PM

54. Thanks, senz!

I think highly of Thom Hartmann, and will pick up that book. Much appreciated.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Feb 8, 2016, 04:30 AM

32. The Iroquois also influenced the feminists who met at Seneca Falls n/t

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Response to eridani (Reply #32)

Mon Feb 8, 2016, 01:24 PM

55. Right.

Years ago, I worked with a program "Alternatives to Violence," which was originally started by some Quaker friends, to teach conflict resolution in jails and prisons. The program grew, and was taught in public schools, etc. When some of the Onondaga Clan Mothers saw it, they approached the Quakers; they said that they recognized this method of dispute resolution, and offered to add a few helpful steps. That improved the program.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Feb 8, 2016, 09:26 AM

34. Well done. Recommended.

Oh keeper of the flame.

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Response to mmonk (Reply #34)

Mon Feb 8, 2016, 01:26 PM

56. Thanks!

"Oh keeper of the flame" sounds like a line in a song. And so I can quote the old saying, that "so long as there is one to sing, and one to dance, we go on."

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #56)

Mon Feb 8, 2016, 02:06 PM

58. Very good words.

I really meant fire keeper but some days, my mind is slow.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Feb 8, 2016, 12:41 PM

51. I see.

There must be many kinds of fear. Yes, it does feel that Bernie Sanders practices moral standards which transcend selfishness.

I used to be a roofer. One day I was called to repair a man's roof. It was raining, and I was confident that my new way of repair would work, even though it was a flat roof. Having saved him from what could have been a disaster, I charged him $500, and went on my way. I knew it was too much to charge, but I had done an important job, I thought. Five or six years later, I was checking out at a grocers. He was the checkout clerk. When he saw me he glowered. And it was no regular scorn. My repair obviously hadn't worked, and he was quite angry to see me again. The shame I feel is far greater than the money was worth.

We all fear being poor; that tomorrow we might not survive. Using someone else as the rung of a ladder is how we do it, if we don't care about others. But my example shows how that drives us apart. It is my intention to find the man some day and return his money.

There is a feeling of happiness I get when practicing generosity and kindness. I recognize this all too rare behavior in Bernie Sanders. I've heard it said that it's partly from practicing hie Jewish principles. But it's really a willingness to suppress one's own fear, and realize that one is not alone.

In my opinion, in a society where people fend for themselves, fear is rampant. I'm convinced from the examples I've seen of more civilized nations than our own, that we can organize our society to drastically reduce the competitive nature. In doing so, we also reduce the level of frustration and fear that lends to violent behavior. This is at the heart of Bernie's vision. There should never be any group left wanting for basic needs. This is so basic that until this is done, we cannot be considered civilized. Some call it a safety net, but I believe it is far more basic and simple. It's not some thing that is put in place, although without that we would never accomplish the goal of eliminating a whole group of us who cannot survive. It is a basic way of looking at other human beings. Are we in this together, or not? I would argue that the benefits of seeing each other as whole members of a society far outweighs the benefits of a few success stories from those who climbed the rungs using others shoulders to stand on.




















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Response to Gregorian (Reply #51)

Mon Feb 8, 2016, 12:46 PM

52. Good post, thanks!

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Response to Gregorian (Reply #51)

Mon Feb 8, 2016, 12:47 PM

53. +1

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Response to Gregorian (Reply #51)

Mon Feb 8, 2016, 01:36 PM

57. Very good!

Thank you for this excellent contribution to this discussion. I really appreciate your participation on this forum ....and DU:GDP in particular ....because at this time, voices of reason are really necessary.

Reading your post reminded me of a discussion that we had many years ago. You might remember it, or maybe not ....but it's something that has stuck with me.

I had said that most people are uncomfortable with their best potential. Indeed, most people are willing to inhabit the lower levels of their being much of the time, which allows them to think and behave in ways that allow them to remain unaware of their best potential.

More, this same dynamic is found in some -- though not all -- cultures and societies. This is particularly true of "modern" (industrial and post-industrial/ high tech) society. The individual who focuses on reaching his or her best potential, as a human being, tends to be marginalized by the herd. They are viewed as pleasant odd-balls.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #57)

Mon Feb 8, 2016, 02:11 PM

59. After posting, I had a question.

I was wondering what it is that fostered collective living as you mentioned in your post. Perhaps native Americans realized that in order to survive, they would have to work together. Whereas, in our life of newfound luxury, through the use of ingenious inventions and petroleum, we usually don't have to concern ourselves with survival. And being the case, we have the luxury of being able to ignore people we live with. I don't need my neighbor to survive, as I can just go to the store to buy food.

What I would like to know is how to achieve this once relatively universal law of need. Where there is division, how can we now find union? Bernie Sanders has brought this discussion to the forefront due to his personal moral compass. But it's bigger and more central to the human than something we vote for. A selfish, cruel message has been sent to the people of this country, that we can be careless, and those who suffer in need will eventually work things out without our support; that through a system of possible mercy, those at the bottom might catch the crumbs that fall from the table. I wonder what it takes to bring us back in line with reality.

Thank you for your kind words. They mean more than you know.

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Response to Gregorian (Reply #59)

Mon Feb 8, 2016, 02:40 PM

60. That's a great question.

I'm going to think about this, before attempting to provide a meaningful answer. But a couple thoughts come to mind immediately.

The first is that we really do see the strength of people in times of tragedy. That's true when there is a natural disaster, or a 9/11, or -- for a smaller example -- in the community response to something like when my cousin and his son were shot in October, 2014. And by "community," I definitely include the DU community, as well as the local towns people.

That basic human goodness was a feature common in most of human history, when people lived communally. And all of humanity has roots in communal, or tribal, life. In that setting, such human goodness was not limited to tragic events. It was the every day experience.

By the time that Europeans reached the Americas, their social structure was distinct from communal, tribal life. This includes the basic family structure, and it was the result of economic features.Still, the extended family defined much of the social structure. Obviously, not in every instance, but by and large, it did. Hence, we still find older towns, villages, and hamlets named after an influential extended family that settled there.

The industrial revolution began to change the social fabric in significant ways. The impact upon the basic family unit really would change after WW1 (and the changes came faster after WW2). People were able to move from the family farm, for instance, to the city for a job. The extended family would get together less often. Some holidays, weddings, and/or funerals. And that had an impact upon the support systems of the children of those families.

By the 1950s, family life in America -- for the middle class -- was marked by that nice house with the white picket fence, four well-behaved children, a stay-at-home mom, one or two cars, and, of course, a mighty nice television.

When the hi-tech revolution came, there was a demand for employees who would invest long hours at work. Those long hours of overtime didn't enhance the dwindling amount of time for family life. The best way for a corporation to attract people to be willing to spend those long hours at the office/ work place is to encourage affairs. And, of course, this type of behavior does not enhance those "family values" that the Newt Gingrich types love to talk about.

This isn't to suggest that all human relationships are the direct result of labor. But it is not a coincidence that corporations prefer single or unhappily married employees. Or that the single-parent family -- the most barren in terms of providing a solid support system for family members -- has found fertile ground in our high-tech culture.

Family systems provide the foundation for the type of social compassion that is far too often lacking in our country today.

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