Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Are You a Political Warrior?

 

When I first came to Ricochet, I was baffled at how people engaged so seriously in political discussion. I mean, it’s just politics—right?

As discussions got especially rabid and polarized over the entry of Donald Trump, I found myself feeling compelled to take sides. At the same time, I was trying to keep up with the destructive efforts of the Left and the media. What in the world was going on?

On several Ricochet posts I questioned people about their hostility within the entire political arena. They explained that it had always been a contentious environment. Cooperation only meant who caved in first, and the most often.

I began to realize that this was not just a hostile arena. Although many people refused to call the dynamics a “civil war,” the news reported the violence of antifa, and the hateful accusations and lies used to bludgeon people on the other side (of wherever their particular party sat). Sans weapons, it was definitely a war.

With that realization, I recognized how I had changed. Slowly but surely, I had become more and more frustrated with the unwillingness of people to look at all the facts, with their preference to create stories out of whole cloth. I’d never seen the media so vicious and obsessed, the commentary repeated over and over like the lines in a tragic play or horror movie. I began to write my own rants, rail against the distortions of facts and the damage that was happening to people, to their lives and their families. I had to let my own political warrior emerge.

What does that mean? I discovered a part of me that feels compelled to fight against injustice in the political arena. People who had once seemed over the top in their writing were suddenly my partners in the fight. I also found (at least in my own experience) that many people were focusing on the serious issues at hand: betrayals by our intelligence agencies, by the previous administration, by the media; a refusal to acknowledge any of the accomplishments of Donald Trump, or discounting their relevance to our country. I was angry. I felt betrayed. And I felt compelled, even obligated, to speak out against the lies and to encourage the Republicans to fight. Fight!

I don’t like to fight—at least not if I don’t have to fight. I’d rather talk things out, build relationships, find a way to work together. But I can’t even imagine trying to do that with people on the Left, not even my own friends.

Have I changed? If I’ve changed, is it permanent? I don’t feel more violent. I still seem to have my core that is settled, balanced, and thoughtful. But I’ve discovered a part of me that, when the situation calls for it, I will fight. Maybe my training in using a gun has contributed to my outlook. There is still a part of me that wants all the hatefulness, betrayals and deceptions to just go away, even though I know they won’t.

 

* * * *

 

Has the political environment changed you? Are you sitting on the sidelines, watching but trying to avoid the ugliness that permeates the current actions? Are you at the other extreme, fighting back or picking fights to call out injustice? Or are you somewhere in the middle, trying to find your own balance of listening and learning, as well as fighting for truth, integrity, fairness and the Constitution?

 

* * * * *

 

I know my own limitations. I couldn’t be a member of the military; I don’t have the courage and constitution for it. I’d make a lousy politician; I’d be kicked out of most gatherings for misbehavior. But I can write; I can speak out; I can represent ideas that support our Constitution and condemn those who would destroy it. I am a political warrior.

What about you?

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  1. Stad Thatcher

    Politics has always been a rough and tumble game. We would no doubt be shocked to see and hear what the Founding Fathers said about each other after the Constitution became operational.

    I know people want civility, but both sides must agree to it. The left has been uncivil for ages now, and it’s about time we get someone (Trump) who also likes wrestling in the mud with them.

    Boy, do I miss Jesse Helms . . .

    • #1
    • October 27, 2019, at 8:15 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  2. DonG (skeptic) Coolidge

    I have not changed, but the style of “fighting” has changed. It is not so much about policy details these days, but more about tribal existence. A binary tribal fight is not useful and takes away from the fight to find solutions to problems. Jonathan Swift captured my feelings in Gulliver’s Travels.

    The novel further describes an intra-Lilliputian quarrel over the practice of breaking eggs. Traditionally, Lilliputians broke boiled eggs on the larger end; a few generations ago, an Emperor of Lilliput, the Present Emperor’s great-grandfather, had decreed that all eggs be broken on the smaller end after his son cut himself breaking the egg on the larger end. The differences between Big-Endians (those who broke their eggs at the larger end) and Little-Endians had given rise to “six rebellions … wherein one Emperor lost his life, and another his crown”. The Lilliputian religion says an egg should be broken on the convenient end, which is now interpreted by the Lilliputians as the smaller end. The Big-Endians gained favour in Blefuscu.

    • #2
    • October 27, 2019, at 8:24 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  3. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    DonG (View Comment):

    I have not changed, but the style of “fighting” has changed. It is not so much about policy details these days, but more about tribal existence. A binary tribal fight is not useful and takes away from the fight to find solutions to problems. Jonathan Swift captured my feelings in Gulliver’s Travels.

    The novel further describes an intra-Lilliputian quarrel over the practice of breaking eggs. Traditionally, Lilliputians broke boiled eggs on the larger end; a few generations ago, an Emperor of Lilliput, the Present Emperor’s great-grandfather, had decreed that all eggs be broken on the smaller end after his son cut himself breaking the egg on the larger end. The differences between Big-Endians (those who broke their eggs at the larger end) and Little-Endians had given rise to “six rebellions … wherein one Emperor lost his life, and another his crown”. The Lilliputian religion says an egg should be broken on the convenient end, which is now interpreted by the Lilliputians as the smaller end. The Big-Endians gained favour in Blefuscu.

    Well said, @dong! That’s a fascinating way to describe the situation. I also like the sentence above that I bolded. Solutions in these times are irrelevant.

    • #3
    • October 27, 2019, at 8:27 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  4. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Stad (View Comment):

    Politics has always been a rough and tumble game. We would no doubt be shocked to see and hear what the Founding Fathers said about each other after the Constitution became operational.

    I know people want civility, but both sides must agree to it. The left has been uncivil for ages now, and it’s about time we get someone (Trump) who also likes wrestling in the mud with them.

    Boy, do I miss Jesse Helms . . .

    I hate mud. Didn’t even make mud pies when I was little. But these are desperate times!

    • #4
    • October 27, 2019, at 8:28 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  5. Rodin Member

    I used to take comfort in the adage that the most intense conflicts are over small differences. No more. The differences are not small, but the conflict is intense. “Climate change” is not an existential threat, but denial of liberty is. The constitution is under all-out threat from open borders, to weaponization of the bureaucracy, to denial of civil rights secured in the Bill of Rights — all in service to the desire for power by Progressives. What they are willing to do when denied power has been a wonder to behold, and an object lesson in why they should be not just denied power but routed completely. This is our own Punic War. It has been made clear there is room only for Carthage or Rome. One will be laid desolate and the ground salted. Pray it is not our Constitution.

    • #5
    • October 27, 2019, at 9:30 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
  6. MarciN Member

    I’ve been watching the Poldark Masterpiece Theater series the last few weeks. It’s based on the novels of Winston Graham that he wrote between 1945 and 1953. Poldark takes place in the coastal town of Cornwall located on the sparsely populated southernmost tip of England, and London. The main character, Captain Ross Poldark, served in the British army during the American Revolutionary War. The story starts with his return home to Cornwall in 1783, and it ends in 1800 or 1801.

    I’m really enjoying the story–it’s a typical British production in that it is pretty raunchy in some parts, but I’ve been watching it on my computer so I fast-forward through those parts. It’s got an interesting subtext that is a very similar story to It’s a Wonderful Life, my favorite movie. Ross Poldark’s cousin George, a mean banker just like Henry F. Potter in It’s a Wonderful Life, is a very bad and manipulative person who constantly hurts Ross Poldark and his family and friends.

    Had this been set in the American Wild West, the series would have ended after the first three episodes because Ross would have shot George, and that would have been the end of it. Instead, because of law and politics, such conflicts as those between Ross and George drag on for decades and hurt hundreds of people on the periphery of George’s social circle.

    Is politics better than a chronic civil war? Would life be better if Ross simply shot George? That’s pretty much the overarching question the Poldark series asks. The story plays out in the context of the French Revolution, which was in full force at that time. The revolution was so awful that it scared the heck out of England. Wars take on a lawless life of their own after a while, they tend to spread, and they unleash evils that humanity cannot bear.

    Like everyone else in the Masterpiece Theater audience, I’ve decided it’s better to drag things out in the courts and political arenas than to simply shoot George. :-)

    • #6
    • October 27, 2019, at 10:06 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  7. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Rodin (View Comment):
    It has been made clear there is room only for Carthage or Rome. One will be laid desolate and the ground salted. Pray it is not our Constitution.

    I keep worrying that I’m indulging in hyperbole. For so long, people have been saying that this country has always had ups and downs. But I fear this has gone beyond the “usual” and it has me deeply worried. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, @rodin.

    • #7
    • October 27, 2019, at 10:08 AM PDT
    • Like
  8. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    MarciN (View Comment):
    Like everyone else in the Masterpiece Theater audience, I’ve decided it’s better to drag things out in the courts and political arenas than to simply shoot George. :-) 

    Unfortunately, @marcin, there are many, many Georges. Where would we start?? ;-)

    • #8
    • October 27, 2019, at 10:11 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  9. MichaelKennedy Coolidge

    MarciN (View Comment):
    Like everyone else in the Masterpiece Theater audience, I’ve decided it’s better to drag things out in the courts and political arenas than to simply shoot George. :-)

    I wonder if you have discovered the novels of Andrew Wareham. He is an interesting guy. Born and raised in England, has a degree in Economic History which he taught for ten years. Then he spent ten years in Papua New Guinea as a policeman. He writes about periods from the “American War” to World War II. His research is meticulous and I have spent many hours reading up on his characters, many of whom aren real people.

    He reminds me of WEB Griffin whose novels also have meticulous detail although more are about his personal history in the Army in Korea and with the Army aviation program.

    • #9
    • October 27, 2019, at 1:01 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  10. MichaelKennedy Coolidge

    I think the level of hostility really got going in 2000 with the tied election. I was not a Bush fan; I supported McCain in the primary, and was sort of neutral between Bush and Gore who I had read was more level headed than his environmentalism suggested. I blame Rove for the tie as he must have advised Bush to conceal the DUI. That, in my opinion, depressed turnout among evangelicals, whose support would otherwise have been Bush’s. The battle after the election radicalized a lot of people. I think it drove Gore insane.

    The 2004 election brought out the rage. I used to read and comment on leftist blogs, like Washington Monthly, where Kevin Drum posted. About that time, commenters got very personal, going to my own blog to find things about me and my family to attack. I have never been anonymous, being long retired. Soon after the vicious comments began, I was banned. The precipitating event was my disagreement that single payer would be a good solution for health care reform. There were no arguments on policy. It just got person al and nasty. As that is a subject I know quite a bit about and have studied, there was little attempt to engage on policy.

    That has continued as a pattern.

    • #10
    • October 27, 2019, at 1:11 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  11. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):

    I think the level of hostility really got going in 2000 with the tied election. I was not a Bush fan; I supported McCain in the primary, and was sort of neutral between Bush and Gore who I had read was more level headed than his environmentalism suggested. I blame Rove for the tie as he must have advised Bush to conceal the DUI. That, in my opinion, depressed turnout among evangelicals, whose support would otherwise have been Bush’s. The battle after the election radicalized a lot of people. I think it drove Gore insane.

    The 2004 election brought out the rage. I used to read and comment on leftist blogs, like Washington Monthly, where Kevin Drum posted. About that time, commenters got very personal, going to my own blog to find things about me and my family to attack. I have never been anonymous, being long retired. Soon after the vicious comments began, I was banned. The precipitating event was my disagreement that single payer would be a good solution for health care reform. There were no arguments on policy. It just got person al and nasty. As that is a subject I know quite a bit about and have studied, there was little attempt to engage on policy.

    That has continued as a pattern.

    I’m so sorry, @michaelkennedy. Terrible for you and your family. What were you banned from?

    • #11
    • October 27, 2019, at 1:23 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  12. Stad Thatcher

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    I hate mud. Didn’t even make mud pies when I was little. But these are desperate times!

    When life hands you lemons, make lemonade. When the opposition hands you mud . . .

    • #12
    • October 27, 2019, at 1:39 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  13. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Stad (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    I hate mud. Didn’t even make mud pies when I was little. But these are desperate times!

    When life hands you lemons, make lemonade. When the opposition hands you mud . . .

    . . . well-l-l. . . .?

    • #13
    • October 27, 2019, at 1:40 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  14. Phil Turmel Coolidge

    I am a political warrior. It took a decade or so of noticing (mostly) little injustices and (mostly) big media lies. I eventually realized that the adage “you may not be interested in politics, but politics is surely interested in you” was describing an existential battle. Progressives not only want total, tyrannical power, but have figured out that ignorance of the populace is a vital tool in their toolbelt.

    The best example of this, in my humble opinion, is Godwin’s law. Yeah, it seems a nice way to silence extremists, but what it really does is prevent casual exposure of the roots of fascism in the left. Particular the parts where Mussolini and later, Hitler, compliment Woodrow Wilson for developing the wonderful policy ideas they are implementing.

    • #14
    • October 27, 2019, at 2:29 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  15. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Phil Turmel (View Comment):

    I am a political warrior. It took a decade or so of noticing (mostly) little injustices and (mostly) big media lies. I eventually realized that the adage “you may not be interested in politics, but politics is surely interested in you” was describing an existential battle. Progressives not only want total, tyrannical power, but have figured out that ignorance of the populace is a vital tool in their toolbelt.

    The best example of this, in my humble opinion, is Godwin’s law. Yeah, it seems a nice way to silence extremists, but what it really does is prevent casual exposure of the roots of fascism in the left. Particular the parts where Mussolini and later, Hitler, compliment Woodrow Wilson for developing the wonderful policy ideas they are implementing.

    Great points, @philturmel. I think we need to develop better armor against insults and idiocy. We have to attack their hyperbole, state the truth, and state our positions–not for them, because they do not care, but for our own constituency. While we do that, we need to shine a light on their lies and distortions.

    • #15
    • October 27, 2019, at 3:18 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  16. Phil Turmel Coolidge

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    state our positions–not for them, because they do not care, but for our own constituency

    This is vital. Even here on Ricochet, it is important to state one’s position completely and clearly, even if one knows one’s interlocutor doesn’t care and won’t change their mind, for the sake of the passers-by and lurkers who haven’t yet seen (or heard) it.

    I am willing to engage the true believers, even in public, because some in the vicinity aren’t true believers, and can be persuaded. (Granted, not when it’s a mob carrying pitchforks. I’ll be busy checking my firearms…)

    • #16
    • October 27, 2019, at 3:30 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  17. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Phil Turmel (View Comment):
    I’ll be busy checking my firearms…)

    I’ll be right behind you!

    Thank you for reminding me that repetition might reach those who haven’t seen earlier discussions. I do get annoyed sometimes, with hearing the same things repeated. But you are correct. Darn.

    • #17
    • October 27, 2019, at 3:40 PM PDT
    • Like
  18. Jim George Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    MarciN (View Comment):
    Like everyone else in the Masterpiece Theater audience, I’ve decided it’s better to drag things out in the courts and political arenas than to simply shoot George. :-)

    Unfortunately, @marcin, there are many, many Georges. Where would we start?? ;-)

    Please, please, I implore you– don’t shoot all the Georges! There are still a few good ones left! :-) Jim George

    • #18
    • October 27, 2019, at 5:46 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  19. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Jim George (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    MarciN (View Comment):
    Like everyone else in the Masterpiece Theater audience, I’ve decided it’s better to drag things out in the courts and political arenas than to simply shoot George. :-)

    Unfortunately, @marcin, there are many, many Georges. Where would we start?? ;-)

    Please, please, I implore you– don’t shoot all the Georges! There are still a few good ones left! :-) Jim George

    Don’t worry, @jimgeorge. You’re such a passionate political warrior, we will protect you!

    • #19
    • October 27, 2019, at 5:52 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  20. MichaelKennedy Coolidge

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    What were you banned from?

    Just leftist blogs. No loss. This is pretty common. They are really in a bubble.

    • #20
    • October 27, 2019, at 6:14 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  21. Mark Camp Member

    Now look what you’ve started.

    • #21
    • October 27, 2019, at 6:16 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  22. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    Now look what you’ve started.

    Wha-a-a-t?

    • #22
    • October 27, 2019, at 6:22 PM PDT
    • Like
  23. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Susan Quinn: Has the political environment changed you? Are you sitting on the sidelines, watching but trying to avoid the ugliness that permeates the current actions? Are you at the other extreme, fighting back or picking fights to call out injustice? Or are you somewhere in the middle, trying to find your own balance of listening and learning, as well as fighting for truth, integrity, fairness and the Constitution?

    I am more politically involved than I used to be. For decades I would go to my Republican precinct caucus and county convention, and make the occasional donation and that was about it. Starting 4-5 years ago I started going to the monthly county Republican meetings and in time became a Director on the board. I’ve gone to the district convention a few times and to the state convention once. So although I’m more active, I’m still philosophically in the same place I’ve been for a long time. 

    I do not put the Republican Party on a pedestal. I am disgusted that the party that wailed about fiscal irresponsibility while Obama was president has passed equally bloated budgets. And I do not hold that to be a Democrat is to be evil. In a very small way, I’m trying to help elect Republicans in my state but I’m under no illusions that all Republicans want small government and fidelity to the Constitution as much as I do. I can’t claim to be a political warrior, but maybe I’m an Army clerk .

    • #23
    • October 27, 2019, at 8:33 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  24. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):
    I can’t claim to be a political warrior, but maybe I’m an Army clerk .

    Nonsense, @randyweivoda! You have a very impressive resume and a coherent political view. Thank you for sharing it with us!

    • #24
    • October 28, 2019, at 5:32 AM PDT
    • Like
  25. GLDIII Temporarily Essential Reagan
    GLDIII Temporarily Essential Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Jim George (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    MarciN (View Comment):
    Like everyone else in the Masterpiece Theater audience, I’ve decided it’s better to drag things out in the courts and political arenas than to simply shoot George. :-)

    Unfortunately, @marcin, there are many, many Georges. Where would we start?? ;-)

    Please, please, I implore you– don’t shoot all the Georges! There are still a few good ones left! :-) Jim George

    Ditto 

    George III (no relation that I know of the England’s old kings)

    • #25
    • October 28, 2019, at 6:07 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  26. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSul Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I am not a political warrior, and moreover have come to resent deeply the moral browbeating that so many would-be warriors inflict on people on their own side for not being invested in a war mentality.

    Phil Turmel (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    state our positions–not for them, because they do not care, but for our own constituency

    This is vital. Even here on Ricochet, it is important to state one’s position completely and clearly, even if one knows one’s interlocutor doesn’t care and won’t change their mind, for the sake of the passers-by and lurkers who haven’t yet seen (or heard) it.

    My experience has been rather different here – if one does not full-throatedly declare one’s position, and do so frequently, often over and over with the very same people, one gets little traction at all. It feels like one’s position is effectively a uniform, and anyone you’re trying to debate has to see the uniform and do the usual badge sniffing before they’ll give you a fair shake – it’s just down to a universal presumption of bad faith.

    The whole situation feels like the old joke about the suicidal Baptist (or any other denomination for that matter – the specific one is unimportant) on the bridge:

    Late one foggy evening, a man was standing on the railing of a bridge, about to throw himself in despair into the icy river below. A passerby see this and shouts “Wait, don’t do it! It’s not worth it!”

    “Why not? My life is ruined.”

    “Well, are you a Christian?”

    “Yes…”

    “Well, see, you have that to live for at least. What branch?”

    “I’m a Baptist.”

    “So am I! Northern, or Southern?”

    “Southern.”

    “So am I! Atlanta 1958 convention, or Nashville ’65 convention?”

    “’58.”

    “So am I!”

    “Pre-trib rapture, or post-trib rapture?”

    “Pre?”

    “Die Heretic!” screams the passerby, and shoves the other man into the river.

    It’s just not worth it to be any sort of “warrior” in this environment, when you’re as apt to be called “scum” or a “rat” or “traitor” by your own side as you are to be labeled a fascist by the other.

    • #26
    • October 28, 2019, at 9:43 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  27. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    SkipSul (View Comment):
    It’s just not worth it to be any sort of “warrior” in this environment, when you’re as apt to be called “scum” or a “rat” or “traitor” by your own side as you are to be labeled a fascist by the other.

    I’m trying to understand your point, @skipsul. I’m sorry if my post appears to be “browbeating” (although you may not be referring to me specifically); I am certainly the last person to attack an individual who is not in lockstep with my beliefs. Lately in fact, I’ve noticed that people rarely argue with me if I say I don’t like Donald Trump, for instance, but support his work for a number of reasons (although I was just disparaged for an anti-Trump comment on another post).

    To me, this war is about much more than Trump; in fact, I only mentioned him in the opening of my post. It’s about the survival of the nation, resisting the efforts to force socialism on us, to fight the elements who disparage the constitution, or are trying to take away our rights and our religions.

    It sounds like you’ve had some nasty experiences for stating your opinion, and that makes me sad; you have much to offer to the discussion. And I honor your decisions about how to participate in this environment. If you’d like to elaborate on your point, please do.

    • #27
    • October 28, 2019, at 9:57 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  28. Rodin Member

    Susan Quinn Post author

    SkipSul (View Comment):
    It’s just not worth it to be any sort of “warrior” in this environment, when you’re as apt to be called “scum” or a “rat” or “traitor” by your own side as you are to be labeled a fascist by the other.

    I’m trying to understand your point, @skipsul. I’m sorry if my post appears to be “browbeating” (although you may not be referring to me specifically)….

    I agree we’re not browbeating anyone. We are just cheering for “die on your feet” not “live on your knees”.

    • #28
    • October 28, 2019, at 10:05 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  29. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Yes, @rodin, that’s how I see my message. It is empowering for me, rather than being a bystander. But people can choose to deal with the issues as they see fit.

    • #29
    • October 28, 2019, at 10:12 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  30. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    SkipSul (View Comment):
    I am not a political warrior, and moreover have come to resent deeply the moral browbeating that so many would-be warriors inflict on people on their own side for not being invested in a war mentality.

    Yeah. Wouldn’t it be nice if we didn’t have to treat every election as if the very survival of humanity were at stake? There’s got to be a better way. What those founding fathers should have done was create a system where the federal government has only limited powers instead of having the power to regulate every aspect of our lives. Then people wouldn’t have to feel like it’s so enormously important what side everyone is on because the stakes just wouldn’t be so high. Too bad those guys didn’t think of that when they were writing the Constitution.

    • #30
    • October 28, 2019, at 10:32 AM PDT
    • 5 likes