Header Else

Amendment 6: Abortion dispute at a state level

Amendment 6Learn all about the pros and cons of Amendment 6, who supports it and who is opposed by clicking on our wiki page on Amendment 6. You can learn about all the amendments HERE and register for our FREE amendments-made-(relatively)-painless Amendments 101 forums on October 16 and 23 HERE.

The page on each amendment is fully editable by you, simply register then add information, links, and sources. Or you might want to add to the pro/con list for the amendment or even write an op-ed!  Remember, the content of our Wiki is made greater by factual, civil, diverse contributions from people like you.  So, go ahead — check it out.  And if you’re a first-time user, be sure to check out the Tools & Tips page, too.  If you have trouble with the site using Internet Explorer, try switching over to Google Chrome, Firefox or Safari.

Ground zero community center: Mark Halperin on why we need to strive for a better conversation

We’ve started a “We the Wiki” page on the facts on the Ground Zero Community Center & Mosque. We’ll throw some info in, but it’s yours to build. Find resources that offer good, nonpartisan information to help clarify. You’ll have to register to edit the page.

“Get in your car and drive around and listen to some talk radio. The language is bad. From the minute this started my worry from the beginning was that this would be treated like we treat every other political debate in this country: Polarized, where the winners are the ones who engage in the most extreme rhetoric. This is an issue that has international implications and a national security implication where we would hope that wouldn’t happen. There are no boundaries in our political discourse anymore even when there should be. That’s why I wrote in Time magazine this week and I still believe that the former presidents need to speak out in a bipartisan way. They are the only ones with the standing to treat this with the gravity that is required…” –Mark Halperin on Morning Joe

Check us out on the front page of today’s edition of FSU’s The Center

If you don’t subscribe to Florida State University’s Center for Leadership and Civic Education’s weekly newsletter, you really should. HERE’s the link. Interested in attending our event “Here I am Stuck in the Culture Wars with You”? Check out the details and buy tickets HERE.

Meredith Clark: Be careful, little mouth, what you say (or tweet)

Tallahassee Democrat (clip)…despite our differences of gender, income, race, religion (or none at all), partisanship or no party affiliation, etc., our community is our common thread. We live and love here. Some of us have deep generational roots, others are transplants, but for a time, we are committed to living alongside one another — an immediate tie that binds us amid an ongoing tempest of national demagoguery. For too many Americans, the trend to brand ourselves as martyrs or warriors (and everyone else Read all »

FloridaThinks: A little too much free speech?

Apparently the Florida House passed a bill this session as a response to a consent decree the ACLU got Santa Rosa County school system to sign prohibiting prayer and religious activities by students and staff at school events. FloridaThinks has a fascinating story today on the potential unintended consequences of the bill:

Frank LoMonte, executive director of the Student Press Association in Washington, D.C., says the legislation may unshackle student newspapers from the usual oversight of school administrators, effectively putting Florida among seven states – none in the Southeast – that have passed laws endorsing free expression for students. Student papers running frank discussions of sex on campus, drug-use, and other provocative topics usually face few restrictions in the states that have approved such laws, LoMonte says.

Read the whole article HERE.

Purple Post: Culture Wars meet War of the Worlds">My Purple Post: Culture Wars meet War of the Worlds

(You really should click on over to meet our Purple friends and read this there. John Marks, half the dynamic Purple due, will be coming to Tallahassee on August 19th for a super-duper cheap dinner event that you won’t want to miss.)

In Tallahassee we’re smack in the middle of a debate on a proposed human rights ordinance designed to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered individuals from discrimination. Since we just kept opening our big fat mouths telling people from here to Kingdom Come that The Village Square could do a whole host of impossible things, we jumped into the frackas with a forum.

At our forums we don’t just casually eenie meenie to see who gets on our panel. In this sea of partisan fury, I’m looking for the exceptional panelist who can articulate his or her view with statesmanship. Then I assemble the speakers like a jigsaw puzzle into a panel that (I hope) can sing.

In the process of all this panel-finessing, I come to have sincere affection for each of my panelists, even if I just don’t see it their way. I like them because if I’ve done my job correctly, by the time they’re on my panel I’ve walked a mile in their shoes.

It would be instructive if everyone in our audiences could experience my growing affection for each of my panelists, since in it lies a lesson: People, assuming you understand their unique life circumstance, usually really make sense. That we can be completely different at the same time as we’re really exactly the same is what makes a hometown work. I think it’s an quiet triumph of the human spirit.

With a topic as apparently challenging to us as gay rights, we need the community glue that binds us to be holding.

Some of the culture war is what we sincerely disagree about, in our very hearts. But too high a percentage of it is noise; junk we made up, statistics we lied about, dishonest cutting and pasting.

The forum brought us a vivid demonstration of this when someone in the audience began reading aloud from the “Homosexual Manifesto,” which apparently had once, decades ago, been read into the Congressional record. But because he started with an excerpt containing big fat ugly word bombs in it we just cut him off.

But our Village Square motto is “facts matter” so I felt compelled to do a little post-forum super-sleuthing.

Turns out that the essay entitled “Gay Revolutionary” and renamed for effect was written by one gay man by the name of Michael Swift. A man with a pen does not an army of darkness make, no matter how much you want it to in order to support an immovable opinion you might hold.

But this distortion doesn’t stop with warping the scale of the “threat.” Michael Swift’s essay was, in reality, absurd satire, the author’s (poorly executed and obviously ineffective in retrospect) comment on how mistaken he thought the people who see homosexuality as threatening were. Stuff like: “We shall raise vast private armies, as Mishima did, to defeat you.” Approve of the essay or not, it is tongue-in-cheek to high heaven. And just in case you don’t do nuance, he wrote a disclaimer at the top of his essay telling us it wasn’t real.

But dang if his disclaimer was removed from the infinitely echoing reverberations of this essay across the internet toward its ultimate immortality as a sliced and diced weapon of the culture war, landing in many an unsuspecting inbox. (Here’s an example of where they’ve gone to the trouble of printing the whole essay verbatim with the tiny little omission of the disclaimer at the top, else you actually understand what you are reading.)

I believe that the person who read the excerpt from this satirical essay believed sincerely he was warning us of something true and big and looming. Instead he was just unwittingly recycling a lie. “Tremble, hetero swine” should have tipped him off.

If there is any hope we can understand each other (without running my panel-screening gauntlet), we’ve got to start with what is true. The very least we owe each other is an honest conversation.

I think the people we really are in our hearts – the ones where we turn the other cheek, love thy neighbor, walk a mile in their shoes – can do it.

Or we can let the highly paid professional contortionists have their way, you know the ones who will pick over the carcasses of our communities destroyed by their infernal racket.

Our choice.

(Photo credit. And in case you’re a youg’in the pic is of Orson Welles of War of the Worlds fame… another satire run amok.)

Letter to the Editor: A call for respect and honor in debate

Letter to the Editor: “Regarding the proposed human rights ordinance, I urge fellow Christians to exercise respect and forbearance toward neighbors with whom they disagree. Christians who oppose this ordinance are not necessarily bigots, and those who support it are not necessarily heretics. Both sides regard their positions to be Biblical and in keeping with the requirements of faithful discipleship. I disagree with Nathan Adams’ position that the First Amendment should protect religiously motivated individuals from laws Read all »

Next Tuesday: Human Rights Ordinance

Take-out Tuesday

Tuesday, May 4 5:30 to 7 PM

(click on picture for more details


Thumbs up on forum; thumbs down on email

“This has been what I consider one of the more civil debates… For those of you on both sides who have come at this with a level of respect. Those of you on both sides of this over the last week who have spewed a little venom, shame on you because that doesn’t accomplish anything. You would be stunned if you saw some of the emails and voice mails.” –Leon County Commissioner Bryan Desloge on yesterday’s human rights ordinance hearing and the lead-up to it.

What do Glenn Beck and Abbie Hoffman have in common?

Could be more than you think.

One of the perks of this job is that people are always sending me links to intelligent authors conveying big ideas. Here’s one from last week I didn’t quite get up on the blog… The New York Times’ David Brooks comparing the Tea Party movement to the counterculture movement of the 1960’s:

…both the New Left and the Tea Party movement are radically anticonservative. Conservatism is built on the idea of original sin – on the assumption of human fallibility and uncertainty. To remedy our fallen condition, conservatives believe in civilization – in social structures, permanent institutions and just authorities, which embody the accumulated wisdom of the ages and structure individual longings.

That idea was rejected in the 1960s by people who put their faith in unrestrained passion and zealotry. The New Left then, like the Tea Partiers now, had a legitimate point about the failure of the ruling class. But they ruined it through their own imprudence, self-righteousness and naive radicalism…

Brooks cites a piece by Michael Lind in Salon comparing Glenn Beck to Abbie Hoffman. Lind contrasts a counter-establishment with a counter-culture:

A counter-establishment publishes policy papers and holds conferences and its members endure their exile in think tanks and universities. In contrast, a counterculture refuses to acknowledge the legitimacy of the rules of the game that it has lost. Instead of moving toward the center, the counterculture heads for the fringes. Like a cult, it creates its own parallel reality, seceding from a corrupt and wicked society into morally and politically pure enclaves.

It’s the building up of parallel realities – maybe more than anything – that is devastating our civic dialog and our ability to make good decisions. Take David Brooks. If you lean right and you immediately think RINO when you hear me cite Brooks, you should know that people I know on the left, would roll their eyes and say “puleeze” if I suggested he ever wrote anything left of “Heil Hitler.”

If a conservative centrist columnist looks like a brown shirt to half of us and a commie pinko to the rest, we may just have a bit of trouble brewing…

(Photo credit.)