A Conversation With a Friend

by Sean Cribbs

If you’re a Facebook junkie like so many of us, you’re probably familiar with this year’s election-related features. Back in September sometime I joined a bunch of groups to support my preferred issues and candidates. Not long before this, an old friend of mine from University of Tulsa had joined my friends list. When he saw my chosen issues, here’s the conversation that began.


Why you gotta be so moveon.org ? Get a damn hair cut, hippy. :)


Keep talkin, your foot looks good in your mouth. It’ll look even better when the bastard is impeached.

p.s. My hair is as short as ever… except for that time in college when I looked like a cancer patient.


Hey, don’t blame me, I voted nader both times – the progressive who doesn’t hate religion!

Oh yeah, and my hair while i am in london is gonna get SHAGGGY. and a zz top beard too. maybe not.


I don’t think most progressives hate religion, I think they believe in the clear separation of church and state. That is, not only does the state not meddle in religion, but religion does not meddle in the state.

Somehow, neo-conservatives have duped the Religious Right into thinking that they actually care about the same issues, but they’re really just using the RR issues as wedges to get strong reactions from voters and confuse the populace about what’s really important for government. As such, it can appear as if neo-cons are faithful, upright people who care about right and wrong, but are really no better than anyone else in Washington.

Moreover, it’s a distraction tactic from all of the things that people should be concerned about, including the economy, relationships with other nations, individual rights and responsibilities, and political corruption. I think the Abramoff and Foley scandals prove that we constantly have to be critical of our government, one thing that has been lacking in recent years.

(steps down off soapbox)

When and for what are you going to London?


I came to London so I could travel to France and see the destruction from secularists who have so separated church and state as to ban wearing a cross in a public school. Or maybe attend the shrines of the martyrs from the french revolution which endorsed such separation. Then again, I did travel to Cologne, and at the cathedral they pointed out that many religious works were no longer there, again because of the invading secularists who wanted to separate church from the state.

As long as there are people with religious beliefs there will be religion “meddling” with the state. To say that they don’t hate religion – but just think it should pipe down, shut up, move to the back of the bus and take it lying down – is a sick, sick joke. The KKK didn’t hate blacks – they just wanted them to be a permanent underclass with no voice.

The phrase you are referencing was written in a private letter in 1803, then held privately for 150 years when 6 unelected douchebags declared it sacred scripture.

If these “wedges” have no truth, they would have no power. Maybe if there was actual, real discussion and tolerance on the other side, they’d get somewhere on the “real” issues.

You’re right that “neo-cons” haven’t delivered much to social conservatives and religious people who voted republican. However, they did deliver two great supreme court seats.

What you said brings up an interesting point I once heard. One of the greatest disasters for the republican party would be if Roe v Wade were actually overturned. There would much less for orthodox christians to stick around for – using the points you brought up about treatment for the poor, etc. So – the republicans are best served by keeping things right on the edge – but not succeeding. The base stays energized, but they don’t kill the goose who lays the golden egg.

I’ll tell you what I would like to see – more pro-life progressive stuff. Then I’d feel I could trust them more. Or at least progressives who wouldn’t call me “anti-choice.” That really shows their hate for the essence of who I am. I mean – jeez, thanks a lot, i was just trying to be consistent on having human rights and dignity for everyone, and they call me a woman-hater. How can I ever sign up for that?

I’ve actually wanted to start ignoring politics a lot more. As it is, I have to wander in space with no home, and just get irritated at all the crap and lies. It’s not good for my soul. I mean – look at me now, I’m bitching out a good friend who I haven’t seen in years when I should be talking about all the silly things that british people do! Like smoke – everywhere.


I think it’s easy to bitch and moan. What’s hard is figuring out how to turn all the negativity into action. Actually, negativity is probably too strong a word. Quoth Thoreau, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation.” Most people have an inertia about politics that basically amounts to ignoring it until they’re screwed by the government.

I think it’s neat that you’re in London, I’m sure it gives some perspective on how people around the world live their lives very differently.

I can see both extremes of church/government separation as dangerous, because they both lead to a Procrustean system. Either you must practice one religion (Iran) or you can’t barely practice any (many EU). Both the government and religion must have respect and tolerance for each other. That’s not to say that government leaders and voters can’t make decisions or be mobilized on religious ideals and values, just that each has its place. That’s my opinion at least.

However, one thing that is ridiculous, at least in America, is Christians playing the “I’m oppressed” card. It’s patently false. Christians make up probably 80% or more of the population. I would call that a majority, not an oppressed minority. While oppression, or at least extreme restriction, may be present in EU, it’s not here.

I don’t understand what “phrase [I was] referencing”. Please explain.

“Wedges” do have truth; they have power to move people’s emotions. They just have little to do with the true agendae of the neo-cons. They use them to get people to vote certain ways and then fail to deliver. For example, the “gay marriage” amendment – something that many people are passionate about but making it a Constitutional amendment is more ridiculous than prohibition.

Ironically enough, those Supreme Court seats are turning out to be more independent than first expected. I think it’s funny how time and time again, a Supreme Court justice will go against the grain of what was first expected of their ideology, once on the court.

You hit the nail on the head about RvW. Keep people pumped up, but never deliver… the ultimate tease! (Sorry about the double-entendres.)

Abortion is such a sticky issue. I think the problem with it is the debate is not really about what it appears to be. I think we both know and agree that it is against human nature to be celibate—hence why being a priest is such a supreme obligation. In light of this, it is plainly impractical to provide no alternative to abortion except abstinence. While the Catholic Church’s position is admirable (the protection of all life) and ideologically consistent, it is far from practical.

If we didn’t live in a culture that came from a patriarchal past, we wouldn’t need abortion. But sadly, the debate over it is not really about the life of a fetus, but about women’s rights. A woman is slighted by society if she has a child out of wedlock OR if she chooses to have an abortion OR if she uses artificial birth control. It’s honestly a no-win situation for the woman.

Beyond that, the last thing we need is women trying to give themselves abortions with coat hangers. So basically, I feel that while abortion is a gruesome procedure that damages all parties involved, it is a necessary practice in a society that backs women into such a corner.

Interestingly enough, not all progressives are “anti-life/pro-choice”. John Kerry, although he disagrees with abortion, took the “hands off” approach. I thought that was admirable.

In my personal opinion, what needs to be legislated by government are issues that affect the Social Contract, not issues that reflect personal moral beliefs. That is, is everyone given equal rights and opportunities, is the majority supported while the minority protected, is there appropriate balance of power between all parts of government and the people.

What scare me are the consolidation of power in any authority, be it moral, political, or economic; the ideological polarization of states and religions; the inability to discuss and debate issues (including through satire) without fervent and violent backlash, including the broad categorization of any critics as enemies.

We’re all together on this Earth, and we need to find ways to live with each other rather than against each other. One would think that after thousands of years of bloodshed and now, with the ability to communicate easily to almost anyone in the world, our barriers would be coming down, rather than getting higher.

And that’s where the conversation ended. Unfortunately he hasn’t responded to my last comment, I think I may have scared him off. What was really refreshing about this conversation was that we were able to start a discussion with shutting down or getting defensive; so much of socio-political rhetoric nowadays is in a hyper-reactional, hyper-defensive tone.

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