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I live in a relatively small city and work in a relatively public field (health care). Up until very recently I've made an effort to keep my political life separate from my work, social and social media life. But a few weeks ago I came to the conclusion that continuing to "silo" my convictions was not helping anyone - not me or anyone who might read them. If my employer takes umbrage I'll deal with it. If I'm terminated it's their loss. I'm almost 72 and very, very good at what I do, and have been holding on through hard times out of loyalty as much as anything else. If freed from work obligations I'll have more time (though less money) to put into supporting the things that are important to me: the survival of our democracy and a fairer society for all of us. And knitting to stay sane.

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Go for it! Throughout my healthcare career, we have always been cautioned against bringing politics into our work. I have always discussed politics with my patients and coworkers, but only in terms of healthcare - we talk about insulin costs these days, I talk with my older patients about how our young staff won’t get the same retirement benefits as they did and may not show up because they need childcare, or have to quit because they cannot afford the gas to get here, we talk about Big Pharma profits, and Big Law missing the mark on growing, expensive, unfunded regulations. We talk about the lack of Internet access for patients to communicate, and we talk about algorithms when searching for medical information on the net. We talk about supplement deregulation (thanks Orrin Hatch, R-UT), unfair drug patent extensions (thanks Dianne Feinstein, D-CA), and we talk about healthcare ethics (for many, their first exposure to ethics in general). And, we talk about the importance of voting. So, come sit by me, I can help people understand how politics permeates their lives, while their algorithms are blissfully ignorant. And for all that, I find the young people more open and more interested, and my older patients more rigid and closed minded.

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Joyce “didn’t know enough, or didn’t care” describes most anyone that would vote for tfg after all that’s gone down. Many tfg voters are so blissfully unaware of so much that readers of Civil Discourse eat for breakfast.

Well said John. Medicine is in sorry shape despite (or because of?) our amazing technological innovations. The profit motive supersedes everything. The medical and education fields should be less about profit and and more about serving the greatest number of people possible. Lifting society rather than crassly profitting from the suffering of others (or ignorance of others). Prisons should be about humane treatment of individuals with an eye toward whether they could be capable of dignity again, rather than a purely for profit pejorative exercise. Call me Frank Capra I guess. Some facets of our society need to be about more than profit.

Covered a lot of ground I know. I know I probably covered too much ground with this rant. So sue me…

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A fine missive... and sadly, spot-on. The reality: our "unbridled Capitalist" society encourages greed and forsakes humanistic principles (especially people's health and well-being) for profit - the most disgusting aspect of which is our Healthcare-for-Profit system. We are the only major nation with this abomination... and it is all driven by an almost completely unregulated Health Insurance system - which should be nationalized like other countries. Off my soapbox.

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I agree with you completely. Capitalism is the first problem of human society. Some people hoard money. They feel paying taxes is not fair because they can afford to buy anything they need or want and other people are just living off them. For some reason they don't realize that without the "other people" they would have nothing. The "other people" make their goods and services available. The "other people" buy their goods and services. And they try to pay them as little as possible so they can hoard more. There is something wrong with a system that allows this. My rant is complete... for now.

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Indeed. You make good points. It is all too apparent to me that there is a "threshold of money arrogance" effect on some (many) people... i.e., as soon as some are fortunate enough to acquire a lot of money (some by hard work, some by getting lucky, or some born into it) their psyche "others" those at a lower level of income and they then become quite condescending and "overtly wealth protectionist" in nature... and do all possible to "screw over" anybody they deal with as completely justified in a pure capitalist society. To them profit is a #1 priority, all other agendas are secondary.

Many traditional Corporations do it disingenuously and gleefully under the guise of "our Fiduciary responsibility to investors" or, if private, as "necessary to ensure the growth and prosperity of the company". The reality: Capitalism needs to be bridled, i.e. better regulated to counteract this and mitigate the resulting huge financial inequities that have created our Plutocracy. Thankfully there is the "B Corp" concept that espouses social responsibility and the value of the people that make up a company - a sense of business ethics and empathy. The percentage of such companies is not surprisingly, quite small. We collectively need to devise a way to incentivize the transition to B Corps and penalize those traditional companies that make windfall profits at the expense of the working class. "My rant is complete...for now" 😉👍👍

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Thank you, Marc, for helping me express how I feel about these matters.

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I have done the exact same thing throughout my healthcare career, kept political separate from work and social media life. But after leaving healthcare in July 2023, I realized that now I was free to be me, so to speak. Looking for a long-term job in a different field but also finally feeling free to speak up again about the things that matter, including our democracy, and animal welfare, climate change and the environment.

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Trial attorney here in NorCal for over 30 years. As a Ttrial Attorney you don't talk politics -- you talk admissible evidence & common sense.

But as a Cal state Attorney you have an obligation to do Pro Bono work (free Lawyer).

I worked Pro Bono for over 30 years solving medical billing hassles for all kinds of folks including negotiating a run-off policy for a police officer with a degenerative autonomic disease (MSA).

I had to shame the County because they had no excess coverage over $1 Million Dollars.

Still at it after retirement expanding into political-legal hassles.

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Bless you for sticking it out in health care. I certainly wouldn't blame you if you decided to retire, but I am very grateful for health care workers, even more so if they're good and experienced.

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My mother was an RN up until the day she passed. Even in retirement it never left her. It's in the blood. In fact she apologized to her nurses for being cantankerous as a patient when she needed them most.

That said, she understood the politics of the medical field and the insurance issues more than most. Her son heard every bit of it and as a pragmatic vet - knew the politics of big money destroys much. The privatization attempts of the VA by TFG still boils my blood. His three buds down in Mar-a-largo that worked to usurp the Cabinet Secretary (and got him relieved) shows the criminal aspects of the hunt for greed and profit over health care.

Today Ex-General Flynn pops up with mutiny by 261 signatories that he's connived into believing they are the patriots. Their court martials will be another notch in #ETTD. The threat from the Christo-fascists is as real as the TFG attempt to outrun his charges.

WAITT

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Love this, HCR enabled me to find my voice a few years ago. My current mantra i pass along: silence is now complicity.

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And, as we used to say back in the day, "Your silence will not protect you."

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Mom and dad did that for me and I sort of grew up outside DC. So, at least in the past, I've had a big mouth and was told that :) but it sure worked.

Years ago, a woman (a stranger) walked into Petco with an overweight corgi. I nicely (but promptly) explained why overfeeding corgis was very bad. The problem these days is reaching out in the cold with rising covid numbers to talk to neighbors who voted for rumpf in the past to see where they stand now (and add my inability to hear which I frequently forget :) and I'm in trouble but I keep trying). Right now, I'm in my silo mostly.

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I also grew up in a family where we spoke about politics at the dinner table. This has meant that I am less traumatized by reading the news than friends who did not. One learns how to manage the information. What I find is that when there is a crisis, I want to know a lot about it until I can understand what I need to about it. My daughter did not want to hear the news until she was in about 7th grade, and I am sure her algorithms are more about Taylor Swift than Rudy Giuliani, but she has heard me read enough political substack letters aloud to her, that she has some idea of events too. However, she is going to University in Germany and I am living back and forth between here and Germany, so we have to basically be global in our political understanding and discussion.

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That's why an intelligent, young and globally popular celebrity like Taylor Swift who appeals to almost all ages, can be and has been a difference maker in voting. I hope she'll continue to speak out not only about registering to vote, but recently against Marsha Blackburn of TN. POTUS should keep her message front and center and... loud!

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Yes. She has gone up in my estimation because of her positive activism around voting. It makes up for the stress of trying to get tickets to her concert with 5 other mothers as we wanted this to be their graduation present.

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Were you able to get the tickets?

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Yes, but not by 2.5 days of trying to. Ironically, a boy my daughter knew, got front row tickets for a cheap price and sold them for $30,000. My daughter was not worried because she assumed closer to the time tickets would become available. I did not think so. However, the dad of one of the girls in her group who were going, had a contact, and once they had given tickets to people ahead of him in priority in Chicago, he got them tickets for a reasonable price. Still, I would have rather had to wait in line in person, then have to handle the software that was used because it was terrible, and no explanations on how to use it. They were so happy. Then, when Taylor Swift's movie came to Germany my daughter and I went to see it together, and had a very nice time. She and a friend who also decided to study in Germany were the biggest Swifties in their grade in high school. In fact, for a holiday gift her classmate gave her a t-shirt. It was just kind of known in the school that they liked her music, and would be up late when her new albums dropped. My husband and I have been quizzed on songs and things like that. Big enthusiasm for her music. We are both glad that she is supporting Biden. My daughter worked the phones on his first campaign, so she feels connected in that way too. We just updated her mail in vote, so she can get her ballot in Germany to vote in both the primary and the general election.

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Well, yay!!!! I don't have children (couldn't) so to be candid, I couldn't even tell you one of her songs, but I always thought she was a good role model for girls long before she encouraged young voters to register. The large donations she has made throughout her tour to food banks in cities in which her ERAS tour performed as well as the bonuses she gave to her truck drivers on the tour at its conclusion is commendable and again - a great role model. You did good Mama in raising a daughter who actively supports her candidate. Well done!

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"We've got to do everything we can." says Joyce. I am 82 and, since 2017, have been doing what I can to support Democrats. Take a look at Len's Political Notes https://lenspoliticalnotes.com -- a free newsletter which encourages support for Democratic candidates who need support (money or postcards or other volunteering). We all need to do what we can.

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founding

Thank you, Len. I subscribe, and will pitch in in 2024! Our lives depend on it, literally.

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I bookmarked it and will do what I can. Thanks.

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My primary care doc wears a button that lets her patients know that she is an inclusive ally. I chose the right doc.

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founding

They need you more than you need them. Get your retirement papers and affairs in order and if they give you a bad time, pill the plug, Boom. Gone, but pensioned, hopefully.

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Keep working, if you can and have a reason too, retiring seemed a bit scary for me but it was a new beginning. I found time to be relevant, when used knitting or actively toward a result, accomplishment of any kind is as much fuel for living as bread and water.

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Thanks so much for your response, Deborah.

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Making phone calls to voters is practically free! If you connect with a campaign, Common Cause, Activate America or any other get out the vote organization, you can learn to make calls to support candidates or Democrats in general. All you need is an Internet connected computer and a headset. Or you can use the computer's audio functions without earbuds or a headset. The organization provides training. Good luck!

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Who answers the phone when you don't recognize the caller?

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Some do. And there is a box to check for no answer. But you are better off answering these calls and asking to be taken off the call list. Otherwise you are called again.

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I was told in my young adult life that "Life is Politics" and that I should not be afraid to speak my position on a given subject. It was good advice, and it did take me a few years to better understand the concept and make it part of my life.

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Jan 4·edited Jan 4

I have a close friend in another state and a neighbor across the street who both voted for Trump in 2016. I knew a political discussion would not be welcomed by either of them. And I didn't know anyone else that I could "enlighten" about the malignant narcissist wannabe dictator.

However, I recently spent a month in four different hospitals. I was able to talk to one nurse and two certified nursing assistants about the dangers of Trump. None of them knew much at all about him. Once I got home, I saw my gardener's oldest son and did my best to impress upon him the importance of voting and the reasons not to vote for Trump.

I don't know if any of those I spoke to will take my words to heart, but they all listened politely to my long list of dangers in another Trump presidency. If nothing else, I planted a few seeds. That's more than I was able to do in the past 9 years. Fingers crossed that I drummed up at least one vote for President Biden. Every little bit helps.

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Jan 3·edited Jan 3

I had a similar experience. With my daughter. I've been unable to interest or irritate her into reading more than basic headlines. Don't get me wrong. She knows who Trump and Giuliani etc are, and what they've done and why they're on trial. What she hadn't done is VOTE. This year will be different. She's seen and read about the people that are suffering untold miseries because of Maga bullshit in Congress, too and countrywide. Her understanding of the past is less than mine. But finally, FINALLY she sees the threat to her friends and family. And now she's mad. Now she will vote. And now she's beginning to be involved in democracy because now she knows people who are being denied aspects of it which she hasn't been denied.......YET. I hope she continues to learn. I feel the way to talk to those ignorant of so much of this is, as I've said before, to talk to people about what they need or feel is withheld from them or people they care about. Anywhere we can chat with people, we need to ask questions and listen to the answers. And....we need to know how Biden and Dems have been striving to and have improved so much. Point to where the positive changes are happening. Then listen some more.

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I believe voter registration should be linked directly to obtaining a driver’s license.

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It is here in Oregon.

Even just a state ID - which is administered through the DMV. With the current address info on file the State mails us our voter registration cards and when the time comes our Voters Pamphlet to study and our ballots to mail in or drop in a conveniently located ballot box. It should be the National standard. That and one person, one vote. Period.

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In many places, it is. But registering to vote isn't the same as becoming an educated voter. It's the effort to engage and educate voters that needs work, as Joyce's experience highlights.

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It is in Maryland and many states.

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This helps explain why the SCOTUS decision in Dobbs has been such a game-changer in some very surprising places. I was a little surprised at first, wondering "Didn't people know what was at stake, and that Supreme Court decisions can be overturned?" Well, no, and it wasn't hard to figure out why: for most women Roe had been "settled law" (whatever that means) their whole adult lives, and maybe their whole lives, period. The same goes for the sense of possibility that many of us had in the 1960s and '70s, before the Reagan reaction shut it down. We've got work to do!

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I still hear that doctors are having to tell patients “Sorry, no, I can’t refer you to an abortion clinic, the law has changed.” How people can still not realize this is truly baffling to me, but then so is supporting 45, so 🤦‍♀️

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These stupid legislators passing legislation restricting abortion when they hardly have any idea how pregnancy works. It's virtually impossible to fix stupid. Most people don't appreciate how politics impacts their lives until something happens to them or someone they love.

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No kidding. And you're right, it's "virtually impossible to fix stupid," and given gerrymandering (and Fox "News") it's just as hard to keep it out of statehouses and Congress.

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This suggests that those patients aren't aware of the general situation in their red states -- or that "politics" has anything to do with their personal lives. Arrgghh!

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IF Hilary Clinton had won, and we had voted for HER, our Supreme Court would not be in the conservative mess it is in now. Hilary would never have appointed the conservative justices we have to put up with. Voting has consequences! NEVER forget and get informed! VOTE Blue!

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Yes, Mimi! This is brilliant. You are brilliant. We all need to follow your example.

Talk to our kids. Talk to each other. Listen to our kids. Listen to each other.

We can no longer assume that everyone is watching David Muir or listening to NPR.

But with any luck, maybe we can follow your example in any, and every corner of our everyday lives.

Thank you for your wisdom. You must be a wonderful mother.

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Lester Holt here! Yes we are Boomers.

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You have such a cool name! :)

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A religious door knocker was all about the "future of my soul" and when I asked if he VOTED...NO! Why not? The decisions we make NOW affect our future, here on earth! VOTE! Eternal life is another future to deal with.

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We were just traveling thru The Netherlands, Germany & France. Eye opening in many ways, but realized just how ignorant most Americans are about history. Even young people we spoke to can explain what happened before, during & after WWII. In Germany, they start teaching about the Holocaust in 7th grade! We saw mostly young people touring the Anne Frank House. They can tell you just what happened to their countries because of fascism, ignorance, hatred & fear. They wondered how people here cannot see the danger we are in. It’s called willful ignorance. The dumbing down of our educational system. It’s our own fault for allowing it! We HAVE TO STOP IT! Speak out & educate everyone you can with FACTS!

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Jan 3·edited Jan 3

That's the point. I've always believed "the dumbing down of America" was done on purpose and it eventually led to this. Facts are losing at this point. Ruth Ben-Ghiat says people don't see authoritarianism coming. Those people have their heads in the sand or are watching murdoch et al (including the WSJ and I still won't touch that (sorry if I offended anyone).

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As a high school student in Wisconsin in 1984 we learned about WWII and the Holocaust first hand with a visit to Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial near Munich. We were studying German language and traveling for 2 weeks to learn about the country and its history. We crossed through Check Point Charlie into East Berlin, and walked near both sides of The Berlin Wall that separated West and East Berlin. It was an experience that lives with me to this day. And part of the reason that I am deeply interested in Politics and understanding what good government can do for citizens. Also the importance of the US on the world stage and how we should lead for peace.

I was blessed with an opportunity that so few young people have these days. People can read things in books, be shown videos, but there is nothing like walking the streets and experience life first hand to help you understand the impact and importance of learning history

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Carol, I'm grateful you grew up in a district with a good educational foundation! We moved to the Sheboygan area 8 yrs ago from IL - the educational levels in our area seem less than...stellar. Just curious if you feel the commitment to your former school system is what it used to be.

Thank you for sharing!

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This is the first Carol, DL. I grew up & lived most of my life in Illinois. I attended Catholic schools & public universities. American & World history were always covered & discussed. I actually did my college thesis about the Holocaust. I am not Jewish. I now live in Arizona & am mortified at the lack of basic education & almost complete lack of world knowledge. It is frightening. It also explains the choices made by so many uneducated voters here, of all ages.

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Carol C., you gave me a scare that I'd responded to the wrong Carol (age, poor sight and coffee ineffectiveness can do that to you)!

Agree 100% on the state of current education, everywhere. It's insidious; generations not knowing what they've missed because they aren't aware it it.

On the flip side, Joyces' observation made me realize/appreciate how effective algorithms are in shaping perceptions of what's going on in the world, plus the resultant reactions.

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When I arrived in Europe as a young 19-year-old Marine (in 1972!) I quickly learned the average French/German/Austrian graduate knew more about the U.S than many of my friends back home. I was in Europe last summer and the same is true. Very sobering. We really do have to figure out how to correct this problem.

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One of my university students in intro US history wrote on a test that the Battle of the Bulge happened between England and Russia. Sigh.

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I should add that in most of my intro US history classes, and this was a good Catholic university, about half my students had a good civics background - and about half did not know about the three branches of government (they thought the president was over the Congress), and did not know much about Senators and Representatives. They did not know about their respective terms and they did not know who their senators and representative were. After asking a bit, I learned that the biggest problem was moving in high school - it used to be they all had the same thing in high school and you could just switch a couple of courses to get it right - but now high schools can be radically different. Most had never had a course in the US before the Civil War (which they didn’t know much about anyway).

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Thanks, Mimi!

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Mimi Champlin, ask your daughter if her social media feed has people saying that they will not vote for anyone over forty. My granddaughter said thirty, and I had to remind her that Presidential candidates must be thirty five. She’s in her early twenties , and doesn’t realize that the “Don’t trust anyone over thirty” mantra was begun in the Sixties. It led to Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. Her high school doesn’t offer a Civics class. Nor did they cover past skimming over WWII in American History class. We are reaping the harvest of not teaching what makes the United States great.

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Hi Rigel. My daughter doesn't use social media since, geez, probably four or five years ago? She reads blogs about photography and various physical challenges she deals with, does NYT games and downloads sci fi kindle books. She became disgusted with "people on the internet" quite a while ago.

She's not traditional in her group thought, actually, but overwhelmed in life by how much is going on at all times. The internet intensified that, so she cut it out and takes it in specific bites (bytes).

She's fast approaching 50. Just so you understand her context. Her grammar schools and high school were also different, as well as her college, so I cannot say that she was surrounded in the ways people usually are. lol Her early schools were Montessori and her high school was a private school in the mountains in California, very strict requirements for grade averages to stay, and her college was St John, a four year college that automatically has two majors and two minors (she even learned by requirement to speak and write Olde English as well as Attic Greek.) Extreme critical thinking was the result by dint of how they teach what they teach.

So, long story short, while she has always had friends in and out of school, they've been from families who wanted a more rounded education for their kids (I am not nor have ever been a "hippie" although I preceeded that by a bit, but I never much liked packs of anything....dogs....kids...."patriots"....)

The early years had a high emphasis on imagination mixed with discovering physical truths within that....example....look at the pictures of the ocean...now you draw them.....while you are drawing can you find the "C" shape in the pictures and put it somewhere in your drawing? (kindergarten and first grade).

I must also credit Sesame Street for her extreme early use of language and INCESSANT TALKING OMG IT'S A WONDER I SURVIVED (smiling and laughing).

I have to encase these descriptions with the fact that she was, is and always has been an absolutely average student with undiagnosed (until adulthood) adhd, so, not a whiz bang by any means. I could only afford her college and high school because #1 she won scholarships and at her high school she was a "legacy" so her dad having been there got her in, while she and I paid and worked for it. Her efforts, again, working for scholarships, paid for most of what I could not. She and I made a deal early on, I'd work my ass off in the world, she'd work her ass of in school. We both kept our promise. This is what *I* think of as the American Way. I didn't go to more than one semester of college due to social unrest and soldiers in the cafeteria of SF State before my first semester was credited. Family strife blew up any normal expectation of schooling so I went to work and did everything I could. Rarely had fewer than three jobs. This is where my views and experiences come from, just so you know who I am, a bit. I UTTERLY AGREE that the loss of history and civics in schools is a disaster. We need to correct that for everyone, ourselves included if we are also lacking! Thanks for listening. I sort of couldn't stop typing.

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I did too, but with my son. Although he knows about Trump, Giuliani, etc., he is not inclined to vote blue because Democrats have a real problem with younger voters. They don't think the economy is any better. (Yes they are a privileged sort.) There is nothing for them in the next election. They aren't concerned about women's rights. They have looked at Gaza and hate that we are killing innocent civilians by supporting Israel. They just don't trust Biden or Trump or either party.

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The approach of speaking out has not worked for me over the past several years. I’ve been sending articles, many from Substack posts, to my MAGA friends & family to no avail whatsoever. The response I get is lack of interest and/or the misinformation spouted by Fox News programs. I’ve been blocked by some on social media and even add relationships ended when I’ve discussed our current political situation and the threat to our democracy. I’ve about given up.

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Honestly we can only do what we can do. I decided, for myself, I just won't give up. We all need breaks however!

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I have been very concerned about this. I talk with people of all ages and am shocked by what they don’t know. The other thing that is maddening is that democrats are not loudly singing the praises of the Biden administration. I don’t recall any president being able to accomplish so much in their first term. He is amazing. Yes, he is old, but he seems to have energy, enlisted great staff support and is working so hard. Speak up and brag about Biden!

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Read and deploy Simon Rosenberg's positive information!

https://open.substack.com/pub/simonwdc/p/thank-you-a-story-and-spreading-hopium

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I just subscribed

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Thank you for sharing; looks like quality thinking. Subscribed

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Thank for sharing this. Subscribed.

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I think he's done his job for so long he can do it in his sleep (and better than many when they're wide awake). His moral compass makes Mike Johnson look like he's wandering in the desert. Makes my blood boil when the ignorant label him a dictator!

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What's going on with the abysmal PR from Biden's team??

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I was born in 1952 and I have to admit that I didn't pay a lot of attention to politics. We had newspapers and TV news (3 channels), but that was about it. It was the Vietnam war that got me more engaged, and I have always voted regularly. Today there's almost too much information and you have to be able to filter out the disinformation which is a challenge. I agree that we have to get younger voters more engaged but I do see signs that many are getting there because of living through active shooter drills, the reality of abortion laws, climate change and the hatred of anyone who doesn't fit into the white, Christian nationalist viewpoint. Voter turnout at colleges has been encouraging which is why Republicans are trying to eliminate college IDs for voting purposes. It's going to be a very long year.

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1952 was a very good year. I'm just saying.

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I gotta agree.

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My wife was born that year. Excellent vintage.

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1951 here - and yes Vietnam awakened my political sense also. My formerly Catholic grandmother and my Unitarian mother volunteered for Planned Parenthood back in the 60s - but both were staunch Republicans -- what a different party it was back then. Vietnam made me a life long Democrat and a news junkie.

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1960 here but Vietnam News coverage and dinner table conversations where my parents discussed my brother living with relatives in Canada to avoid the draft were common. That period was the start of my interest in history and government studies. Onto to university and a degree in same. I am constantly frustrated by the apathy or willful ignorance in many voters around me. Ever hopeful folks will wake up in these coming months.

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1953 here. So true on too much information and, sadly, way too much of it is controlled by algorithms.

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Me too

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I have been discussing this topic with my 32, 29 and 28 year old grandchildren and their responses were scary so I have starting teaching them that, if we want to remain a Democracy, they have to be engaged in politics to a certain degree and they HAVE to vote. Thank you for the reminder! We all have our work to do!

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The USA needs civics education in schools. And history.

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Yes, Aurore!

When did schools drop civics from the required curriculum? Maybe about the time that corporations saw dollar signs in standardized testing but saw no value in civics?

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Or maybe when the Powell Doctrine proposed the need for workers, not thinkers, and the prevailing powers withdrew funding for the humanities and public education.

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It's STEM, STEM, STEM, and STEM. Education must be "practical" and be aimed at creating a "modern workforce." The humanities be damned.

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We used to have it and it was a required course for graduation from high school. Apparently that course was too expensive to fund? Or too danged revealing for some political parties to stand?

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Amazing. We need to get out of our silos to share our knowledge with others. Insightful, Joyce, as always. Glad you were there for her. One voter at a time

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I worry that we’re walking as a nation into the 2024 election like the Brits who voted for Brexit and when it passed, didn’t realize what they’d voted for. Start locally and spread the word.

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That is scary. Will this nation sleep walk right into oblivion as the British did with Brexit?

We've been warned.

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A sobering anecdote indeed.

Here in The Great Southern Land (aka Australia) we have had compulsory voting at the federal and state levels for at least a century. Works well, and there is 98% or so compliance ... it's part of life. And it's a ritual to register on the roll on your 18th birthday - like having your first legal beer in a pub.

The other aspect of elections I'm rather fond of is Preferential Voting (or in American parlance, Ranked Choice Voting) ... it works very well too, and (in rough terms) we have a four-party system (conventional centre-right, moderate centre-left, rural-right, and green-leftie) ... so to win a seat you have to appeal to at least two of those, in most districts.

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I'm glad you specified Australia because before reading further, I assumed Alabama or somewhere like that. 😂 How do you enforce compulsory voting? I mean, I'm sure people aren't DRAGGED to the polls, but we're lucky if we see 50-60% turn-out of all the eligible voters. We need more parties here for sure. Right now, we have one party and a terrorist organization, so there's much room for improvement.

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That's a very useful insight into how young people can easily just not know what's going on outside of their social media. Glad your friend was inspired to do some reading about Giuliani and hope she keeps on reading! It's very worrisome to me that so many of the new generations are just NOT reading substantial news/discussions/analysis and are not caring, because they will almost certainly lose their democracy if they, and we, don't participate. Thanks for writing this, Joyce.

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The age of the distraction has caused the majority of the population to have no interest in critical thinking unless it’s entertaining. Obviously not referring to everyone who contributes to your essays and comments. Your essay here Joyce points to our larger issue of maintaining our democracy and thank you!

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Leave off the words "unless it's entertaining." They have no interest because they don't know what it is. Aldous Huxley's "Gammas" are here.

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Ugh.

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Um.....yikes!

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Scary enough about young adults but what about all the Republicans who think January 6 th didn’t happen. I know for myself I have to control my outrage before I even approach them. We can do this one person at a time.

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It’s the ones who rant about trans kids in bathrooms still that slay me. Outside of the latest outrage there’s no curiosity.

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They probably saw it and are in denial for political purposes.

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Jan 3·edited Jan 3

to Monica: Ugh...controlling temper and outrage are not my virtues unfortunately. Two days ago I wrote a relatively mild comment on a FB meme about maybe not electing those who are only qualified to be vegetables, posted by a former friend/work acquaintance who is a rightwinger (not sure if he's a MAGA or not) My mild comment was immediately answered by another acquaintance/former co-worker--who is younger than I am-- who attacked my post, saying that at least Trump wasn't an ancient braindead stumblebum who was letting terrorists and illegal immigrants wholesale into the country and blah, blah blah.

I immediately got angry, lost my temper and replied that I was sorry that she was so beguiled by the revisionist narratives of the orange rapist scofflaw and how could she possibly support someone who has SAID that he would (and he really would) dismantle everything that made this country a good and decent place to live. Then I reported the meme (although I know it won't make a bit of difference) and blocked my former co-worker.

You never know where the MAGAt menace will pop up....but I need to practice more persuasive rhetoric, I guess. Hard to relate facts and accomplishments when you can't speak for gibbering with outrage.

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They don’t care about facts, like dictators before they have given up their critical thinking altogether into a group think which conforms like zombies to the dictates of the almighty ruler, and not referring to God.

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Oh TL, I have that same problem... I suppose my losing friends & family is because I’m not saying it right... my outrage gets in the way when I hear people projecting what Trump said onto the Democrats, not listening to the good this administration is doing... and calling President Biden a demented old man who can’t even complete a thought sentence!!! BIDEN... sounds more like trump’s nonsensical rankings!!! I’m giving up... I just can’t fight it anymore... I’m soon going to be 77, and I just don’t have the energy anymore!

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Jan 3·edited Jan 3

Dear Joyce:

Your best post since I have been a subscriber. "Think global, act local!" Apparently local applies -- very locally!

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That is why I miss newspapers, yes, I am dirt old (80) but at least as a youngster I heard Roosevelt on the radio and other news the same way and of course newspapers. If these young people would just get their noses out of their phone, they might learn something. I think young folks like David Hogg should do even more to reach out to the younger generations.

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With respect, I don’t think it’s that young adults need to “get out of their phones” per se (at least, not for the purpose of politics). What truly needs to happen is that activists and candidates need to get INTO the phones of young adults.

The reality of being a young adult today is that the phone is a key tool to life. Homework assignments and grades are on apps. Most work communication comes through email, a messaging app, or text. College campuses send out emergency alerts via text. It’s how we call in sick, how we check our bank accounts, how we manage our utilities, how we schedule doctors appointments, how we have virtual meetings. It’s how we get information about our babies from their daycare providers. It may be how we purchase our groceries, request prescription refills, and find transportation to our jobs. It’s how we check the weather, the football score, the traffic conditions, and all sorts of news. And yes, some of the time we spend on our phones is for entertainment, connecting with people, and mindless scrolling. The 2024 reality is that the necessity of being tied to our smartphones is not going to change anytime soon. Just think of them as the newspaper, radio, church bulletin, calendar, and personal assistant of days gone by.

However, that’s not entirely bad in the context of this discussion. Another commenter mentioned that we can engage young people best by talking to them about the problems or concerns that they face or see their friends facing. I think this is key! Very young adults (18-25) are still very self-focused. Their brains are still developing and they are still identifying their places and roles within the world. We have to pull them in with topics and content that is pertinent to them delivered by people who are relevant to them. Taylor Swift can drive major surges in voter registration. So-called “TikTok Teens” intentionally claimed lots of tickets for some Trump rallies in 2020 to cause very poor attendance. 😆 And yes, David Hogg and other victims of all these horrific school shootings have very important voices.

The challenge here is not getting young people out of their phones. The challenge is getting meaningful progressive messaging into their apps so they see it and spread it. Like wildfire.

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Hear, hear!

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Yes, Danielle, meet them where they’re at.

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Well stated Danielle!

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They’ve already taken away women’s rights

But if Trump wins they’ll be even worse plights

The people he will choose will have no qualifications

And life as we know it will be in cessation

He has no morals no decency no shame

And he wants to be a dictator where everyone will shout his name

He looks up to men like Putin and Xi

Cruel ruthless leaders who kill mercilessly

He knows nothing about the Constitution

And wants to be President to get his retribution

So we can’t let this happen we know what’s at stake

If he were elected it would be America’s biggest mistake!

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And here I thought I didn't like rap. Well done!

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Heart stopping but a good reminder... one person at a time!

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