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« Obama On Escalation | Main | Commentary on Michael Lerner's "Hope Is Back!" »

January 13, 2007



jcs, a refreshing "peace", as is everything else I've read on peacememe; not a rant or a tirade but thoughtful and insightful. As I read, I do recall the sense of connection and exhilaration as a college student at UT Austin in the 60's, marching down Congress Avenue. You provide essential guiding points for anyone who wishes to work for peace.

I will just comment on one of those points, Deep Listening. Growing up in Lubbock, a bastion of conservatism, my family was not particularly religious but embraced the politics of the liberal left with the fire and passion of religious fervor. My mother would still tell all who listen that Adlai Stevenson was the smartest man she ever knew and Ralph Yarborough a hero. In that climate, it was ever so easy to vilify the idiots and warmongers on the "other" side.

That is, until my daughter, in a perverse twist of fate, embraced the Republican ideology. None of us know how this could have happened in our family, but happen it did. And we have made it through two presidential elections, ever so tentatively and carefully discussing our mutual beliefs and conclusions. And I have moved from feeling appalled and nonplussed to just being curious. How did she, after all, come to these conclusions (so obviously wrong, of course, but nevertheless an interesting process). And she has been able to explain to me how Republican policies make fiscal and economic sense to her, a young woman who was working for her father's small business. And so our dialogue has been beneficial to both of us, allowing me to challenge my prejudices and preconceptions, and obliging her to articulate her beliefs.

I have had instances of this kind of dialogue with others, careful and tentative but enlightening. A long conversation with a colleague, an Hispanic woman from the Texas Valley whom I mistakenly assumed to have voted the democratic ticket in the 2004 election. Briefer conversations with people at work and distant relatives. And I have found that what helps me in this endeavor is curiosity, a willingness to suspend my usual judgmental (not a word according to but oh well) attitude to listen with an open heart.


Interesting perspective and lots of good stuff to digest.

As a combat decorated veteran (US Army), I don't agree with most of these perspectives, but I am open to learning how and why "the other side" believes and feels the way they do.

Off topic, from your "Required Peaceful Reading" list, I am about half-way through Robert Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (I'm also a life-long biker) and I just ordered Sen. Obama's The Audacity of Hope.


You are a very thoughtful, aware and compassionate person. You might be interested in Plum Blossom Sangha's (Buddhist) Miracle of Mindfulness retreat at McKiney Roughs, Feb 23, 24, and 25th. For more information, please refer the link site. "When there is no way to peace, peace IS the way." (Thick Nhat Hanh)

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