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- Pray, or don't pray, as you see fit. I don't want anyone to feel constrained or manipulated into praying (or thinking happy thoughts). Go ahead and don't pray, and think crabby thoughts. Or pray and think happy thoughts. The choice is yours, and yours alone.
- I do think specific prayers are a good thing. I mean, it is great to pray for world peace, or for everyone. But in one sense, when you pray for everyone, you pray for no one.
- Ultimately, this post was selfish. I think of my daughter often. I'm very proud of her, and if I was 35 years younger, I'd be sorely tempted to follow in her footsteps. I think any Dad who sees their children in possible danger prays for their safety. But yes, this is a specific request for a specific thing. FTR, in the 8 years and 6 weeks I've been on MGoBlog, I've never requested prayer. I simply thought it was a request that might resonate with a few readers.
- Campus. I feel that a university campus is the perfect place to have debate. That kind of was the premise of the OP. I feel that a campus is the place to be exposed to different views, and to move out of your comfort zone.
- The other place I disagree is with one specific subset of the population. That subset? Those who claim to be "open-minded," but in reality, are very closed-minded to those with whom they disagree. This is almost a meme. There is this idea in the academy, imhe, that they are open, and liberal, and generous in spirit. But the reality is that they share a perspective found in the majority of the academy, and are extremely narrow-minded. I kinda have this itch to point out their close-minded perspective. Their viewpoint matters less to me than their pompous attitude.
- I have family in Evanston, and in their circles, they literally can't conceive of anyone in their right mind taking a different political position than all their friends.
- One sister-in-law is an art professor, another a clinical psychiatrist in Manhattan. They likely travel in somewhat predictable circles.
- Conversely, as a pastor of a church, I see members who are predictably closeminded to positions other than the ones they've already predetermined. It is (mostly) pointless to have any debate.
|37 min 13 sec ago||Looks interesting||
It looks interesting. Rotten Tomatoes has it in the positive, although there are mixed reviews. I think I will see it for myself. Thanks for the heads up.
|2 days 6 hours ago||It was wonderful||
It was wonderful . . . I watched two games tonight. There is nothing like the joy and life of an opening High School game. (My son's school is predicted to win the 7A championship in Illinois this year). Just a glorious night. Enjoyed the football. Love Michigan football, but from kids football to HS to college, it all is good.
|2 days 15 hours ago||Wow||
I guess I didn't know that. Many of the teachers at my wife's school are making somewhere between 60 and 100k. Look at the military salary grid . . . enlisted are a bit less. My daughter, for instance, is around 27k. I didn't realize that teachers were in danger in the same way.
|2 days 16 hours ago||Thanks||
Thanks for your kind words. I spent a day at sea on her ship at high speed, and it was pretty amazing. They fired off the 5" gun, and got to see what was involved in all the ballistic missiles and the radar system.
Having said that, small fiberglass patrol boats now traveling at speeds up to 85 mph, working together and closing on a ship in a serpentine pattern, in a somewhat confined area, are extremely dangerous. They don't pick up on radar very well, they can close very quickly when you're only a couple miles offshore, and a single boat loaded with 500 pounds of high explosives getting through is enough to take out a destroyer. Actually, Star Wars is a reasonable analogy. A very powerful vessel (Death Star, Destroyer,) is somewhat vulnerable to waves of unconventional attack. In the case of the Destroyer, they decidedly do NOT want to fire on any patrolboats.
|2 days 16 hours ago||Really agree with you on several points||
I don't think "every game must include a thank-a-veteran moment, frequent uses of camo and flag imagery in uniforms and sideline apparel, etc."
I think thanking teachers and doctors and community organizers and leaders is a good thing. Doesn't need to only be the military.
Having said that, there are sacrifices made in the military that aren't often made by others mentioned above (deliberately being in a different world, different culture, working 24/7, low pay, sometimes having your life deliberately in danger).
In some ways, I would love to see compulsory national service, whether teaching, doing community service, construction, medical services, serving in the military. If almost every high school grad had a gap year where they served others in some way, it could be an incredible thing. However, this is definitely heading in the area of political discussion, so I will pull it back.
|2 days 16 hours ago||You are correct||
1johnb, you are correct (about the 20k on the ground). And as I made clear, I consider them in much more danger than my daughter. But I think of and support all of them.
|2 days 16 hours ago||Foreign policy there is a huge mess||
Foreign policy there is a huge mess. The US has made many, many missteps and mistakes for many years. There are no easy answers or solutions. The most I'll say is think of the soldiers and airmen and sailors who are deployed and serving in that arena. They are very far away from making any kind of policy decisions, but are the ones in harms way.
|2 days 16 hours ago||That'd be good||
That'd be good. (Praying for everyone, or praying for world peace). Three comments.
|2 days 16 hours ago||Well, I struck a nerve||
Well, I struck a nerve. I was pretty explicit in requesting prayer (or happy thoughts, or well wishes) on behalf of troops serving. I intentionally wasn't asking anything regarding America, or American foreign policy. I think debate on foreign policy is a good thing. And I don't think it is nearly as simple or black and white as it is often made out to be.
I will say that I was pretty happy to hear of my daughter's ship rescuing another ship overcrowded with refugees, who quite possibly would have died without their intervention. My daughter and I never talk about foreign policy, or whether or not her ship or the entire Carrier Group should be in the Persian Gulf. That is a policy decision way, way beyond her paygrade, and any wisdom I have.
The most I'll say is that the situation throughout the Middle East is horribly complicated and I really think there aren't any simple answers. I have spoken at length with a former Palestinian terrorist, and with another immigrant last year from Syria who is a recent convert from Islam. In the last couple years, he lost most of his personal property. When I asked both of them about some of the issues in the Middle East, and asked a particular question on Syria, the answer was, "all the choices are bad. The question is, what is the least bad choice?"
|2 days 17 hours ago||I can respect that||
I can respect that. Which is why I suggested that those who don't pray can think happy thoughts or wish them well. The last thing I want to do is have debate on prayer. Regardless of religious beliefs, I think most of us can be supportive of our troops?
|2 days 17 hours ago||I'd largely agree with you||
I'd largely agree with you. It is simply that personally, I think of my daughter. But God's perspective is infinitely more global and vast than mine (in terms of praying for all people).
|2 days 19 hours ago||You're most welcome||
You're most welcome. I appreciate your engaging in civil dialogue and questions and banter. I think one of the hardest things for me to deal with is when individuals have made very strong pre-judgements, and won't even have discussion. By virtue of my beliefs, I am labeled an intolerant, unthinking bigot. To use an analogy, not every Muslim is an ISIS sympathizer. And not every Christian is in the place of Westboro Baptist church, to use a fairly wellknown example.
|3 days 13 hours ago||Yep||
Yep, 3 disagree. It obviously doesn't matter for points. And I am too old to care about "likes." But I want to call out meanjoe. What's up with the (meaningless) downvote? Except, he's just going to make some witty or cute koala response.
|3 days 13 hours ago||Ok, I'll take the bait||
PrincetonBlue, I'll take the bait. I somewhat agree with you. It is ok to give safe spaces to those who don't want to be confronted. My father, who turned 90 this month, is kind of in this category. He still has a good mind, but his mind is pretty made up about most things. He isn't particularly open to ideas with which he disagrees. I mean, he tolerates them, doesn't feel the need to fight them. He is not hostile, or angry, or argumentative, or crabby. He's a pretty happy guy. But his mind is made up. There's really no point in confronting him about (most) of his views. Dad shares a two-flat with one of my sisters in Skevanston. My other sister lives a mile away. Her husband is Jewish, she works for the Art Institute, and they are pretty open-minded and liberal. They are in a very different place than Dad. But my sister recognizes that there is almost no good reason to debate Dad, to bait Dad, to argue with Dad. She isn't going to change him. So why fight? I am completely ok with that. My father was very good friends with my sister's father-in-law. Her father-in-law was a secular, liberal Jew. They had wonderful discussions and debates, but they recognized they probably weren't going to change each other's views.
Here's where I disagree with you.
|3 days 13 hours ago||That's a great point||
You are right. There is a legitimate misuse of micro-agression in discussion. And I completely agree that in certain contexts, there should be "safe spaces." In having debate and discussion, an awareness of "microagressions" is helpful. I think the point of the letter from the dean of students is that when these concepts are used as cover to shut down (or not even allow) for legitimate debate, something has gone wrong.
I travel in enough different circles that I can see how individuals are too often in silos, and never have the opportunity (or sometimes the interest) in engaging with others coming from a different position. Here are a few examples:
In these simple examples from my personal life, you have people at vastly different places on the political spectrum. The one thing that they have in common regardless of where they stand? An inability to have reasoned dialogue and discussion with those with whom they disagree. That is what I cherish in an environment like UofM.
|3 days 13 hours ago||Fully agree||
I fully agree with you about this site. Debate football (O'Korn vs. Speight, what is the weak spot on the team, why did we have three decommitments). This isn't the place for debate or discussion on gender identity, same sex marriage, transgender washroom access, the presidential election.
Actually, I kind of think almost none of those issues work well ANYWHERE on the Internet. No matter the political position, I always mildly shake my head when someone posts something on any of those issues at facebook or the like. I don't think it ever ends well. I am sometimes asked who I endorse. And I don't think I've EVER endorsed a political candidate, or shared with others how I am going to vote. Not even my kids. I might make an exception this year and vote for no one, and share that privately. (Now I'm really asking for a ticket to Bolivia).
|3 days 14 hours ago||Very well put||
Sopwith, I completely agree with you. I think there is more of a need for people to stand up for what they believe in, even when you have to use up your social capital in the process.
As a pastor, I stand in a place and hold some positions that are offensive to many people (including quite a few on this board). Mgoblog isn't the place for me to debate religion, and I don't. This place is an escape for me. (A safe space?) However, in my position as a pastor I am going to alienate some people. I am not going to be popular with some people. I am going to be rejected by some people. If, in the goal of being socially accepted, I avoid speaking out on what I believe, I have lost legitimacy. If I'm not willing to take some hits because of what I do and what I say, do I have anything important to say? I mean, even my own book says the same thing. Jesus said, "If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also." He said, "Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven."
In other words, I personally hold views that have a social cost. If I hide my views so I don't have to pay that social cost, then I really don't have much in the way of conviction on those views.
I recognize that my own views are increasingly held in low regard in society. And I'm ok with that. It goes with the territory. However, in a country founded on principles of freedom of expression and belief, I am concerned when marginalized positions are not even able to be part of the discussion.
|3 days 15 hours ago||That's fair||
That's fair. Thanks for your response. I wonder, living in the Chicago area, how much of the letter was really addressed to the academy in Northern Illinois, especially in light of the DePaul situation. I suppose for students coming from around the country without the local context, it might seem pretty heavy handed. I do think that at least in metro-Chicago, there is a concern (at least publicly) to allow for debate from different areas of the spectrum. There definitely is the meta issue of who controls and sets the parameters for the debate? Who are the puppetmasters deciding what is legitimate debate? But I still think having some discussion on the whole topic is worthwhile.
|3 days 15 hours ago||Shut down conservative speakers||
Twice in the last year, DePaul "uninvited" conservative speakers. To be fair, I think both were provocateurs. DePaul claimed that they couldn't adequately provide security, etc., etc. The problem was that there were students and others who loudly protested, claiming that to have such speakers on campus was violating a safe space for students, and offensive, and aggressive, and wrong, and that they weren't welcome. The issue wasn't the position of the speakers. The issue was that the campus, ostensibly "open-minded," was very close-minded to having conservatives speak. This has been very troubling for a number of thinking liberals. IIRC, Trib columnist Eric Zorn (a Michigan grad and probably on mgoblog) bemoaned the cancellation, basically because of the power of the protestors. The protestors "won," but at the expense of stifling free speech (albeit offensive speech).
|3 days 15 hours ago||You know, I fully agree with you||
maizenbluedevil, that is well put. I, of course, was preemptively stating that this has nothing to do with the position of the Democratic or Republican or Libertarian parties. I wasn't either for or against Trump or Hillary. But you are completely correct in the big picture. And yes, I am concerned about the community at large, and discourse in our country. Rather, I'm concerned about the lack of intelligent discussion and discourse. I am dismayed at the lack of ability to passionately discuss and consider positions other than those you already hold.
I get together with about 10 guys from UofM for a weekend every Fall, usually somewhere on Lake Michigan. We play euchre or hearts, go for walks on the beach, cook and eat good food, watch the game, maybe pick some apples or grapes or go for a bike ride. (The only thing that's changed much as the years have gone by is that we drink much less beer, more wine, and not much of either). But the reason for getting together is to be with good friends you can talk with, debate with, discuss with. That is the high point for me. Whether it is about economics, religion, politics, elections, foreign policy, parenting, transgender issues, etc., etc., etc., we are able to have hearty discussion and still walk away friends. It pains me that this is something that happens for me in very few other contexts.
|3 days 15 hours ago||Fascinating post||
Just read through the post . . . much more nuanced than the original letter from the Univ. of Chicago. Personally, I think there is room for both, and I would hope those working in the academy would have the common sense to be appropriately sensitive to students (looking at the examples from the blog post). I really would love to bait you into giving your personal comments. As in, do you think the letter from the dean of students was heavy handed and unneccessary, just propping up the existing power structure? Do you think that there is or is not a stifling climate for debate on liberal arts campuses? I.e., if you don't take the common position (typically called "liberal," although that is too simplistic,) there is no room for your position, or for reasoned discussion?
|3 days 16 hours ago||Love to go||
I'd love to go. Maybe the mods will buy me a ticket (one way?) Yay . . . it's Lake Titicaca for me!
|3 days 16 hours ago||I think I'd agree with you||
I think I'd agree with you. I'm curious: are there people out there who really are rape apologists? That's incredible. As regards fascism, my understanding is that fascism would be against liberal democracy, and the free discourse of different views. Which would make a fascist wanting the right to free expression of their ideas pretty ironic. Also curious: can you cite any instances of pro-fascists out there who are causing undue harm to a large swath of our population? I mean, I personally would reject fascism, but didn't realize it was a big problem out there. Guess I'm naive in that regard.
|3 days 16 hours ago||You may be right||
stephenrjking, you may be right. I actually, on a meta level, am interested to see whether or not the thread lasts or degenerates. "Why we can't have nice things."
Where I take issue with you? I do think you can take a position advocating for free speech, without necessarily denigrating the position that is held by others. I guess, in the USA, free speech is such a bedrock principle, particularly in academe, that I think it is worth defending and spelling out. In other words, the only position I would denigrate is one that advocates for authoritarianism or totalitarianism, and an absence of the expression of ideas different from those espoused by those in power.
|3 days 16 hours ago||Yep||
Being here is Chicago, I find myself shaking my head at what happened at DePaul. In fact, this is referenced, either in the editorial or in the companion Trib article.
|3 days 16 hours ago||More definitions of apolitical||
Being apolitical can also refer to situations in which people take an unbiased position in regard to political matters. I would fully agree with you that if you run away from all opposing views, it isn't healthy. In fact, that's the point of my post. My own personal position on the various concerns of today is irrelevant to the need for having conversations with others, particularly with those whom you disagree with.
|3 days 17 hours ago||Hmmm||
Hmmm. You may be right. This does have the potential to go terribly wrong, although I hope not. I have to admit, in posting this, I'm curious where the discussion will go. I studiously avoided taking ANY positions. Well, other than the position that it is good to have discussions with people you don't always agree with. Hope that is still true in today's academic environment.
|3 days 18 hours ago||Mixed feelings on UM's status||
I have mixed feelings on Michigan's status, and whether or not the records from a long time ago should be included. As a Michigan grad, I completely think that the early history is real, and should be counted. But in the real world, you always ask, what have you done lately? You can't live on your past glory. Exhibit number 1: ND. I absolutely love Michigan's overall record and accomplishments. But we can't live in the past. What is Michigan going to do this year, and in the coming 10 years? That is more critical than what happened a hundred years ago.
|3 days 21 hours ago||Don't know what to say||
I really don't know what to say. I'm still hoping that next week Brian unveils plenty of site operability changes. There are plenty of things that would make mgoblog easier to use. But I will continue to come here regardless. Thanks for your efforts. Maybe the site administration can create a site toggle switch to turn this feature on and off.
|4 days 15 hours ago||I didn't know||
I didn't know about this, but then, I'm old and clueless and out of the loop. My teenagers always say I'm the last to know anything.