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Has there ever been such national (and international) turmoil as this?  Have relationships ever suffered so badly based on the divisions of humanity at large?

As I’ve been informed by those who vividly remember the Vietnam War, yes we have been this angry and divided before.  And I can only imagine that the Civil War and the Revolutionary War produced similar effects.  So what’s the difference here?  Why does the 45th President of the United States feel so ominously like he might be our last?  Why are we so sure that we just will not survive?

On a personal note, why does it feel like a figurative lifetime of friendships and a literal lifetime of family relationships are irreparably doomed?

For one thing, never before have we been able to receive and share news (real AND fake) with such speed.  Public proclamations, knee-jerk reactions are instantaneous, for the entire world to see.  But we all know that.  We are aware that the tiny computers in our pockets, our purses, our hands are both an asset and a liability.  Information is always readily available, and our feet are always ready to insert straight into our virtual mouths.

As aware as we are, we still can’t seem to stop ourselves from texting, Tweeting, posting, and sharing exactly what we think right now, despite evidence that could very likely crop up within seconds to discredit our opinions.  But by then, we’re already in the midst of a heated argument.  We may have even veered off subject in our quest to be the loudest winner.  So do the facts even matter anymore?  Case in point, the term “alternative facts” is a part of today’s normal lexicon.

In short, we cannot admit when we are wrong.  Unfortunately, this is exactly what is needed to heal the rifts we’ve created.  We’re obstinate, preferring to stand back to back with our arms crossed, fuming at the unfathomable stupidity of the “other side.”  In this, we fail to see that common goals would really put us on the same side, if only we could bridge the gap, admit the mistake, and move forward.

Do you feel stuck?  Admittedly, I am whole-heartedly assured of my correctness.  My views on humanity, the role of elected officials, the rights and privileges of citizens, this country’s place in the world logically make the most sense.  My heart and brain are in accord, and it would certainly just be easier if everyone agreed with me.

But I didn’t run for president, and I don’t want to.  I do want to be decently active within my community, and heaven knows that I am borderline overactive on social media.  Also, I want the people that I love to keep their places in my life, in my husband’s life, in the lives of my children.  And I don’t want to say that I am wrong.  So, I am stuck.

I openly invite rational discussion, but those invitations hang unheeded.  I ask for “the other side’s” resources and perspective, but I’ve only received a few half-hearted insults before the thread is abandoned.  If we as individual citizens can’t move forward, then we cannot do so as a nation.

So here I am, letting you know that I am wrong.  I can’t ask everyone to believe what I believe and behave the way I behave.  What I can say is that it works for me, and it works for my little family unit, but we have to be willing to flex.  We need to find ways to work with others.  However, I say this very clearly: I will not compromise when it comes to basic human rights.  I will not make room for blind hatred, for bigotry.  I will not sacrifice the very planet on which we live to meet a short-term and anemic goal.  If you hadn’t figured it out before, I bet you can now see to which side of center I lean.

I hope that makes my invitees more comfortable.  I hope that this will be the spur of real discussion.

I hope that others can do the same.  Just say it once:  “I am wrong.”  You’ll find that things are just fine after those words escape your lips, and you may find yourself sitting on the porch, over coffee, on the phone with someone who commented on your latest status in all caps with several exclamation marks.  You may find yourself in a real conversation.

That’s where we need to start.  And we need to start now.  Looks like we’re in for at least four years of this situation, but it’s OUR country.  We can make it what we want, what we need.  But it starts with you and me.  Meet me for lunch today?  We’ve got a lot to discuss.

Shannon Pecora



You guys are great entertainment, I gotta say. This is a great example of modern day anonymous keyboard conflict fighting. “the 400-pound guy sitting on his bed, hacking the DNC”. Admittedly, I partake in this occasionally too (I guess, right now…sort of), to exercise my 1st Amendment right as well, but also to bring another POV to the topic. But after reading this dialogue, I pledge to try to be more fact and point focused, like Ms. Pecora has shown (IMO).

And, at least I know who Ms. Pecora is; her LinkedIn page shows she is an accomplished,  educated, well-rounded person. 

We don’t know who “JLS” is. 

JLS - What’s your larger goal?  I believe that you’re here to say things for reasons other than just to say them.  And I believe we’ve got some goals in common.  How can discussion help us move forward toward those goals together?  In a larger scope, that’s what we need to do as a nation.  And that starts for everyday citizens between and among everyday citizens.


I already told you my purpose in posing was merely to exercise my 1st Amendment rights and express my views on issues.

You posted your views on various issues; I responded to what you wrote. 


you are incorrect, but perhaps you should define suffering.  These are all economies that we’re competing with, particularly China, as the current administration wants to emulate their “success.”  Of course, China and success - those are certainly up for debate.  But as for other countries embracing clean energy, ending 2016 on (relative to size) high notes with overall moderate to good 2017 forecasts would be positive in my book.

Now, on to the real reason to be here in this particular comment section! We are digging down to the heart of the matter for you, which is great!  1A gives you the right to pick fights in these forums, just as it gives me the right to request truly reasonable reflection.  My goal: a larger paradigm shift.  What is your goal?



Thank you for finally answering my question, but I notice that after doing your homework you seem to be backing away from your original statement that these nations are “growing” because of their shift away from fossil fuels.

The truth is, as I’m sure you must have learned while doing your homework, these countries’ economies have suffered ... not grown ... due to their green energy policies.

So I have a tip for you—if you do your homework BEFORE you make such claims, maybe you won’t have to admit to being wrong so often.

And I must say, for someone claiming to want “civil discourse” based on “logic,” you set a bad example by suggesting you know the thoughts and/or motives of others.  You wrote, “I know that you regularly comment on LTM posts in attempts to pick those fights.” 

I thought I was posting comments in order to exercise my 1st Amendment rights to express my opinions on various issues. And when I see others make statements in their posts that are not supported by evidence, I challenge them to support their claims.  Just as a good teacher would.



Germany. Sweden. Scotland. Even China is cycling through their dirty industrial revolution at a faster pace than we have. Still a mess, but given stats and percentages, based on the sheer number of people in the country, they’re picking up steam in the renewable energy field.

I appreciate your drive for answers; however, even via simple Google searches, you could find this common knowledge information on your own.

Come on! Get past the troll mentality! You can do this! I believe in you. Would you like discussion without animosity? Or would you like to continue the quest for “right” and “win”?

It’s very difficult to not feed this troll, because as I said, you just keep demonstrating the obstinance. But you can do better. Not everything has to be a fight (though I know that you regularly comment on LTM posts in attempts to pick those fights). Try my advice. Say that you’re wrong. You’ll be okay. In fact, I bet you’ll be relieved once the weight is lifted. Let go of the anger and embrace the logic. Then we can truly discuss motivation, philosophy, etc. that could get us out of this bog.



So ... in other words ... you CAN’T answer MY questions?  I see.  Try to change the subject, huh? Did you allow your students to do that when they didn’t know the answer to your questions?

I’ll try again ...  What nations are “growing BECAUSE they’re shifting from fossil fuels and letting science make the discoveries that it will”?

You made this claim ... now prove it… like a good teacher.

Hi again, JLS!

Again, once you’ve read thoroughly, please come back!  Civil discourse only works for those who will DO the work.  Until such time, as teachers do, I’ll refrain from “calling on you.” Now I see that you haven’t truly read my original letter, my reply for Virginia SGP, or my first reply for you (as you’ll find that I did answer questions, and I was correct in assuming there was no point in doing so).

Those who have no desire to understand never will.  This is to the detriment of progress for those folks, but I do thank you for continuing to demonstrate why my letter to the editor was and is still necessary.  In this case, it seems I have done well to “feed the troll.”

I thank you for this!


I don’t think I’ve misunderstood your post.  Your “arguments” are all too common on the left.

However, if I did misunderstand you, the teacher in you must consider the possibility that you did a poor job of expressing yourself.  Communication is, as I am sure you are aware, a two-way street.

Based upon the manner in which you have expressed yourself, I stand by my responses 100%. 

Speaking of which, I notice you failed to answer any of the questions I posed, such as the identification of the nations you say are “growing BECAUSE they’re shifting from fossil fuels and letting science make the discoveries that it will.”

Hi JLS -

I would request that you thoroughly read before responding. You show that you haven’t actually grasped or looked at what I said.

Just a few examples - I realize that slavery was abolished.  That’s exactly what I’m talking about: the law changed.  And, in fact, I said that I personally could not have an abortion.  I also stated that the US must be a better option than the horror of home countries if refugees still want to come here.
I could go on, but I think there would be no point.  You demonstrate what I originally said about knee-jerk reactions: you’re too ready to argue without truly seeing what you’re fighting against.

Here comes the former teacher in me: when you’ve actually read the material and you’re ready for an informed discussion, please come back!  That’s how we’ll get discourse to work. I look forward to a redo because I bet you’ve got good points to offer once you truly understand what was originally said!


It’s good that in your original post you acknowledged that you are wrong.

Your follow up post demonstrates just how wrong you are on so many topics.

1. Yes, laws should be “created with the greater good in mind,” but they are created in this country by elected representatives because we are a republic.  Elections have consequences.  And once laws are passed, they must be obeyed by citizens and enforced by government.  As for slavery, it was abolished in the United States through the legislative process ... an amendment to the constitution.  Sadly, slavery still exists in other countries, just as slavery has always existed all over the world and throughout human history ... it was NOT invented by the United States, but the United States abolished it here.

2. Regarding your statement that “one person’s idea of religious liberty completely infringes on the personal liberty of others,” it is interesting that you use abortion as your example, because an abortion is the greatest infringement upon the “personal liberty” of “others.”  Abortion denies the unborn the right to even live.  Funny how you feel the need to open your heart to allow 7 billion people throughout the world to come live in our wonderful country, but you don’t see anything wrong with denying those living inside their mother’s womb the right to live among us.  Sad.

3. The fact that you are “surprised” that so many want to come to the U.S. demonstrates your blindness to just how great we are as a country compared to other places in the world ... something obvious to the millions who want to come here.  As for the vetting process, how can you “vet” someone from a war-torn country where there is no way of getting proper verification of a person’s identity?

4. You claim that “Some nations are growing BECAUSE they’re shifting from fossil fuels and letting science make the discoveries that it will.”  Really?  What nations are you referring to?

5. You write that “if you’re not willing to adapt or make room for the other 7 billion people who are here, then I would say you’re misguided.”  Why should the United States “make room” for everyone?  Why can’t those other 7 billion people make their countries a better place to live?  Why shouldn’t they do as our forefathers did and risk their lives and fortunes to fight for their freedom and liberty and in lands where they now live?  And as for our nation helping other nations, we’ve tried that in the Middle East and those on the left call it “occupation” and say that it has caused Muslims to hate us. 

Hogwash by the bushel.

I started constructing a reply to Virginia GSP, and we’ll see if it serves well as response to Ron Speakman as well:

I’ll start with an idea that will likely inform the entirety of my response. What we do, as individuals and as citizens, is shaped by our intentions. Act with a humanitarian / world view generally in mind. We all live here, after all. And why NOT be good stewards of life on Earth?
But in specific:
1.I am not an anarchist. Laws are set in place to protect us, and they should be created with the greater good in mind. You’re right: flaws do make themselves known. But we are not a stagnant society. As we change and know better, we can adapt. An example (if a rather extreme one) - it used to be legal to own other people in this country. Now it’s not.
As to the last part of your point here, both sides of the political spectrum have exploited their positions in attempts to be “above the law.” So I strongly disagree that this is one-sided. In either case, it shouldn’t happen.
2. The U.S. was founded by infringing upon property and liberty, from the point of view of Native Americans. So, in theory, these principles are wonderful, but much like theoretical Communism or Socialism, their sticky points come into full view in the “real world.” I’ll use another rather extreme example: one person’s idea of religious liberty completely infringes on the personal liberty of others if we remove access to safe abortions. Do we infringe upon religious beliefs or upon body autonomy?
Is there a black and white answer here? Of course not. But I’ll refer back to my opening statement here: what’s wrong with shifting the paradigm and thinking kindly of one another? I could never imagine having an abortion (for several reasons, including certain Christian ideas), but I also can’t imagine what it would be like to carry a baby when I know that either of our lives is in medical danger, when it affects my ability to bring in desperately needed income, or when I know I have no hope of being able to properly care for a child. There are countless other reasons that pregnancies are terminated, some of which I can empathize with and some of which I can’t even fathom. So, while my sensibilities may be offended by your choice to have an abortion, I can’t ask you to give up your personal autonomy and rights to make me feel better.
From an even larger perspective, if I have a million dollars and my neighbor is starving, there is something inherently wrong with my decision to hoard my millions rather than provide a few meals. It has nothing to do with other citizens “wanting” that money. They need the means to survive. Roads and military are worthy of public funds, but so are schools, medical care, libraries, parks…so yes, we all need to “pitch in,” as it were. And yes, our wealth (or lack thereof) needs to be taken into account. Otherwise, what is the point of living in a society? Are we not all actually resources for one another, in the ways and means that we each individually have?
3. Frankly, I’m surprised that so many immigrants and refugees still want to come here in light of the current environment. But what that shows is even the hostility here pales in comparison to what’s going on in other places.
The first European settlers didn’t let the Native Americans put a cap on who entered the country, and look what happened to them. So, I understand that some would be concerned that the same would happen in the current time. But that’s really just me being snarky.
Again, an easy answer? No way.  Some things to consider:
As-is, vetting of refugees is a long and arduous process, so I take great exception to anyone who says it’s easy to just come into the U.S.
Why can’t it be easier for well-intended immigrants to seek legal opportunity for a better life here?
If hostility isn’t deterring the desire for refugees and immigrants to come here, then let’s rethink. If we’re wasting resources fighting against immigration, let’s put that time, money, and manpower to work with foreign governments. What can make it worth staying put? The answer is certainly not the same for every nation, but if you don’t want immigrants then let’s help them not want to leave their home countries.
4. Science is solving these challenges every day. But we already know how to make money from the archaic, and frankly we’re too lazy to make the change. Can we not stand a little bit of discomfort for the chance to live cleanly and ultimately be more prosperous? We’re set up now to only appreciate the immediate pay-off. Gas can run my car now, and oil executives can be assured of more wealth if I just stick with that. But we’re so afraid of a few growing pains that we won’t bite the bullet to convert for a better long run. The sun is free. It shows up every day. Sure, it would be a pain to change the way we do things in order to get to the point where we can function in the everyday running on renewable resources. This is worth it. But it’s not immediately gratifying.
“While other nations watch and grow” - let them! Some nations are growing BECAUSE they’re shifting from fossil fuels and letting science make the discoveries that it will. And we don’t need to be in constant competition to be the biggest, fastest, and richest right now. It isn’t working anyway. Time to try something new.
5. There is no litmus test for being a “good” person. However, if you’re not willing to adapt or make room for the other 7 billion people who are here, then I would say you’re misguided. Which brings me back to that opening statement again. I’ve been told several times, “I don’t have to do things for other people. I only have to worry about my own happiness.” That’s true, but that doesn’t make it right. If you set yourself up as 1 against 7 billion, then you have to expect push back. Humans are social creatures, and we need one another. Exercise your right to not care about the common good, but expect others to exercise their right to protest that. Or, cut out the middleman and we can all advance together.  You can’t legislate empathy.

But I can keep asking you to act with it.


I applaud your invitation. Like you, I wanted to see the other side of today’s arguments. I have read literature and books on the course of the modern day democratic party and its not for me. 
I found the party to be controlled by mostly hateful white women and there target the white male.  Its not a party anymore that is in pursuit of our founding fathers idea of republicanism.  Its a party with a selfish agenda that has had the unintentional affect of killing/abusing our nations children. The perpetual lies of left only attract the ignorant or naive. Mostly its the latter, The Republican party has its better share of the ignorant. Today, we stand at cross roads of whether our country should be led by haters of white men or should we rally to Jefferson’s words of rebellion.  I would enjoy discussing further with you, we could start with the most famous papers in Our Country’s history called the Federalist Papers. I propose starting with Federalist No.68. We can do it in a open forum. I believe by reading these documents, you will have your answers to most questions. In the meantime pay a visit to D.C. morgue and witness first hand the unintended consequences of the foolish policies of the hateful white female.

Shannon, I have a few suggestions for folks from either side to clarify their positions.

1. Do you believe in the rule of law?  Or do you believe that only the laws we agree with need to be followed and enforced?  When laws are enforced strictly, any flaws are readily apparent.  But one side clearly touts the “rule of law” only to chuckle when their leaders decide certain laws shouldn’t be enforced.  Where do you fall?

2. The US was founded on private property rights and personal liberty.  That basically means the government can’t take your wealth by force to give to somebody else and as long as your actions don’t infringe on others’ freedom, go for it.  Do you disagree with these principles?  Who gets to decide how much the gov’t should be able to confiscate at the point of a gun from citizens, not to use on roads or the military, but to hand over to other citizens and noncitizens alike because they want that money.

3. The US is a great place.  Should the US be home to its citizens and the limited number of folks we collectively decide to allow in, or should it be a mass free for all where 1B+ individuals from foreign countries come in over a matter of years.

4. Might it be possible that science will solve a lot of technical challenges of today.  Just like science solved “peak oil” where we thought our oil production would begin to slow, might science make non-fossil fuels less costly than fossil fuels?  If so, should we wreak havoc on our economy while other nations watch and grow?

5. Do you believe anyone who holds views from 1-4 that are not left of center either doesn’t believe in “basic human rights”, is “bigoted”, or doesn’t care about the “very planet” that we live on?

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