“Don’t Spit in the Soup, ‘Cause We’ve All Got to Eat From It!” -Lyndon Baines Johnson

I love that quote; it’s so much more colorful and down home than, “Don’t poison the well,” don’t you think?  In a somewhat similar vein, LBJ claimed that his favorite Biblical quote was from Isaiah: “Come, let us reason together.”

Johnson, despite his well known capacity for ruthlessness when he wanted or needed something, and his calculated vindictiveness when denied or crossed, realized it made sense to accommodate people, when he could afford to, and no sense to anger or demean them when it would serve no purpose…though reminding them that he was the man in charge was such a purpose.

What the hell happened?  When, why, and how did so many people decide that making enemies should be an end in itself, or that if they could lie, withhold, or mislead their way to victory today, they’d be trusted or respected tomorrow?  What happened to worthy adversaries who were too intelligent, too wise, and too honorable to be acrimonious?  If and when there is common ground, these days, how likely is it that anyone would notice, or admit to it, if they did?

Let’s not have any sloganeering or spin here.  Let’s dissect and discuss ideas, challenge assumptions…including our own, and perhaps attempt to persuade, rather than to preach to the converted and/or to shout down or insult those with opposing views.  Let’s not repeat claims we haven’t attempted to verify and/or analyze, and when confronted with half truths, let’s try to find and share the other half.  In other words, let’s do credit to ourselves and show respect for the intelligence of others.

Is that more or less doable?


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