So, why DO we Americans disagree as we do?

Discussion in 'TM Lounge' started by Manny Laureano, Oct 31, 2004.

  1. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

    Sep 29, 2004
    This morning, as the election looms large over these United Staes, I was thinking about why disagreements and their varying levels. I had a few conclusions I wanted to share for discussion on this weekend before the election.

    When I was a kid I used to enjoy "Peanuts". There was one day that Charlie Brown was pointing out to Lucy how ineffective she was on the baseball team he manages. After citing statistic after statistic, she finally exploded and said, "Tell your statistics to shut up!" which has now become a famous line since then.

    I thought about that this morning.

    It all makes sense. If you are a latino, like me, that has seen good fortune in his life in this country or if you're a black entrepeneur that has a thriving business or you're an Asian female principal trombonist in an American orchestra you hear the people that tell you how down-trodden you really are and say "Tell your statistics to shut up!"

    If you are unemployed after being on the job for 15 years or if you're tired of being pulled over for the third time in a year for DWB or if your landlord won't do anything she's supposed to, when a newscaster reports on the upward trend in an economy you say "Tell your statistics to shut up!".

    So, it all boils down to personal experience.

    It's hard to get next to the ranting of a Michael Moore when you see little, if any, of the misery he claims is rampant.

    It's hard to throw a party because you've heard that Wall Street is rallying if don't have anywhere near the money to invest and join in the fiesta.

    It's pretty much up to us all as a people, then, isn't it? I mean a truly UNITED people with a sense of common goals for our greater culture as Americans. If you've been lucky and have worked your ass off I think it's important if not an obligation to help those truly in need. If you're truly in need it's important to accept the hand up but not out in perpetuity. For clarity's sake, I lived in public housing in NYC and now I don't. Yes, I am proud of that. It was a goal I worked towards very consciously.

    We all have responsibilities irrespective of what part of the social strata we occupy. Some people are rich and never learn that. Some people are poor and never learn that. Some people are smack in the middle and couldn't care less, either way.

    Look, I'm just kind of going on and on and I apologize. I guess as the thoughts occurred to me I felt the need to share them with my colleagues and friends. Do we celebrate statistics or our individual accomplishments? Do we use to our individual accomplishments to contribute to statistics?Will we be voting for our lives or statistics?


    I look forward to folks weighing in on this on the weekend before November 2nd if you have the inclination. Good luck... I just gave myself a headache. I think I'll go practice instead. At least there I know what I'm doing... I think!


  2. camelbrass

    camelbrass Mezzo Forte User

    Nov 5, 2003
    Dubai, UAE
    I come into the arguement as an extremely interested spectator (being Australian and living in the Middle East). There is always global interest in the Presidential elections but more so this time..probably more than I can ever remember.

    I worked for Bank of America for 15 years and one of the things that I always admired about the American ethos was the strength of opinions. Disagreements are at their strongest when opinions are heartfelt...I'm not saying here rational or well thought out or even reasonable. I'm saying passionate...passion is strongest when you experience it. You're right Manny your frame of reference determines your experience. With multi cultural, diverse income backgrounds-either current or your parents, the very,very rich and the very,very poor in comparatively large numbers compared to the rest of the western world its any wonder that opinions and passions are contradictory.

    For Gods sake don't loose that momentum. The rest of us seem to be happy with our middle of the road existences with cries from our politicians of "Vote for me I'm inoffensive".

    Don't listen to statistics, as any mathemetician worth his salt will tell you 'There's lies, damn lies and statistics'. Oh and voting is a privilege not a right...that only comes to light when you can't.

    Good topic.


  3. Bear

    Bear Forte User

    Apr 30, 2004
    I don't know what to say or even where to start. In all honesty, I'm fed up with all the BS that the politicians do out there. I think we need a leader with concrete morals, standards, and ethics no matter how strong the opposition he faces, even with his/her own countrymen... Not someone who just uses wishywashy morals, etc in conveince to greater their personal power/riches. I would like to see a political run where the two (or more) people talk about the real problems goin' on. Not "He screwed this up and I won't" crap going on. Lol, come to think of it. I think if I was ever a mediator on one of those live TV debate shows that one of my questions would be for the contestants to say two positive things and what they admire about that person as a human. Yes, we are individuals and we need those civil rights, etc for al ethinc groups... but as a nation, we need to come together and get over ourselves. I don't know really know how to express my feelings. I'm just a lil college kid anyways. Oh and Manny, just got another one of your orch CD's, you're a freakin' beast dude. I'm more inclined towards commercial playing but man... I'm impressed.

  4. jamesfrmphilly

    jamesfrmphilly Piano User

    Oct 31, 2003
    the north philly ghetto
    America is more divided than anytime I've known since the days of segregation.

    there are now multiple Americas with little crossover between them.

    without going into who is right and who is wrong, i think the polarization itself is a very bad thing for America. as the groups move further apart, when will open warfare begin?

    i realize that i am considered a nut by the members of this forum.

    do you realize how many black people i know no longer talk to white people? quite a few.
    as the slurs continue to come my way, one day soon i will also stop talking to you.

    nut though i may be, i think it is not good when people stop talking. 8)
  5. dizforprez

    dizforprez Forte User

    Nov 2, 2003

    you seem to spend a great deal of time trying to divide people.

    what slurs have come your way from this board?
  6. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

    Sep 29, 2004
    If I may weigh in once more...

    To tell you the truth I think America has always been divided. The issues changed from generation to generation but nonetheless we were divided. The difference today is that there is a greater presence in the opinions held by conservatives.

    In other words, as Americans went through the 60s, 70s, 80, and 90s the value of being a conservative became diminished. Attitudes towards civil rights, warfare, birth control, welfare, abortion, and the like changed gradually but dramatically. Think of it: when I was a boy, a girl getting pregnant out of wedlock was a huge deal and brought shame to a family. Now, you have celebrities doing it for sport, seemingly.

    Here's the point: the conservative voice slowly but surely was a voice that was derided as "wacko" or extreme. Conservatives became a minority IN SO FAR AS how freely they expressed themselves. If you were known as a conservative, you were thought of as a gun-toting, survivalist racist.

    So, they went underground with only politicians speaking out and a few celebrities but that was about it. The vast majority of conservatives basically just shut up and tried not to let people know how they felt.

    Now that conservatives have a stronger voice in Washington they are more vocal and less ashamed to be counted. I don't believe that the country is less divided than it ever has been. What is different is that the left has become accustomed to not hearing as much from the right as they have recently. The left does not like it one bit but it's going to have to deal with it one way or the other. There's not nearly as much middle as there used to be. Things are becoming clearer in most folks minds and conservatives are less willing to hide in corners to talk about it. In short, conservatives are now speaking out as much as liberals traditionally have. The final bit is that you have people like myself who started life off as liberals and after years of soul searching changed because the theories of neo-liberalism didn't match up to real life experience.

    I think the quote by Dennis Prager is the most apt: "Clarity is more important than agreement". Well, you've got yourselves a shipload of clarity.

  7. gregc

    gregc Mezzo Piano User

    Apr 5, 2004
    New York, U.S. of A.
    Great post, Manny. Gotta love a man who thinks before he speaks.

  8. W Scott

    W Scott Piano User

    Dec 8, 2003
    Carson City, NV.
    In many ways, Manny, I agree with you but I don't think you go far enough. The real dividing line is Christianity.

    The conservatives hold on to the traditional American values which have been rooted in Christianity since this country was founded. Yes, there was tolerance and if you wanted to be an atheist--fine. Many who were atheists/agnostics or just disinterested were still fine people who strongly believed that there were such things as right and wrong. That's why it used to be such a big deal when an unwed girl became pregnant.

    Today, we have the 'neo-liberals' or 'post-moderns'---whatever label you want to put on them. They hold that there are no moral absolutes. They despise the Christian viewpoint and want to flaunt every form of deviant behavior in every form of media from television to the Internet. They are self centered and care nothing about the overall good of the country much less the towns that they live in. They despise our military and our police. These are the folks that push for 'politically correct speech'--which is nothing more than a subtle attack on the freedom of speech guarenteed in our constitution. These folks also have little use for our constitution and would subvert this great document to a collective decision from the United Nations. I could go on, but I've listed enough to clearly show that these folks make up what one hears in the DEMOCRATIC party.

    They are the antithesis of everything I believe in and that is why I'm voting Republican. At least the Republican party is (so far) sticking with the conservative values that made America great.
  9. Manny Laureano

    Manny Laureano Utimate User

    Sep 29, 2004
    W Scott,

    Yeah, I have to agree with you and not at all reluctantly. I would only amend the reference to Christianity to include Judaism as well. I am a Catholic who married into a Jewish family that was warmly embraced by my parents who are now Baptists! My kids are both being raised Jewish, as decreed by Jewish law, and my son has already undergone his bar Mitzvah.

    When I read the Old Testament I read it from a Torah that was given to me as a gift from some of my son's friends. I find it interesting because of the pages and pages of supplemental text that help to explain the writing.

    I wish that the people that seem to be so afraid of religion wouldn't be. One has to accept that on a multi-cultural level, so many societies, social and political, derive their moral codes from the tenets of the predominant religion.

    The arguments using things like The Crusades, witch burnings, The Inquisition, slavery, and the like to condemn modern religious doctrine are specious, I think. I used to believe things when I was younger that I taught on trumpet that I wish I could take back now. I was immature back then and hope I'm a lot smarter now. Our lives our microcosmic reflections of greater society in the way we mature.

    Are true conservative leaders guided by biblical study? Proabably. Is that a bad thing? I don't think so. Is there a potential to want to legislate religiosity through our political system? Yes, but it's unlikely because of our system of checks and balances. I it's just as likely to propose faulty legislation based on a secular logic that seems right but doesn't hold up. There's validity to many different kinds of thought processes.

    I could write so much more but it's your turn. I appreciate the tone of the discussion and hope it remains so.

  10. FlugelFlyer

    FlugelFlyer Piano User

    Dec 15, 2003
    Palos Park, IL
    Chipping in on the issue of stereotype, here's Mike: a college kid from both a rich multi-generation republican side and a south-side Chicago Irish democrat city-worker side.

    What I find funny these days is that you can't identify a Republican or Democrat anymore based on who they hang out with, what they wear, demographics, or anything else. At least in the school I go to, it seems like the Left and the Right are proportionally split down the line. On top of that, I find that the guys voting for each side aren't who you expect. In my crop of friends, there's a guy who you'd easily mistake for Al Capone. He has a thick old-Chicago mobster accent, dresses like a mobster, and ends up saying, "Bush is my boy." Also, I occasionally talk to a black person who dresses in Fubu and other such threads, and he leans to the right. Then, I have a teacher who's living the American dream. He has two kids who are very successful, has only had one wife who remains devoted. He's a former American Airlines MD-80 captain who took early retirement, owns his own plane, and his son has had the opportunity to fly that plane quite a bit. This professor comes accross as a Libertarian in class, but he votes Democrat. Then there's my brother-in-law who has a long ponytail, dresses gothic, drives too fast, won't eat meat, and was asked to play bass for Metallica evidently. Currently, he's a disc jockey. He's right there with Rush Limbaugh when it comes to politics.

    Oh well, just some pointless rambling. That wasn't too painful, was it?

    Then there's me, the 20 year old who spent 18 years as an outcast in society, yet I'm a right-winger, though mostly in an economic sense. Oh yeah, I'm broke. :shock:

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