Mowing down psychological tall grass and tangled weeds; clearing the field and planting new seeds. Thoughts lifted from my angry days, when someone asks my opinion and then denies it. If I tell you my favorite color, who else would have the "right" answer? Challenge it, oppose if you must, but to correct it is to erase my existence. If we all had the same thoughts, there would be no need for democracy. Cogito Ergo Sum.


…beyond your control? An "exit interview"

This is part 1 of a series in my response to the self-righteous, hypocritical sanctimony of a few people who think they have the calling to put thoughts into someone else's head and then disavow their handiwork.

Part 2: I found precisely which straw broke the camel's back, and the camel hasn't got a clue

Part 3: Hey Rain, I think you better get God on line one for a judgment call on this one

Audio is available as a playlist in two parts, A and B of my version of therapy on youtube at

Here's a quote from a comment left to me by the editor of the site to justify why she sent me packing:

... there needs to be respect for each other’s beliefs. It is so stated in our FAQ and it has been our way since the Street was opened.

I don't believe she wrote that. She's the one who declared - by her utter oblivion of what a jerk he is - that it was OK for one person to continually show disrespect to me and my beliefs, and then call me a hater when it became so absurd it made me angry.

How can I say that and claim to be objective? Well if she wants, I can show her the emails I have gotten in commisseration from other members of Street Prophets who recognize that John C Howard (JCHFLeetguy) is a sanctimonious ass towards more people than just I. As a self-proclaimed political Conservative, he may be a fox in the henhouse all this time, but since he's a real good Bible guy the radar apparently goes right over him.

Yes, I agree there needs to be respect for each other's beliefs. What seems to be most important, however, is who gets to decide what a "jerk" and a "hater" look and sound like. The objectivity of the referee is what matters most.

What follows is a fictional exit interview between whatever counselor/therapist/warden that anyone thinks is keeping me off the streets right now after the fourth great trauma in my life about religion. This is the stage of the interview where the counselor must first ask only questions so that they may first learn what happened; they cannot give advice until they think they understand what created the problem.

Snafubar: Well there it is. God was in control. It was "beyond their control" that snafubar felt belittled and dismissed by their constant apologies for all things religious and faithful that offended and condemned him. They first apologized for the Pat Robertsons and Sarah Palins and then they just ignored that on certain days some of their arguments and tactics were almost identical.

Counselor: But Joe, they were assailing you because you were an asshole?

Snafubar: Wait - they said it was beyond their control because my being an asshole is up to me. They excused that what the asshole was reacting to was up to them.

Counselor: Yeah, so what?

Snafubar:  If a guy is swearing at you because you just poked him in the eye with your finger, rather than object to his swearing you migth consider taking your finger out of his eye. THAT much was within their control.

Counselor:Yes, but it was their house. People should be allowed to control behavior within their own house.

Snafubar: Unless it's supposed to be an open house. If the goal is to promote community, if the ultimate "godfather" of the house says you should be impelled to align for political purposes despite your religious disparity, then the community of political goals is what should be preserved; not the community of religious harmony. What is so unforgivable now is that they're all gathering in sorrow as if they had nothing to do with this.

That's the beauty of this new found "get help" mentality in America. If you can label someone as "needing help" then you have absolved yourself from having any responsibility for how that person came to need "help" . If snafubar was living in seclusion on Mars, for example, isolated from all other human interaction, then it's perfectly reasonable to say that his bad behavior originated and was inspired by things that Street Prophets and the people who write there had nothing to do with it.

If the guy has spent hours per day at Street Prophets in recent months because he was isolated for the most part from the rest of his world, and he went from a guy who was grateful to them for their community and the spirit it brought to his life by being welcomed there, and then he comes to say that he doesn't feel so welcome any more because at times certain people want to defend their own positions at the expense of his, then others who contributed to his increasing anger can't erase their participation.

Counselor: But all you had to do was moderate your reaction. You were disrupting the harmony of the site.

Snafubar: I only asked them to consider how the actions of words of people in their own larger community - religion - affected me, which they simply excused or disavowed. What ultimately inspired my ire was that it became clear their own attitude was not much different. They knew they were all right, and if there was discord, the solution was for the outsiders to concede they must change and accept the others perspective - "for the good of the community".

Counselor: That's fair, don't you think? It was after all, their community.

Snafubar: Only to the point that even after I'm no longer there, I'm still somewhere. And I now carry the memories and scars of what happened that have shaped me. And - this is where the irony becomes almost crippling - the people that shaped me and helped form that anger they are so upset about have absolved themselves from any responsibility for it. They label me "sick" or "dangerous" or even just "angry" and they're off the hook.

Counselor: What if it's true? What if you are sick?

Snafubar: Hey - if all it takes to claim you can keep doing what you're doing and that whatever pain it causes others is not your fault; if all it takes to be absolved of your personal effect on others is to insist that the other person feeling the pain is too sensitive, then we can go ahead and make rape legal. After all, if we just train the women to respond better to being raped without having such a bad reaction to it, then what the rapist does to them is no longer a problem.

It's always the same problem, no matter how large or how small the circle of the community is: Whether it's two people in a marriage, or a community of 30 bloggers, or a political party of 60 million voters, or a country of 310 million people, or a planet of 6 billion of them - if the way to deal with strife and tension is to summarily label one party to be out of line and dismiss them (but to take no responsibility of what happens when they leave) then we should look forward to a world with more fences and walls, and a lot of rocks being thrown between the camps.

Counselor: Are you saying you're a victim of Street Prophets?

Snafubar: No. I'm saying that if their goal was to bring people of different world views, faiths, religions and philosophies together for political purposes  (and not preserve a safe place for people with religious foundations to say what they will and disavow the results) then they may not be who they think they are. There are examples that are still up on that site now where a person was admonished by site admins for criticizing Islam or Christianity for causing death, and two comments down the people who are still there blame atheism for causing death but suffered not admonition from the administrators.

Faith and religion always has an excuse - When a person with faith does the unthinkable, the others with that faith or religion say either that someone isn't doing it right, or what you see is really something else. Lack of faith, absense of faith - that always take the blame at face value.

My goal was always to point out the hypocrisy.

And in the end the hypocrisy proved itself.

It takes no courage, no effort, no real sacrifice to maintain a community where everyone already agrees. The people who impress me are those who can make peace even in the face of the most disparate points of view, the people who can keep harmony without declaring anyone "right" or "wrong", or "good" or "bad", or "healthy" or "sick".

Labels are good for cans, because otherwise you have no idea what is inside. If you want to know what a human being is thinking, you can ask them and they can tell you. But if you ask them their point of view, you must be at the absolute minimum, prepared to accept their answer. Their opinion is as legitimate to them as yours are to you. To insist otherwise would do as much violence to them as a person as if they did it to you. The danger is in the comparisions.

You can ask a human being what they're made of, and rather than slap a label on them and insist you know what they're made of, you must realize humans are too complex and dynamic and interactive for any one-word label to have any meaning.

There is no "community" smaller than that of humankind itself. We're all related whether we admit it or not. To do otherwise is to preserve "enclaves", not a community.

Street Prophets has preserved their "community" and it is shocking to read anyone write that what happened was "out of their control".

Counselor: But it is their community. And they are now reacting to what happened as a traumatic event to their community. They're actually demonstrating a grieving response.

Snafubar: Pause and think about that before you say anything. Beyond their control? No. Beyond their willingness to control it. There were a hundred chances to control it, when one person or a few persons could have realized that even if they did not agree with my point of view, it belongs to me no less than their own belongs to them. It doesn't have to be a zero sum choice all the time. My anger was in response to those who always had the same answer every time: Chapter and Verse, or "What others say while under the auspices of our shared religion or faith is not our responsibility, and we disavow even the impact it may have on others." Just as they want some other to make changes, they too can also make changes. But it's too easy for them to act like victims when in the end they are the people who inspired the reaction.

Whether or not the chicken or the egg comes first matters not, if your goal is from this day forward to keep having both chickens and eggs because they both have unique value. You can't make an omelette with a chicken, and you can't make a Chicken sandwitch with Grade A Fancy USDA inspected Large Eggs...

And if you have a problem with what is said here and feel like picking up the phone after you google where this person lives, all you need do is look back at this diary after Netroots Nation 2009 and ask yourself how the man who wrote those words in August became the one who you said was "beyond your control" in January.

That man lived alone. He had no family to talk to. He had few friends. His neighbors all love the NRA, or the Republican Party, or Fox News, so they are not a "safe place" to discuss anything political, economic, religious or civil. That man spent a lot of time on a computer blogging to keep open a lifeline to a world where others weren't so eager to convince him to change his favorite color. He sought a place where he could say "I'm pretty sure my favorite color is red" and not have to be told to go home and stay there because everyone else thought surely blue was a preferrable color and they didn't want to hear him disagree any more.

The squeaky wheel does not always get the grease. Sometimes the owner of the car just asks the mechanic to replace it with another wheel. In doing so the mechanic won't realize that it wasn't the wheel that made the noise, it was the bearings that allow the wheel to rotate. By then the bearings have failed and the car is disabled.

I'd like a ruling from "G"od from this one. Because every time I talk to "H"im, he tells me that logically I'm on pretty good ground. The other people who think they know "G"od hear my words and they think "G"od says I'm unforgivably wrong. I'm sure there will be someone who can tell me that their faith, their religion, they're interpretation surely says something different, because those are all subjective to the reader's interpretation. I'm just the wrong subject.

Beyond your control?

What happened to

"Be the change you want to see"

Sure, but if the other guy won't agree with you, don't change a thing, kick him out and wash your hands.

I got thrown out the first time for mentioning suicide. Someday, but I am not hopeful, it may become obvious that perhaps a cause of suicidal thoughts might be a large chorus of voices that always say that one person is wrong and they are not.

People like me get built; by hand. They get built by people who say they care.

A community preserves it's members because it values their contribution, even if their contribution is to be an indicator light that things are not all well.

If it were true that I really was the only one to apologize for anything, and that it was solely my actions alone that were regrettable - if I really knew that I was the one problem and the only problem - that would be the moment when I would look at myself in the mirror and realize that my critics were right all along. That would be the moment when - if my goal was not to cause pain in others like that I feel inside myself, and I realized I was causing other people pain merely by telling them I was in pain -

Tell me, counselors, that you can write that next sentence for me.

If a person who cares about you feels that he really is harming you, and what he wants is less harm all around, wouldn't that be the proof he really is such a horrible person that it is time to stop causing other people pain the only way that will be sure to work?

The Center For Disease Control website will confirm this for you, or you can look at a blog on Daily Kos and see how it works in real time:

In America, the Greatest Country In The World,

...where 90% of people believe in some kind of god,
...where there are  counselors and therapists and doctors and churches all around to offer "help" to people with troubled thoughts, how can it be true that

...40,000 people a year die in accidents.

...20,000 people a year are killed by others

...but 30,000 people a year

...more than 80 per day

...over three people every hour...

...reason that it's better to give up than to stay and fight it.

It might be because it's easy to blame it all on one simple problem and ignore all the things that might have caused that problem.

I wish you great success with your current program.

You've got roughly 30,000 more to go when you've fixed me. This year.

Be the change you want to see.


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