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H2O Man

(74,320 posts)
Tue Jul 14, 2020, 03:53 PM Jul 2020


"Don't strike at the puppet, strike at the puppeteer." -- Malcolm X

I remember back in the Reagan era, when his Secretary of Interior James Watt, while testifying before Congress, explained his anti-environment positions by saying, " I do not know how many future generations we can count on before the Lord returns ..." For those too young to remember, Watt was a toxic twit who advocated mining public lands. One afternoon, while talking politics with my father, I expressed how much I hated James Watt.

My father, an FDR/JFK Democrat, started laughing. He said that Watt was indeed a horrible person. But, he said in the tone that I recognized as his way of delivering an important message, always remember that Watt and his ilk are lightening rods. When Watts makes an offensive public statement, it is to distract attention from something that Reagan or Bush are doing that they don't want the media or public to focus on.

I learned another important lesson from the days of James Watt. One of my favorite journalists, Bill Moyers, incorrectly quoted Watt as saying, "After the last tree is felled, Christ will come back." Moyers had taken the quote from an article in some magazine from the time, but it wasn't true. Moyers apologized. This taught me that even someone I respected as much as Bill Moyers was capable of making an error.

I made an error last week, in an OP about Trump's claim he aced a cognitive test. Our friend Ms. Toad corrected me. Thus, due to my tendency to question the possibility of making a mistake -- much less a foolish one -- I re-contacted the two individuals I had spoken to for the information I posted. Both laughed at me, and said the same thing: I had only asked about Trump's most recent unscheduled "physical" at Walter Reed. So I wasn't really wrong, I pleaded? Yes, you were, in that you only focused on one incident, and ignored everything else. Tunnel vision is, by definition, an error in perception.

At other recent times, I've learned important things from other forum members. Let me give an example. Recently, I posted an essay asking forum members how they were attempting to increase the number of people who would vote for Joe Biden in November. Over the decades, my interest has been in getting young adults to recognize that, as a group, they can influence the outcome of any and every election.

This includes working with young people who are "leftists." I can identify with those who are rebels and reject the older generations' previous works and current values. I have no problem, for example, with young people who think that past generations have betrayed them by handing down a severely damaged environment. But how to get these young activists to recognize that it is important to vote for Joe Biden?

Our friend PETRUS made an important suggestion. Angela Davis is a legendary "leftist." In recent years, when I've spoken at colleges, I've been encouraged by the renewed interest in and respect for her. And, as PETRUS noted, she has said that we have to evaluate elections in their proper context, and that means we should vote for Joe Biden. PETRUS recommended that I communicate that.

Last week, a young man that I met at St. Lawrence college posted yet another rant on facebook about Biden being unacceptable to true "leftists." When this fellow's parents rejected him for his beliefs and lifestyle, I had welcomed him into my home. Though I haven't seen him in a few years, we remain in contact. So I responded to his FB post by talking about Angela Davis.

His first response was, "I like Angela Davis, but ...." We had a little back-and-forth. Meanwhile, the number of his friends that "liked" my comments was increasing. Eventually, he focused upon the failures of my generation, and noted his generation would not compromise. They were going to build a new society. That echo from the past brought a grin to mywrinkled, ugly mug.

I said to build a new society required starting by building a solid, strong foundation to build off of. My generation did important work in the 1960s and '70s to build the foundation, but too many of us were focused upon the rooms and roof. The foundation, I said, is at the grass roots level, the rooms are the state level and Congress, and the roof is the presidency. If you try to build rooms and a roof on a weak foundation, those walls will crack, and the roof will leak. I suggested that his generation complete the foundation we started, then start laying cinder blocks.

By this time, he agreed, and I thought, "Hey, this works! I've gotta thank PETRUS!" I was especially encouraged by the number of his friends who "liked" my comments.

Today, I saw that he has a new rant, about "old people" who try to use Angela Davis to convince "leftists" to vote for Joe Biden. But he isn't getting any support so far. I went back to the other post, and noticed something I find interesting. All of his friends who "liked" my comments were females. Not a single male. That got me remembering that, at colleges, it was primarily young women interested in Angela Davis. Indeed, my collection of books by and about her are now in my older daughter's library.

While I think the young man is wrong, I hope that the election results are not cause for him to recognize his error. If Trump some how "wins," we'll have more James Watt-types destroying the environment. And the Constitution, that provides protections for young people who rebel against society.

H2O Man

22 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
Highlight: NoneDon't highlight anything 5 newestHighlight 5 most recent replies
Wrong (Original Post) H2O Man Jul 2020 OP
You my brother are a class act - great post malaise Jul 2020 #1
I like people. H2O Man Jul 2020 #2
My son and his friends are leftists. cayugafalls Jul 2020 #3
Great! H2O Man Jul 2020 #4
I forgot to mention your writings are an inspiration. Thank you. cayugafalls Jul 2020 #6
Oh, thanks! H2O Man Jul 2020 #14
i am a damn leftist and i and many of my friends support biden. AllaN01Bear Jul 2020 #8
I hope you in no way think I am disparaging you? cayugafalls Jul 2020 #9
no you didnt . i always support the democratic candidate in the ge AllaN01Bear Jul 2020 #10
Right. H2O Man Jul 2020 #15
Excellent Post leftieNanner Jul 2020 #5
Thank you, leftieNanner! H2O Man Jul 2020 #16
Yes. Their strategy should be make life hell for tRump by voting for Biden then make life hell for Bernardo de La Paz Jul 2020 #7
Absolutely! H2O Man Jul 2020 #17
Your posts cate94 Jul 2020 #11
Thanks, cate94! H2O Man Jul 2020 #18
Great post H2O Man. spanone Jul 2020 #12
Thank you! H2O Man Jul 2020 #19
Maybe soon you can loan them Mary Trump's book lunatica Jul 2020 #13
My 90-year old aunt H2O Man Jul 2020 #20
I think one of the problems that arise regarding talking about lunatica Jul 2020 #21
Excellent post - thanks for sharing dlk Jul 2020 #22


(272,279 posts)
1. You my brother are a class act - great post
Tue Jul 14, 2020, 04:02 PM
Jul 2020

One of your greatest strengths is your perpetual promotion of inclusiveness

H2O Man

(74,320 posts)
2. I like people.
Tue Jul 14, 2020, 04:06 PM
Jul 2020

Watching the news, I see some that I don't care for. I find that Kayleigh McEnany annoying, for example. Watching her yesterday, I remembered my father's comment about Watt being a lightening rod.


(5,735 posts)
3. My son and his friends are leftists.
Tue Jul 14, 2020, 04:07 PM
Jul 2020

I've had to convince my son to vote for Biden. It was hard, but I did it by not being combative and reminding him of some of what you said.

I told my son that by not voting they are almost insuring another 4 years of Trump, who they hate with a passion. Better to vote for someone who at least tries to listen and leans more left than trump than to not vote at all. Biden may not be their first choice or even on their list, but he is the only opposition we have and WE HAVE TO WIN.

I asked him, "Do you think trump losing this election is critical?" When he answered yes, I knew I could get him to vote for Joe.

He will vote for Joe Biden and he is actively trying to get his friends on board, so I have some hope.

H2O Man

(74,320 posts)
4. Great!
Tue Jul 14, 2020, 04:12 PM
Jul 2020

I'm confident that all of my kids will vote for Joe Biden. He wasn't any of their first choices. But they recognize how dangerous Trump is. My oldest still isn't big on Joe, and was saying he worried Trump would beat him in debates. Thus, last night, we watched Biden debate Palin and Ryan. After watching them, he agreed Biden will spank Trump in any debate.


(5,735 posts)
6. I forgot to mention your writings are an inspiration. Thank you.
Tue Jul 14, 2020, 04:21 PM
Jul 2020

I've been a fan longer than an actual DU member.

This was another fantastic read and helped me realize I did the right thing.


(5,735 posts)
9. I hope you in no way think I am disparaging you?
Tue Jul 14, 2020, 05:12 PM
Jul 2020

Or my own son for that matter.

My apologies if you felt I said something wrong, it was not my intention.


(21,006 posts)
10. no you didnt . i always support the democratic candidate in the ge
Tue Jul 14, 2020, 05:20 PM
Jul 2020

supported hillary and will support mr biden.
i apologize if i sounded a little gruff . can sometimes come off that way. stay safe .

H2O Man

(74,320 posts)
15. Right.
Tue Jul 14, 2020, 09:45 PM
Jul 2020

The other week, during a conversation, one of my sons said (approximately), "Oh, right. You used to consider yourself a leftist." So funny. When he was little, and I was a single father, I'd take him and his brother to a wide variety of political-social activism events. Introduced him to a lot of people, including Onondaga Chief Waterman and Rubin "Hurricane" Carter. The boys thought Chief Waterman was their grandfather, and that Rubin was an uncle.

When they were teens, I found them listening to music by David Peel & the Lower East Side Gand. They thought that I'd have no idea who David was. Surprise, surprise, I showed them the file of letters, tapes of David and Yoko recording songs, etc. Let them know the old man had played with that band, years ago.

But I still haven't told them all the stories. They know, for example, that I did an interview with Mark Rudd for DU in 2008, but none of the stories behind it. Soon, though. They are of an age where they no longer try to out-do the mischief I did as a youth!


(15,369 posts)
5. Excellent Post
Tue Jul 14, 2020, 04:15 PM
Jul 2020

I still think of myself as that 70s activist!

I was deeply saddened to see a recent post on FB (that I mostly avoid these days) from a young woman I have met through a mutual volunteer organization. She was hoping that Trump is reelected in November. Another not quite 18 volunteer agreed with her. I did not know where to begin! But I knew FB was not the place to do so.

We still have a great deal of work to do - on that foundation you encouraged us to build.

Cheers H2O Man!

H2O Man

(74,320 posts)
16. Thank you, leftieNanner!
Tue Jul 14, 2020, 09:56 PM
Jul 2020

The majority of my friends and associates my age were hippies. Some, myself included, were YIPPIES! And I still see at least one member from the Weather Underground from time to time, though I've never much liked him (nor does he pretend to like me).I've long believed in community organizing and, when needed, attempting to bring about the creative tension that Martin Luther King believed in. I never believed in or participated in violence, although I still have a section of a board that a guy broke over my head when I participated in a march once.

Decades ago, Onondaga Chief Oren Lyons told us that progress would come eventually, but that it might not be in our lifetimes that we saw the fruits of our investments of energy is the struggle for social justice. I've always kept that in mind. As a teen, I helped pay for college by putting in foundations for houses. I did a lot of hard work in ditches, where no one could see me if they were driving by. And I'm satisfied to consider my efforts in politics in much that same way.

Bernardo de La Paz

(49,984 posts)
7. Yes. Their strategy should be make life hell for tRump by voting for Biden then make life hell for
Tue Jul 14, 2020, 04:23 PM
Jul 2020

... Biden by holding his feet to the fire to keep his promises.

H2O Man

(74,320 posts)
17. Absolutely!
Tue Jul 14, 2020, 09:58 PM
Jul 2020

I agree 100%! And do the same with those in the House and Senate, and state and local government. Exactly as you said!


(53,410 posts)
13. Maybe soon you can loan them Mary Trump's book
Tue Jul 14, 2020, 07:40 PM
Jul 2020

I’m getting it soon. I haven’t read it but I have a great deal of respect for Rachel Maddow who has read bits of it.

I find it very interesting to find out why people do what they do, so a book about family dynamics with dysfunctional behaviors being the norm is very interesting to me. Dysfunctionality is what you can consider the continuation of family ‘traditions’ down through the generations. Within the family those who consider this dynamic normal human behavior are glad to pass it on. Mary Trump seems to be a survivor, perhaps because of her father’s death and his ostracism from the Trump manly ideals.

She did the world a favor when she stole and handed over the family financial paperwork, and I hope she does so again with her book.

H2O Man

(74,320 posts)
20. My 90-year old aunt
Tue Jul 14, 2020, 10:08 PM
Jul 2020

is buying a few copies of the book, and insisting that everyone in the extended family that is of voting age has to read it this summer! Clearly, great minds think alike! Her and my uncle want to see Trump lose, and talk about that daily. And Joe Biden has had their support from the minute he entered the Democratic primary.

I'm going to order a copy of the book for my library. I've got books by and on every president up to 2016. At first, I was determined not to have any on Trump. But there have been some outstanding ones on Trump that I've gladly bought.

Last week, I heard someone on the news say that Mary Trump's book won't hurt him as much as John Bolton's book. I strongly disagree with that. I've yet to meet anyone who likes Bolton, or has anything positive to say about him. But Mary Trump's book will reach a wide audience of people that will be influenced to vote for Joe Biden after reading it.


(53,410 posts)
21. I think one of the problems that arise regarding talking about
Tue Jul 14, 2020, 10:33 PM
Jul 2020

someone’s past is a disconnect with the fact that everyone and their actions have a past that gives it impetus. That action is a pure thing that is created in the present in some sort of spontaneous creation. I get very frustrated with people who seem to take each action Trump takes as something coming without any connection to previous events or something in his past.

I want to know how he happened. I want to understand. I use the word understand as an objective mental state, not in the emotional sense of being understanding. I hope I’m not disappointed.


(11,883 posts)
22. Excellent post - thanks for sharing
Wed Jul 15, 2020, 01:28 PM
Jul 2020

Sometimes, when dealing with strong-willed voter who is a purist, I mention that when they don’t vote or vote for splinter candidate, they are giving someone who supports Trump two votes.

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