8 Responses to What makes them tick: Part 2.

  1. LB says:

    It’s true that words matter. Words hold the potential to harm or heal, to enlighten and inspire or confuse and mislead. We lose credibility when our actions contradict or consistently fail to align with our words and ideas.

    We move a little further along the path when we apply the same standards and critical perspective in recognizing the contradictions in both Donald Trump’s *and* Elizabeth Warren’s words, as well as our own.

  2. Barbara says:

    My views coincide with those of Coretta Scott King and Senator Elizabeth Warren. Let the haters in this world bond together in one eminently defeatable group, and “we shall overcome,” as promised by Martin Luther King, Jr. Positive attitudes should always triumph over negative ones. I feel proud of Edward Kennedy for his positive views when he became Senator of the state I was born in, Massachusetts.

  3. LB says:

    During Israel’s relentless bombing of Gaza ~in which 500+ children were killed and more than 1,000 children were left permanently disabled ~ Elizabeth Warren voted to send $225 million to Israel to help them acquire more effective weapons of death and destruction:



    A few years later, she added her signature to an April 25, 2016 letter addressed to President Obama, which began:

    “We commend you for your continued work on negotiating a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for security assistance to Israel. In light of Israel’s dramatically rising defense challenges, we stand ready to support a substantially enhanced new long-term agreement to help provide Israel the resources it requires to defend itself and preserve its qualitative military edge . . .”


    President Obama must’ve agreed, because in September of 2016 he committed to a record $38 BILLION in military aid to Israel over a ten-year period.

    I’ve read some of your previous posts about Palestine, Kathie. Whatever the rationale, I hope we can agree that Senator Warren’s consistent support of Israel (especially against an oppressed and colonized people) does nothing to further the goals of peace and social justice.

    Additionally, the *BILLIONS* of U.S. taxpayer dollars sent and promised to Israel (a country with universal healthcare) is money that could’ve gone to help strengthen U.S. social safety nets or towards affordable housing, public education, veterans, various community programs, infrastructure, new pipes and safe drinking water for Flint residents. There are so many positive possibilities and potential alternatives for money Elizabeth Warren (and other leaders) want spent on more weapons and war.

    It’s money that could’ve helped to establish single-payer (universal) healthcare in this country, something Senator Warren does NOT currently support.

    And as I’ve pointed out before, Senator Warren recently voted to confirm General James Mattis (accused of committing war crimes), as Trump’s Secretary of Defense:


    Eloquent, impassioned (and morally engaged) words come alive, gain strength and the power to inspire when supported by our actions. Challenging as it may be, our words and ideas are only as meaningful as our willingness to act upon them in meaningful and consistent ways.

  4. kathiemm says:

    Hi, LB. Yes, I agree that “Senator Warren’s consistent support of Israel (especially against an oppressed and colonized people) does nothing to further the goals of peace and social justice.” Sadly, I have yet to find an exemplar of morally engaged reasoning who demonstrates that type of reasoning in regard to every issue. It seems to me that everyone I have ever known and heard of has flaws; even moral icons such as Gandhi and Nelson Mandela have their critics, and clearly Nelson Mandela’s credo of nonviolence took some time to evolve. Indeed, the God portrayed in the overlapping holy books of the “people of the Book” (Jews, Christians, and Muslims) is portrayed as pretty violent and vengeful.

    So, I look for examples of the kinds of reasoning and the kinds of behavior that can help move people in the direction of peace and social justice as well as the kinds of reasoning and behavior that promote violence. I do not expect to find perfection, and indeed struggle with my own inability to abide ceaselessly by the Golden Rule.
    In regard to the political arena, it seems to me that there are many “leaders” who are concerned only with self-aggrandizement and domination and others who have a true interest in making democracy work and improving social justice. Some citizens are so discouraged about the choices available within the system that they withdraw from it all together, which I do not think will lead to better circumstances for all. Others of us struggle to make what seem to be the most tolerable choices given current realities, while also doing whatever seems possible to make the choices better. This includes recruiting and supporting and trying to influence the potential candidates who are most likely to work for peace and social justice while also trying to address the corrupting elements within the political system (like Citizens United).

    • LB says:

      Thank you for your thoughtful response, Kathie. It’s true none of us are perfect, though I would hope if you or I were personally faced with the decision to murder or oppress innocents within our field of vision (our next door neighbors and their children, for instance), we would not. These injustices only become acceptable because they’re so distant from us, not real at all, only abstract thoughts, numbers, ideas on a page. We’ve been conditioned, have forgotten what it means to walk in love.

      We can be tolerant and forgiving of imperfections and past errors in judgment without promoting or rationalizing the worst forms of active injustice. . . which, in terms of moral disengagement would seem to meet the description of “Advantageous Comparison”:

      “In addition to moral justification, another mechanism that individuals can deploy to make harmful behavior seem morally acceptable is termed advantageous comparison. This process exploits the contrast principle, which follows the assumption that the perception of human conduct is influenced by what it is compared against. That is, individuals contrast their conduct with other examples of more immoral behavior and in doing this comparison their own behavior is trivialized. The more immoral the contrasting behavior is, the more likely it is that one’s destructive behavior will seem less bad.”


      There are other ways to work towards peace and social justice. When we vote for or promote someone, we condone the totality of their actions. That means when we knowingly vote for or promote someone who continues to vote for or support war, murder or oppression (for whatever misguided reason), ***we’re also condoning war, murder and oppression.***

      Some of the historical figures who’ve inspired me include Father Damien (“The Leper Priest”), Minnie Vautrin (“The Goddess of Nanking”), Harriett Tubman and Martin Luther King, Jr., and of course, both Jesus and the Buddha. Those still living include peace activist and teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh and truth-tellers Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden, as well as former foreign correspondent and journalist Chris Hedges, who at one time risked his life to reveal the horrors of war and unfettered capitalism and who now volunteers teaching prison inmates as he continues to advocate for a more just and peaceful world. Though I rarely agree with all of his positions, the truths he reveals are relevant and necessary.

      None of the people I’ve mentioned were (or are) perfect. Yet each of them, in their own unique and flawed way, has promoted peace and social justice.

      When Jesus came, he addressed the hardness of God you referred to in your comment by revealing a new, more loving, inclusive, forgiving and compassionate way of living. He taught that to live by the sword is to die by the sword, calls us to put away our weapons.

      • kathiemm says:

        Your comments are well-taken, LP, and I also revere all the individuals you list as role models. I wish more individuals like them would run for political office. Are you advocating not voting at all when none of the candidates has all the character strengths we would like to see? Your reference to advantageous comparison is worthy of discussion–that is a mechanism of moral disengagement that I have often discussed on this blog. So also is your reference to Christ. It pains me personally that so many people who call themselves Christians do not follow his pathway. When I made a comment similar to yours to a very conservative Christian, he said I did not understand the Trinity–God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. He said that everything in the Old Testament is the voice of God, and God IS the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost so that the violence often seen in the Old Testament is as much the voice of Christ/God as are the later messages directly attributed to Christ.
        Which brings us back to the basic question of how best to move people to embrace and pursue the Golden Rule, peace, and social justice. I hope more of Engaging Peace’s readers will submit their views on these topics.

        • LB says:

          Kathie ~ Because I appreciate many of Jung’s ideas, I believe God of the Old Testament reflected all aspects (both dark and light) of the human psyche. *Our* human psyche, which is shaped by conscious and unconscious, negative and positive, personal and collective forces. Jesus understood our temptations and our suffering, came to teach and heal, and to model a new, more conscious, loving and inclusive way.

          I choose not to vote at a national level because it only supports a system that excludes, murders and oppresses, and which is based on a world view both Jesus and the Buddha (as well as other teachers and prophets) have called us to move beyond. It’s a system that values money, power, comfort and the appearance of righteousness over truth, compassion and the sacredness of life. I understand why many are working to bring greater attention to 3rd-party candidates, Green, Socialist, etc. Maybe they’ll provide a peaceful and just alternative in the future. I hope so.

  5. LB says:

    I wanted to add how I read somewhere recently that our various ideas about what God is like (and considers morally acceptable) actually reveal more about our own natures and what it is we value.

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