Republicans and Democrats converge

We are a politically diverse group. Which is something our nation shares with us. However, our politicians cannot seem to negotiate with each other in their politics. But can a group of freethinkers possibly sort out this mess of differences between Republicans and Democrats without hitting the same brick wall our government representatives have hit.

I will do my best to mediate this discussion. I am a Democratic liberal so I know I may be accused of being biased. But I do find myself on the conservative side on some issues. So I will do my best to follow the ideals written out on this website.

http://www.diffen.com/difference/Democrat_vs_Republican

I am certain that there will be some that will disagree with some of the points on this website. However, I find them very close to the truth on both sides. We will take them issue by issue and make an attempt to understand each others point of view. 

This may require more than one meet up. I am willing to go as long as it takes to sort this mess out. And hopefully we can get as close as possible to an equal amount of party people as possible. 

Hope to see you there, Sam

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  • Paul Kukuca

    Mark, I was touched by your sensitivity. I don't think anyone has ever offered to provide a squeegee and wet wipes to clean up my mess before. And as for that little toughie Alida, when no one is looking I DO intend to try to sneak in a fifth sentence just to see what she does, even if it is only, "Wouldn't you agree, Alida?"

    February 25

  • Paul Kukuca

    Alida, if I'm limited in my responses to 3 or 4 sentences, I'm quite liable to explode. As big as I am, that could be quite an ugly mess! Are you willing to assume the consequences of that?

    1 · February 24

    • Mark Tiborsky

      We'll bring the squeegees & wet wipes :)

      1 · February 24

    • Suzy Wernet

      We could experiment with different formats.

      February 25

  • Suzy Wernet

    Curious why "Joe" who attended this Meetup and had many comments, did not sign up here. Are you reading this, Joe?

    1 · February 25

  • Karen

    3 or 4 sentences might be too limiting. I liked when people with something to contribute were allowed to express their ideas and share info. A "talking stick"?

    1 · February 24

    • Mark Tiborsky

      Maybe time limit instead of sentence limit. I think we have a one-minute hourglass that came with some game.

      1 · February 24

    • Karen

      Yes, fun and mind-expanding! Can't we just be a self-governing group as we seemed to be last time? As soon as you begin imposing rules....well, you have a "government"!!­!

      February 25

  • Paul Kukuca

    Arbitrary limits makes being the moderator a tough job. I am not saying this as a point against setting a limit, I am merely observing trying to count words or sentences or complete thoughts or concepts or any unit or even only keeping time is actually a tough thing to do during a running conversation, particularly if you are also trying to listen to what's being said. And then to actually interrupt someone on the basis of length when you haven't been following what they are saying? Tough for both parties. A talking stick only empowers the speaker, it doesn't shorten his speech. Maude's protocol seems to me the only workable alternative so far offered if the problem is not everyone having a chance to speak. It doesn't cut people off after 3 or 4 sentences but it does tend to restrict how often they might comment. (Of course it will be on all your heads if I do actually explode. The guilt I mean, not necessarily the bloody mess, depending on where you may be sitting.)

    February 24

  • Maude

    I'm at a disadvantage because I missed this, due to sitting in a parking lot on Brookpark Road with dead windshield wipers. However, Cleveland Salon gatherings have a system that may be useful. Say you divide the time up according to maybe, three topics decided upon ahead of time as Suzy suggests. For each topic, Sam, or the person suggesting the topic can give a 1 minute intro, and then calls on the whomever has their hand raised to contribute. Each speaker in turn, yields to the next by calling on someone else. The rule is that when finished speaking, one looks for someone who has not yet spoken first, or has had few comments so far, and only calls on someone who has spoken a lot already if the others aren't raising their hand.

    No one interrupts the person who has the floor, and to question or comment to someone who has spoken, you need to raise your hand and wait for a speaker to yield to you.

    February 24

  • Suzy Wernet

    Remarkable that the conversation/discussion was respectable and well attended! For myself, I continue to learn from fellow freethinkers, as many have had diverse experiences and also have desired to read what I have not. It is difficult to not come out of such a discussion feeling a bit depressed regarding our future in the USA. However, the good thing is seeing a room full of people with different ideas all consciously trying to work together which will be a big plus in any crisis we might have to deal with down the road. A big thank you to Sam for putting on this meetup and I hope there will be more with this topic!

    4 · February 23

    • Suzy Wernet

      Maybe ask for topic suggestions beforehand to be discussed in order. (then compile a short list of topics) Ask that if someone suggests a topic, then they must commit to attending the Meetup, and even possibly presenting the suggested topic to the group.

      1 · February 24

    • Alida thynne

      thanks Sam good gathering, would be nice as Karen and suzy suggested and that it be more conversational with responses limited to 3 or 4 sentences so that everyone can be involved

      1 · February 24

  • Paul Kukuca

    Nice people, yes, but where was the promised fisticuffs??? I'd also like to add to Randy's comment, below. Although the writing is a little more stilted than most of us are used to, The Wealth of Nations is actually an easy and enjoyable read after you grow accustomed to its style. The same can be said about The Theory of Moral Sentiments, which is where the famous phrase "the invisible hand" originated. (And in case you are wondering, Smith also makes it very clear by implication that this invisible hand is attached to the arm of God, something seldom mentioned.) A Wealth of Nations is commonly misconstrued and misrepresented by Conservatives and Conservative economists. There is actually much more for Liberals to like about the book than you might otherwise suspect from how Conservatives refer to it and almost nothing in it to dislike.

    2 · February 23

    • Sam Salerno

      Sorry Paul we couldn't afford security this time. Maybe next time.

      February 23

  • Mark Tiborsky

    My gig ran late (predictably) but I'm glad I caught up with some of you at Applebee's. I look forward to the next Meetup of this type!

    2 · February 23

  • Suzy Wernet

    I suggest those who missed this meetup make sure and attend the next one, as it was quite the positive experience seeing fellow Freethinkers attempt this difficult subject matter. You will be impressed.

    3 · February 23

  • Karen

    This was one of my favorite meetings, and I consider myself "apolitical". This was a very informed, thoughtful, and considerate group. I very much enjoyed hearing all the different viewpoints. As I watched as everyone agreed to disagree, it struck me that this type of discussion probably not taking place anywhere within our own governmental structure. Play it again, Sam!

    4 · February 22

    • Sam Salerno

      Thank you so much for your positive feedback Karen. I will be happy to do this again. And thanks for coming. It's always good to see you and your +1. lol

      3 · February 23

    • Karen

      :-) Ditto, Sam :-)

      2 · February 23

  • Sam Salerno

    Here are the two books that where brought up in our meet up. "The Social Conquest of Earth" by E.O. Wilson. And "The Wealth of Nations" by Adam Smith

    1 · February 23

    • Randy Pelton

      I'd like to add for anyone who may be planning to read The Wealth of Nations that you should also read Adam Smith's The Theory of Moral Sentiments. These two books are not separate but are part of a larger effort by Smith to develop what he called a "science of man". The full meaning of the Wealth of Nation's is not clear without also reading The Theory of Moral Sentiments.

      3 · February 23

  • Ron Dorazio

    OMG! The argument has already commenced on what parties, if any, or all, or none, should be represented. And this is with nary a peep from hard right or tea party types. All I can say is GOOD LUCK! Be sure to have all weapons checked at the door. So out of curiosity, is everyone atheist, or at least religiously agnostic? Be nice to have some common ground.

    February 22

    • Mark Tiborsky

      Yep, pretty much a bunch of infidel heretics :)

      1 · February 22

    • Ron Dorazio

      Thank God for that, so to speak.

      2 · February 22

  • Ian Yee

    I personally think the "Democrat vs. Republican" is an example of the false dilemma or false dichotomy logical fallacy. Many other developed nations have multiple active political parties that actually have representation due to a parliamentary style government or proportional representation. There are too many different issues to try to match to one of two parties. Also conservative does not necessarily equate to Republican and liberal does not necessarily equate to Democrat.

    1 · February 22

    • Alida thynne

      unfortunately, coalition govt.s don't appear to have a long life

      1 · February 22

    • A former member
      A former member

      Ian, I had originally thought of not joining this debate for exactly the same kind of reason; I thought the debate would be ideologically be too narrow, stuck between these two corporate parties that have been monopolizing the American politics, and I would once again feel like an alien from outer space. I decided to come because I was given a guarantee that not all participants will be limited to this narrow ideological range. I'm still hesitant, actually, but I will be there. I'm getting into my space ship in a few minutes.

      2 · February 22

  • Maude

    For my contribution, I started asking the kid (kinda Republican on some things) who works at the corner store if he knew anyone who would want to join us. Like, maybe, people from this gun club he knows of. Or something.

    1 · February 20

    • Maude

      Yes, actually, I lean toward being pro 2nd amendment. If I think about it, I supposed I have several of what would be considered more conservative stances.

      February 22

    • Mark Tiborsky

      Rightie! :)

      February 22

  • Mark Tiborsky

    On at least one issue, the libertarians have been WAY ahead of the curve. Which is, one of the most idiotic social experiments of all time (the "War on Drugs"). The decriminalization of pot was in the party platform as far back as 1992, when their presidential candidate was a person named Andre Meriue, if I remember correctly (who probably received like 0.1% of the vote :). Nowadays it's been adopted as a "progressive" cause, but for years not much support from so-called "liberal" Democrats (at least on a national level).

    1 · February 22

  • Alida thynne

    the fight has been joined

    February 22

  • Paul Kukuca

    Ian, Republican v. Democrat is not a false dichotomy because it is not a logical dichotomy at all. Are Libertarians necessarily Democrats or Republicans? How about members of the Green party? And surely we all recognize there are others who truly are Independent. Moreover, while there are plenty of Conservative Democrats, there are NO Liberal Republicans. The Ripon Club is long a thing of the past and Republicans have acted to purge any and all traces of Liberalism from their party.

    February 22

    • Ian Yee

      Paul, i think you misunderstood my statement. I was saying that framing this event meetup as "Democrats and Republicans" is a false dichotomy. I am personally an independent and have never been a member of the Republican or Democratic parties. The Green, Libertarian, Natural Law, etc. have existed on paper for decades, but how many have actually made it to the national/federal level or even the state level?

      1 · February 22

    • Sam Salerno

      Ut is true Ian I should have included all parties. Because that is what I meant.

      February 22

  • Paul Kukuca

    Maude, I'm"pro" to ALL of the legally enacted amendments to the Constitution. What I'm against is the illogical and ahistorical interpretation Conservatives and now the Conservative majority of the Supreme Court have conspired to ascribe to it. Do you deny global warming too?

    February 22

  • Paul Kukuca

    Fisticuffs??? Alida, as a former heavyweight boxer, bar brawler, and long-time rugby player, your comments are making this meet-up sound better and better to me! I'm looking forward to Sam trying to keep things civil (wink).

    3 · February 21

  • laura smith

    BIG MISTAKE IN MY RANT. NOT ESPIONAGE BUT EMBEZZLE. Although, I'm sure several are guilty of espionage also.

    February 21

    • Sam Salerno

      Thanks for the clarification Laura. There are plenty of bullshitters in the world. But not many spies.

      1 · February 22

  • Ron Dorazio

    I don't think anybody here knows me personally because I haven't attended any meetups, but I am looking forward to doing so soon. And this one certainly promises to be interesting. But I have to wonder, have you had any meetups similar to this before? I can't imagine progressives and conservatives having a civil conversation these days. They certainly can't do it at a congressional level. As a liberal (at least mostly - I'm not very big on political correctness) I am fairly adamant about my beliefs, but my take is that 2nd Amendment enthusiasts, pro life activists, and the devoutly religious (just to mention a few mostly conservative groups) are not the sort open to compromise, or even a little bending. Fact is, in my long experience of debating with them (from a distance), they are much more likely to become extremely defensive, or worse, than ever consider another point of view. I guess I could be wrong though. I hope so. lol.

    2 · February 21

    • Mark Tiborsky

      Haha

      February 21

    • Sam Salerno

      The answer to your question Ron is, I don't ever remember having a meet up like this with the freethinkers. So buckle up it will be a long ride. BTW, I will have a gun for protection as long as this world remains as violent as it is.

      1 · February 22

  • Diane

    I definitely lean right and would enjoy this unless the weather gets crazy as I am an east sider. Great idea!

    February 18

    • Alida thynne

      hey sam who do you think we are the US congress??

      2 · February 20

    • Sam Salerno

      No, that's why I think we can be more civil. Hell I guess I could be wrong.

      1 · February 21

  • laura smith

    You know, I've had it !! Every politician is corrupt & guilty of espionage. They squeeze every cent out of us they can get, through loop holes. Not caring about us, just about padding their bank acc'ts. Now they want to cut the veterans pensions. COULD THEY BE ANY WORSE. I'm not voting anymore unless it's for raising taxes, etc.

    We were on the "fiscal cliff" & what'd they do ? Made sure they got their useless raises passed. They deserve nothing !!

    February 21

  • Mark Tiborsky

    I hope y'all are still in the discussion post-9pm. I rsvp'd yes but I'll be shooting over after my gig. The idea for this meetup is too good to miss! Perhaps later installments should be titled "Political Diversity Convergence". I bet there is PLENTY of diversity of opinion even among those who would generally label themselves "left". For instance, I'm practically socialist on some things but at odds with a lot of modern liberals on some other things. There is MUCH to discuss when delving into individual issues and ideas.

    1 · February 20

    • Mark Tiborsky

      These days, it seems "liberal" is not always synonymous with "progressive".­

      1 · February 20

  • Paul Kukuca

    Left or Far Left? An amusing question, Alida. I used to be considered Centrist in the 70's, now apparently I'm on the far Left, though my positions haven't changed much. That's what the Harper's article I mentioned is, in part, about. How, for example, a "liberal" president like Clinton could effectively "reform" welfare out of existence or embrace NAFTA or introduce proficiency testing in schools or how a "liberal" president like Obama could ignore single payer healthcare reform or continue No Child Left Behind or actually consider an economist like Lawrence Summers, Alan Greenspan's right hand man and philosophical partner in crime, as head of the Fed. (In fact, look at ALL of Obama's Counsel of Economic Advisors!) If Obama were white would anyone confuse him with being a liberal?

    1 · February 20

  • Paul Kukuca

    Is anyone actually expecting any real Republicans or Conservatives to show up for this???

    February 17

    • Paul Kukuca

      Or we could talk about the excellent cover article in the March issue of Harper's of the fading of the Left into irrelevancy, however much we might wish it were otherwise.

      February 19

    • Alida thynne

      the left or the far left

      February 19

  • Mark Tiborsky

    Sam, great idea! I would certainly attend but I have a gig at 8pm in downtown Cleveland :( It's an opening-band thing though, and maybe I'll see some of you later if you head over to Applebee's, etc after Panera.

    1 · January 27

    • Mark Tiborsky

      I hope we do another one of these sometime!

      1 · January 27

    • Sam Salerno

      We can make this meeting a repeat. And since its Saturday I'm for applebee's afterward.

      February 16

  • Dale

    Too far to go for this weather.

    February 10

  • Suzy Wernet

    I very much like to hear how my friends think.

    January 28

  • Bryan

    I lean left, but hold several beliefs/attitudes that would probably be considered conservative, even though I loathe that word.

    2 · January 28

  • Dale

    Tentative. But it would be interesting to hear what will go on. Maybe you can start a Freethinker party. Everybody loves a party. ;-)

    January 26

  • Ron Dorazio

    I don't think I've ever met a conservative, Republican humanist. Do they even exist?

    1 · January 26

  • laura smith

    So looking forward to this. The politicians in office are so corrupt. Voting is a joke. We need a truth side.

    January 26

  • Maude

    This is a fabulous idea, Sam. I'm a Democratic moderate-to-liberal. Ok, so we need some Republicans.

    January 25

  • Randy Pelton

    I'll be there to assist in representing the progressive liberal perspective. More than happy to hear what conservatives and libertarians in the group have to say. I suggest that discuss first the underlying principles each side holds before tackling specific political issues.

    1 · January 26

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