#408 – Dick Bernard: 11 days to default in Washington DC. Communicating, publicly.

NOTE: I will be off-line until at least July 31: vacation and computer maintenance. This column is #20 in a series which began June 23. All previous posts are accessible here (all hi-lited dates have articles behind them).
“A peace is of the nature of a conquest:
For then both parties nobly are subdued,
And neither party loser.”

Henry VI Part Two Act IV Scene 2
Seen in the book “One Thousand White Women – The Journals of May Dodd by Jim Fergus.
Sincere thanks to Kathy Garvey.
Thursday I went over to the Minnesota State Capitol. It was good to see it open. Some photos at the end.
I have long been of the opinion that the representations of political reality that we see and read in the traditional media are essentially worthless. Anyone whose daily work is in the public eye is well instructed on message management and looking and sounding politically correct and convincing. That person looking us in the eye through the television screen WILL stay on message. Contemporary politics is, simply, a war with different kinds of weapons.
In our society, “fair and balanced news” no longer has much meaning, even for the well intentioned. We seek validation of our own point of view, and we can find it.
There is a downside to this: If one’s source of information tells only one side of the story, there is no possibility of understanding what is real: that humans are people of differing opinions. One philosophy attempting to dominate and overwhelm others is ultimately doomed to failure.
Returning from the Capitol, one of the e-mails awaiting me was this one which I found quite fascinating. (There is a second part to this DVD, and the two in total are about 15 minutes in length. The show host would be considered on the progressive side of the political ledger, and the broadcast entity is sometimes accused of being of a liberal bent.) His comments speaks for themselves.
The group I saw at the State Capitol was one which had gotten my e-mail address in some way – I didn’t know of them otherwise. I was glad to hear from them, and happy to participate. They were serious and respectful. It will be interesting to see if they get some press notice in today’s newspapers. (They don’t have a feedback system, at least none that I can see at their website. This is a problem they hopefully will remedy.)
I am of the belief that the only effective way for ordinary people – people like myself – to have an impact is one person, one contact at a time. We are so overwhelmed with “information” that there is little left to learn. If we’re going to survive as a society, we need to talk with, even debate, each other, and really listen to other points of view. It isn’t easy – those people standing in a circle yesterday, to have effect, need to turn around and act outwards towards people outside the Capitol rotunda. The only way to do this is to practice honing the skill, be it letters to the editor, standing up in a small or large meeting, giving a presentation, etc….
As we go on a vacation, and this country of ours lurches towards default on our debts, I’m somewhat hopeful that the U.S. will avert economic catastrophe, and that we’ll learn something as a result of the current mess we’re in.
The teaching has to be up to us, not “them”.
A FEW PHOTOS FROM THE CAPITOL, THURSDAY, JULY 21, 2011 (click to enlarge).

Demonstration in the MN Capitol Rotunda July 21, 2011

Empty MN Senate Chamber July 21, 2011

Empty MN House of Representatives Chamber July 21, 2011

MN Governors Reception Room July 21, 2011

Speaker at Demonstration in Capitol Rotunda July 21, 2011

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