turning off the news

Oh, you’ve felt it, too…

 

Enough of it!  We’re through already!  Politics, schmolitics…

 

I am certain more than just a few of us are sick of the election cycle.  It hasn’t always been this way; it doesn’t have to be this way; and I pray it won’t remain this way.

 

Interestingly, I hear my more conservative-leaning friends blame the current president for this seemingly sad state of affairs.  I hear my more liberal-leaning friends blame his predecessor.  As a semi-humble current events observer (emphasis on the “semi”), I suggest that neither is wholly responsible; each administration has at times embraced divisive rhetoric and employed intentional negativity to pursue their desired end goal, but the Intramuralist’s clear sense is that Presidents Obama and Bush 42 only added to the increasingly, polarized state — a state that has many of us turning off the news, avoiding our Facebook accounts, and wondering how in the world we will unify after one more election.

 

As shared previously amidst these postings, the Intramuralist believes the seeds of polarization were sewn decades ago.  The majority of my belief was discerned when reading, Common Ground, a book co-authored by the very liberal Bob Beckel and very conservative Cal Thomas.  Endorsed by both the now deceased, liberal George McGovern and conservative Jack Kemp, Common Ground encourages each of us to (1) end partisanship, and thus (2) “save America.”  The book is insightful, especially for those of us whose blood continues to boil as we watch the Washington wrangling intensify.

 

Beckel and Thomas contend this corrosive culture began in the 1970‘s.  According to the authors…

 

The size of the federal government grew under both Democratic and Republican presidents.  These new agencies and departments created a substantial increase in government rules and regulations, impacting citizens and businesses alike.  The growth of governments produced cadres of political activists who would descend on Washington, demanding (and getting) access to policy makers.  Activists working for change were countered by an increase in the number of people who worked to protect the status quo.  The result was a tenfold increase in the number of lobbyists and lawyers…

 

Something else happened on Carter’s watch that would feed polarization.  Congress, especially the House, began to change the structure of committees.  Important committees, including Ways and Means and Appropriations, established subcommittees with new chairmen.  New subcommittees meant more staffers and congressional hearings, which meant more lobbyists and special-interest groups would descend on Washington.

 

These activists, lawyers, lobbyists, and special-interest groups possess personal motivations in regard to singular agendas.  Polarization keeps their agenda alive.  The problem is that it also promotes skewed perspective.  Ask Presidents Clinton and Bush 42, who, according to Common Ground, served as “Polarization’s Poster Children.”  Ask Ann Coulter and Arianna Huffington, whose careers have thrived on it.  Ask Rush Limbaugh and David Axelrod, who daily employ it.  Or ask Robert Bork, whose career was derailed by it.  Again, according to our liberal and conservative authors:

 

The Bork battle [Reagan’s 2nd nominee for the Supreme Court] rewrote the rules for future nominees.  No longer were a potential jurist’s qualifications paramount; ideology and personal issues were now fair game.  After Bork, no Supreme Court nominee would be as candid in confirmation hearings as Bork had been.  The Bork defeat, as much as any other event, helped launch a new era of “the politics of personal destruction.”

 

My point this day is that while Obama and Bush have embraced the division — in order to fuel their own election — the intensifying [and dare I suggest, foolish] division was not initiated by either.  They have perhaps used and abused the situation, although it did not start with them.

 

Politics, schmolitics…

 

I’ll go back to turning off the news, avoiding my Facebook account, and yes, wondering how in the world we will unify after this election.

 

Respectfully,

AR

debating the football

Here comes the game again…  the lights are on… the stage is set… this should be interesting… the game of the night… the game of the month…

 

What will the refs be like?  … silent?  … deferring?  … biased?  Let’s hope not.  Replacement moderators just don’t seem all that effective.

 

Ah, blue for one team — red for the other.  Wait — there’s also some pink in there.  It is still October, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  The Intramuralist so appreciates how those on center stage still bring attention to someone other than self.

 

Ok, wait… here come the ground rules…  (Mr. Ref, they don’t listen to the rules; haven’t you noticed?  Haven’t you seen all that fighting at the bottom of the pile — all that scrapping and punching and grappling when the mics aren’t on?)

 

There went the coin flip.  The incumbent will go first.  (Nice posture, by the way, gentlemen… although too many stare downs on the line already… kind of creepy… what are they looking at — each other’s helmet?  … tie?)

 

Hmmm… the teams’ staring continues.  Strategists must have said, “You need to look right at the other team.”  Oooh… strategists must have also said, “Don’t look so mad,” but that one’s a little harder.

 

Keep your game face on!  Intimidate them!  But be sure to look confident and strong.

 

“I am strong,” the sigh seemed to say.

 

(Golly, that pronoun “I” came off a little strong there.)

 

Personal foul!  You can’t say that on television!  The world is watching.

 

Lining up again.  Next play.  Next question.  Here we go.

 

They are fighting… they are actually fighting!  Throw the flag!  Throw the flag!!

 

Ooops… there went the flag.  But once again, of course, the teams disagree on who the foul should be on.  They even disagree on what the foul should be about.

 

Unsportsmanlike conduct!  Yes, the whistle blows again.

 

Yikes, he was offsides there.  (Funny how they always deny it.)

 

Quit grabbing!  That’s holding!!

 

15 more yards… or was that seconds?  It’s hard to discern sometimes.

 

I, me, my, myself.

We hear that a lot in this format.  I’m stunned, in fact, at how much these leaders refer to themselves and their plethora of accomplishments.  Hmmm… I would think leadership equates to a little more humility.

 

Geepers… that sure seemed like an illegal block.  Then again, that can only be employed by the moder- – I mean, referee… that is, if the ref gets too involved.

 

A call for leadership… yes, I like that… responsible, ethical, knowledgeable, transparent, courageous, consistent, non-political…  humble, too… oh, wait… they aren’t that good at that.

 

Ah, invoking the name of those who’ve gone before us — those “Hall of Famers,” so-to-speak.  We can almost see the names on the back of the jerseys… J. Kennedy… R. Reagan… yes… invoke those names; it makes us feel better.  They also employ the names they believe will make us think lesser of the other team — or maybe that they’re a little weaker, less effective somehow…  J. Carter… G. Bush  (p.s. I can’t put of their other choice words in print).

 

Hey, teams, have you made any mistakes?  Can you admit it?  What personal fouls will you acknowledge you committed?

 

Are you kidding?!  We only acknowledge fouls that are visible and proven!

 

And that, my friends, is what’s wrong with Monday Night Football… I mean, the presidential debate… I mean, football…

 

Sometimes it’s hard to tell…

 

Respectfully,

AR

missing the coffee shop

I have this friend.

She thinks a little different than me.

She is, in fact, a reader of this blog.  I so appreciate her opinion!

 

But news flash:  her opinion is often different than mine.

 

Many a time my friend and I have met at the local coffee shop.  We have talked and bantered and chilled and sometimes conversed for hours.  Sometimes we’ve just laughed.  We’ve intentionally avoided no issue.  And never have we said, “Ok, we’re just going to have to agree to disagree,” because never has there been an issue we couldn’t talk about.

 

Do we always feel the same?

 

Of course not.

 

But on those issues when she’s felt one way and I’ve felt another, we’ve had the guts and integrity and courage and sincerity to say “tell me why you feel that way.”

 

And then we do this outrageous thing:  we listen.

 

Follow me here…  One of my teenage sons often attempts to tell me he’s actually, truly listening.  “I’m listening!  I hear you.”  To which I typically, semi-humbly retort, “To listen does not mean to simply hear.  To listen means to both hear and consider.”

 

My coffee shop friend and I both hear and consider.

 

The challenge in the way our political system has evolved is that far too many people are discouraging the coffee shop.

 

And even more discouraging is that the people most discouraging of the coffee shop are not people like my friend and me…  it’s not our families nor extended families… it’s not even our friends and social circles.

 

The persons who most discourage the coffee shop conversation?

 

The candidates themselves.

 

The candidates encourage division.  The candidates have something to gain from division.  Yes, you heard me correctly.  The current President of the United States and his primary challenger are intentionally attempting to divide us.  The more they can distinguish their differences and separate themselves from their opponent — the more likely they believe we are to vote for them.  And so they must vehemently frown upon coffee shop meetings.

 

You see the purpose of the coffee shop is to dispel impure notions and intentionally work at understanding different opinion.  Allow me to share a brief example…

 

On Thursday, last week Hollywood actress, Eva Longoria, tweeted to the world that she has “no idea why any woman/minority can vote for Romney.  You have to be stupid to vote for such a racist/misogynistic.”

 

Now let the record show that even though many are passionate in their opinion, there are no facts nor a majority of opinion that prove either Gov. Romney or Pres. Obama are racist or yada yada yada [insert disrespectful name here].  Hence, Ms. Longoria’s opinion is exactly that:  her opinion.  To say she has “no idea” how someone could possess an opinion different than hers tells me one primary thing…

 

Ms. Longoria has never spent time in the coffee shop.

 

How impure and disturbing it is that our candidates discourage what is good; they discourage what is good for their own, self-serving benefit.  That is foolish.

 

With less than 3 weeks until this country takes its next national vote, allow me to encourage what our so-called “leaders” will not… what fair-weathered Facebook friends may not… and what partisan pundits cannot…

 

Meet me at the coffee shop.  Good stuff happens there.

 

Respectfully,

AR

oh! the places you’ll go

(With all due respect to Dr. Seuss, Big Bird, Green Eggs, Ham, the Muppets, etc.)

 

Congratulations!  Today is your day.

You’re off to Great Places!  You’re off and away!

 

You have brains in your head.  You have feet in your shoes.

You can steer yourself, any direction you choose.

You’re on your own.  And you know what you know.

And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

 

Oh, yes, we’re off to great places.

As some would argue, “There’s no position that’s greater.”

For you see you’ve been chosen

To be the next debate moderator.

 

You’ll look at the topics.  Look ’em over with care.

About some you will say, “I don’t choose to go there.”

With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet,

You’re too smart to go down any not-so-good street.

 

And you may not find any, you’ll want to go down.

In that case, of course, you’ll head straight out of town.

 

Like Lehrer and Raddatz and CNN’s Candy,

Each who was slammed for being something less than dandy.

Jim was too silent; Martha deferring;

And Crowley on Libyan ambiguity was for some reason confirming.

 

It’s opener there in the wide open air.

Out there things can happen and frequently do

to people who think they’s so brainy as you.

And when things start to happen, don’t worry.  Don’t stew.

Just go right along.  You’ll start happening, too.

 

But when they talk over their allotted time, as they’ll so obviously do

Please have the guts to tell them to be quiet.  And shoo.

 

Oh, it disturbs me how this system has evolved

Too much money, attack ads — and individual responsibility absolved.

The candidates come in with their pre-determined thoughts

Avoiding the questions, like no always-ethical leader ought.

 

Do they really, truly not comprehend our questions?

Or did their campaign simply have better talking point suggestions?

 

Why do they ramble and talk over time?

Why does no one keep them in line?

 

Yet each partisan camp will declare them the winner

While subtly inferring their opponent is some merciless sinner.

 

Geepers.  Geepers.  Watch out, friend.

To this game of spin there will be no end.

 

Can you believe this election is a bit of a game?

And the partisan camps, they are to blame?

They are divisive and rude — with straight-forward answers too late.

Don’t even get me started on all they exaggerate.

 

Can you believe the winner will our country then direct?

Even though he can’t treat his opponent with respect?

 

But as for this debate, when each finds victory still in doubt,

They’ll shudder and shift…  “It was the moderator!” they’ll shout.

 

OH!

THE PLACES YOU’LL GO!

 

Yes, to some place greater…

Hopefully, hopefully…

If you’re not the moderator.

 

Respectfully… always… with a little tongue in cheek…

AR

incivility

Sunday’s top story from the Cincinnati Enquirer was entitled “The Insidious Rise of Rudeness.”  The publication reports…

 

Incivility no longer is just about being annoyed over petulant politicians, road rage, violent behavior at sporting events, intrusive cellphone usage, online abuses or TV shows that move the taste meter ever lower.

 

In a new Enquirer Poll, more than one in seven Greater Cincinnatians say they had experiences so bad over the past year that they actually ended a friendship.

 

Nearly 40 percent have encountered incivility in their day-to-day lives, and about one in five has experienced uncivil conduct in the workplace. More than a quarter admit to having been uncivil themselves, either deliberately or unintentionally.

 

Shocking?

 

The Intramuralist thinks not.

 

We live in an age where disrespect is not indigenous to innocence nor ignorance.  Many adults intentionally employ incivility as a justified response — typically based upon how they feel

 

Such as the football fans in Kansas City who cheered one week ago when their starting (and poor-performing) quarterback lay motionless — with a head injury — on the ground…

 

Such as the sitting Vice President smirking and laughing at his opponent, Paul Ryan, even when the subject was so serious and sobering…

 

Such as the honks, hand-motions, and disrespectful comments or calls we each feel justified to make about other people — again, typically based upon how we feel

 

What’s the cause, dare we ask?

 

According to the Enquirer’s poll, 54% of respondents believe politicians or government officials have been a significant cause; over 50% believe the media has played a negative role; 31% include blame for “ordinary people”; approximately 24% suggest young people are also part of the problem; and near 20% believe celebrities have directly triggered the changes in American incivility.

 

Dare the Intramuralist offer an additional potential cause…

 

Last week we shared some recent polling results from the Pew Research Center.  The article was entitled “Nones on the Rise.”  Within the polling data, we shared that now one-in-five adults identify with no religious affiliation.  As I believe well stated within our online dialogue, it is true that not all of the kindest, most giving people are found within the stereotypical church walls.  Yet there remains a problem.

 

If our adults and young adults are not in church, where do they learn morals and manners and the rules that are so-called “golden”?  Where do they learn about forgiveness and grace and the unconditional love we are to offer one another?  Can we assume that all parents will be teaching that love?  Or do morals and manners and all else that is good simply change with the times, allowing for emotional responses that are seemingly more justified in the moment?

 

… responses such as incivility…

 

I wonder.  I wonder if the insidious rise of rudeness has any correlation with the diminishing respect for religion.  Too much incivility is somehow seemingly justified…  justified by far too many, otherwise intelligent people.

 

Respectfully,

AR

nonverbals

Those who have long been loyal royal watchers will remember the photos…

 

Gone was the seemingly innocent, inner joy.  The smile had faded.  So had the warm glances in her one time prince’s direction.  As her public appearances increasingly lacked her infectious smile and persona, Princess Diana’s body language began to communicate what she couldn’t — wouldn’t — or perhaps didn’t want to verbally articulate.  Her nonverbal behavior conveyed something deeper… something more.  It began to tell us that royal as it was, her marriage was in trouble.  What Diana didn’t say told us more than what she actually did.

 

Nonverbal behavior is perhaps in some sense, a language all its own.  It is at times deeper and at times different than anything spoken.  It is at times more powerful and poignant.  Perhaps it’s why a picture is worth a thousand words.  Nonverbal behavior is a picture that either confirms or contradicts our message.

 

Such as…

 

When JFK, Jr. saluted his father as the coffin passed by him.  Then only 3, John John stepped forward, raising his arm, staring intently.

 

What did his nonverbal behavior convey?

 

An honor and love for his dad.

 

Or when…

 

Since December of 1993 — when LeRoy Butler, who scored after a Reggie White fumble recovery and lateral against the then L.A. Raiders — and later popularized by receiver, Robert Brooks — many Green Bay Packers jump into the end zone stands after scoring a touchdown.  The move is affectionately referred to as the “Lambeau Leap.”

 

What does this nonverbal behavior convey?

 

A joy and celebration of the points scored.

 

Or when…

 

The tanks rolled into Tiananmen Square in June of 1989.  As Chinese protestors were being forcibly removed by the Communist government, an anonymous man positioned himself in the middle of the street as the tanks approached.  He stood still directly in the armored vehicles’ path, waving at the tanks with 2 shopping bags.

 

What did his nonverbal behavior convey?

 

A courage and coming in peace.

 

Last week at the vice-presidential debate in Danville, Kentucky, much post-debate commentary on both the news networks and social media centered not around substance — which both candidates significantly offered — but instead on the nonverbal behavior of the current vice president.

 

Granted, for some reason, the U.S. continues to elect vice-presidents who have some extremely prominent quirk (regardless of party affiliation) that makes many question the leader’s actual credibility.  For yes, on this night, VP Joe Biden laughed heartily, repeatedly, and consistently when Rep. Paul Ryan was speaking.  It was odd.  The most unusual aspect from the Intramuralist’s perspective was that Biden laughed out loud and smiled hugely even when the subject was as sobering as people out of work or Iran building a nuclear bomb.

 

What did his nonverbal behavior convey?

 

What couldn’t he, wouldn’t he, or didn’t he want to verbally articulate?  Was his nonverbal communication more powerful and poignant?  Did it confirm or contradict his message?  And I wonder if what Joe Biden didn’t say tells us more than what he actually did.

 

Great questions.  I can’t tell.

 

Respectfully,

AR

nones on the rise

On Tuesday, the following report was released from the Pew Research Center:

 

“Nones” on the Rise

One-in-Five Adults Have No Religious Affiliation

 

“The number of Americans who do not identify with any religion continues to grow at a rapid pace.  One-fifth of the U.S. public – and a third of adults under 30 – are religiously unaffiliated today, the highest percentages ever in Pew Research Center polling.  In the last five years alone, the unaffiliated have increased from just over 15% to just under 20% of all U.S. adults.  Their ranks now include more than 13 million self-described atheists and agnostics (nearly 6% of the U.S. public), as well as nearly 33 million people who say they have no particular religious affiliation (14%).

 

This large and growing group of Americans is less religious than the public at large on many conventional measures, including frequency of attendance at religious services and the degree of importance they attach to religion in their lives.

 

However, a new survey by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life, conducted jointly with the PBS television program Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly, finds that many of the country’s 46 million unaffiliated adults are religious or spiritual in some way.  Two-thirds of them say they believe in God (68%).  More than half say they often feel a deep connection with nature and the earth (58%), while more than a third classify themselves as ‘spiritual’ but not ‘religious’ (37%), and one-in-five (21%) say they pray every day.  In addition, most religiously unaffiliated Americans think that churches and other religious institutions benefit society by strengthening community bonds and aiding the poor.

 

With few exceptions, though, the unaffiliated say they are not looking for a religion that would be right for them.  Overwhelmingly, they think that religious organizations are too concerned with money and power, too focused on rules and too involved in politics.”

 

Without thinking too extensively or deeply, the Intramuralist can easily conjure up a spontaneous ‘amen.’  Religious organizations have focused too much on rules and have been too involved in politics.  Religious organizations haven’t always been good at communicating the grace and forgiveness that accompanies the faith, and…

 

… but wait…

 

Not all “religious organizations” nor “religions” actually contain a doctrine of grace.  And regarding this massive involvement – this too tangled up in politics idea – not all religions respect a government separated from faith.

 

Fascinatingly, therefore, is the study of religion.  Only through objective study do we see that in Islam, for example, there exists no separation of church and state; that’s why many remain legitimately concerned about the rise of Islamic governance, as witnessed by the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.  Yet as we contrast the truths of Christianity, I see a call to respect both government and the faith.  I also see massive, unparalleled amounts of grace called to be applied… given to us… exhorted to give to one another.  Then arises a seemingly huge “a-Ha!” – observing that it’s typically some of the “religious” who are more unattractive than the actual “religion.”

 

Yet as I allow myself to think both more extensively and deeply about the Pew report, I find my “amen” quickly subsiding, unfortunately ceding to an instead, sobering sadness.  One in five.  That could be one person in our households.  Two or three in our extended family.  Five in our small business.  The people that we meet on the street each day.

 

So I continue with objective analysis.  It is then that I become uncomfortable with a promotion of government that in its embracing of constitutional adherence believes any mention of faith is inappropriate.  In other words, I wonder if our government’s often strict separation – as increasingly evidenced in the judicial branch – has swung the pendulum of moderation so far the other way that now not only is there separation between church and state, but we are to give no mention… no credit… no even remote acknowledgement that the God of the universe might actually have something to do with what’s happening on planet Earth.

 

And we wonder why the “nones” are on the rise…

 

I don’t have to wonder too much more nor too extensively nor deeply.  If as a nation, we cannot even mention the importance religion has played in this country, it’s no wonder we have trouble doing the same in our own lives.

 

Respectfully…

AR

yes means yes

So how do we do it?  How do we ensure that our ‘yes’ means ‘yes’ and our ‘no’ means ‘no’?

 

“And don’t say anything you don’t mean. This counsel is embedded deep in our traditions. You only make things worse when you lay down a smoke screen of pious talk, saying, ‘I’ll pray for you,’ and never doing it, or saying, ‘God be with you,’ and not meaning it. You don’t make your words true by embellishing them… Just say ‘yes’ and ‘no.’  When you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong.”

 

Why do we have such a hard time telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth?

 

Or perhaps better said:  why are we so tempted to distort the details?

 

Wouldn’t we have more respect for the person who leveled with us — who didn’t attempt to manipulate the facts and therefore manipulate the impressions we possess?

 

As most of us are aware, last week was the first presidential candidate debate.  It was watched by an approximate 60 million people.  It has also been widely reported that Gov. Romney exhibited a clear, superior performance; in fact, according to Gallup, Mitt Romney won the debate by a jaw-dropping 52-point margin — the most resounding margin since the independent polling company began tracking debates 20 years ago.

 

Now let’s be clear, friends; there is no reason for Romney surrogates or supporters to initiate any attempt at a victory dance.  This was the first of three presidential debates and one vice presidential sound off.  This is also only one of many aspects and incidents that influence the eventual outcome.

 

And yet…

 

Instead of acknowledging Romney’s clear, better debate performance, several Obama surrogates and supporters attempted to steer the conversation elsewhere; they attempted to distort the details.

 

From Obama spokeswoman, Stephanie Cutter…

“I sometimes wondered if we even needed a moderator because we had Mitt Romney.”  [… blaming the moderator…]

 

From senior advisor, David Plouffe…

“He [John Kerry, Obama’s debate preparer] couldn’t keep his pupil in the seat… We thought being an older, white rich guy, him and Mitt Romney would have a lot in common. We didn’t take into account that John married money, twice, and Mitt earned his through capitalistic thievery.”  [… blaming the debate coach…]

 

 

Campaign advisor, David Axelrod, blamed Romney.

Filmmaker, Michael Moore, also blamed John Kerry.

David Letterman blamed George W. Bush (with yes, his tongue semi-in-cheek).

 

But the most obvious distorter?

 

Former Vice-President Al Gore…

“I’m going to say something controversial here.  Obama arrived in Denver at 2 p.m. today, just a few hours before the debate started.  Romney did his debate prep in Denver.  When you go to 5,000 feet, and you only have a few hours to adjust. I don’t know…”

 

Yes, Al Gore blamed the altitude.

 

Friends, while many of the undecided were undoubtedly influenced, most of us won’t be voting for one candidate or the other solely based on last week’s debate performance.  But note to all:  please have the decency to be honest — to let your ‘yes’ mean ‘yes’ — to refrain from distorting the details in order to serve your own purpose.  “When you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong.”  That was obvious after last week’s debate.

 

Respectfully… always…

AR

throwing trash

Nearing the end of the first playoff game of the 2012 MLB postseason, one of baseball’s historically most controversial calls was made…

 

With 1 out and 2 base runners, the Atlanta Braves were threatening the 3 run lead of the St. Louis Cardinals.  A ball was then hit to short left field, where the shortstop ran backwards quickly to make the catch while the left fielder also sprinted in.  At the last moment, the shortstop backed away, and the ball hit the ground.  No catch.  The crowd went wild!  The bases were now loaded.  Except…

 

Lost in the crowd’s newfound exuberance was that the left field line umpire had called the Texas-league-looking blooper an ‘infield fly,’ meaning the hitter was out and no runners may advance.  The rule exists so that a defensive player doesn’t allow the ball to drop intentionally, in order to catch the runners in a double play.  Hence, after the call, there was little more threatening of the Cardinals’ lead.

 

As said multiple times recently amidst these posts, this is not a sports blog.  We will not be dissecting the perils and pitfalls of the infield fly rule.  Instead, my desire this day is to focus on the crowd’s reaction.  What did they do?  What every disappointed, discouraged, and semi-organized group of people seems to do these days…  as for 19 minutes, play was halted.

 

Bottles and cans went flying on the field.  The crowd went wild once more.

 

People were throwing trash — passionately dispensing their litter all over the field.

 

Here’s today’s zillion dollar question:  when do we ‘throw trash’?

 

When do we dispense litter —  all in the name of passion?  … emotion?

 

After Wednesday night’s presidential candidate debate, we witnessed a lot of trash….

 

“That moderator was terrible… he lied… how dare he pick on Big Bird… the altitude — that’s what caused the problem — that’s why the President looked so incredibly inarticulate…”

 

Yes, when we can’t logic our way out of things, we throw our trash on the field.

 

Watch out, friends, I have bad news for you…

 

When people can’t win on the objective alone, they become emotional; they begin to play dirty; they start throwing trash.

 

After the initial presidential debate — when by all accounts, Gov. Romney soared and Pres. Obama looked lost in thumbing through economic explanation — the Intramuralist sadly predicts, we will be encouraged to throw more trash.  The campaigns are about to start playing dirty.

 

News alert:  if you think that only the Obama campaign will play dirty, you are naive.

 

Also:  if you think that only the Romney campaign will play dirty, you are equally naive.

 

This is the dire state that the American political process has evolved into.  Both the Obama and Romney campaigns will now play dirty.  The President looked terrible on Wednesday.  He looked as if he had little comprehension of economic issues — seemingly articulately lost without without a teleprompter and script; my sense is his campaign will subtly suggest he has little other choice.  The Governor will most likely play equally dirty.  The reality is that dirty, character-smearing politics works.  That’s sad.  It’s sad that the watching public succumbs so easily.

 

Here we go, friends… a month ‘til we vote.  Thank God it will soon be over.  No longer will have to listen to our Facebook friends justify calling one or another any derogatory part of the human anatomy.  I have trouble with that.  It’s disrespectful.  It’s most representative of the name-caller’s own foolishness.  Egad.

 

Watch out.  Just like in Atlanta, self-serving, political operatives will be encouraging us to delay the game… shout profanities… and throw our trash.

 

Respectfully,

AR

your turn

So today is an open invitation…  just like all days, you are free to comment, although today, I want to wholeheartedly encourage you.  This is your opportunity to influence and encourage one another.

 

What issues are driving your vote this November?  What concerns you?

 

My desire this day is to have you write the blog.

 

The ground rules are this:

1.  As always, be respectful.  That means no disparaging terms describing any candidate, person, or people group.

2.  Be brief.  In order to have an interactive discussion that informs and challenges, let’s try not to talk too much, but rather, get to the point.  Sometimes we say more with fewer words.

3.  Be factual and specific.  Too many people base their concern (and their vote) on perspectives beginning with “it seems like” or “I feel.”  The oversight with that approach is that individual experience often trumps truth. I would encourage you as much as possible to be factual and objective, remembering that a subjective approach has significant potential to distort reality.

4.  If sharing any external link, utilize an objective source.  Hence, nothing from MSNBC or rushlimbaugh.com, for example, qualifies as objective.  And…

5.  Be witty.  It’s actually not a ground rule.  I just appreciate wit.

 

Ok, friends, comment.  Drive the discussion.  What issues concern you most this coming election?

 

Respectfully,

AR