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Jaime
Have your political views changed since joining America's Debate? Have you come to any great realizations, or have learned anything worth noting?

Feel free to post your thoughts and observations from the last year in this topic.
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Victoria Silverwolf
I keep getting pushed, more or less against my will, harder and harder to the left. I'd like to be a moderate; but the culture of the United States has moved so far to the right over the last couple of decades that all I see are two conservative political parties in control of everything, and I'm not fond of having to choose "very conservative" over "extremely conservative."

I've learned that the members of America's Debate are more libertarian than the general public. (Take the issue of same-sex marriage, which has much more support here than in the "real world.")

I've learned that I am very ignorant about many things.

VDemosthenes
My views since joining in January have changed quite a bit.

I now support stem-cell research but I am still one of the biggest pro-lifer's out there allowed to walk the streets.

I'm fairly sure homosexuality is more of a genetic choice than a person's choice.

(Disclaimer: I still couldn't imagine myself or anyone close to me being homosexual)

My conviction homosexual's should not marry has also grown stronger.

I've been forced from radical right-wing conservative-like tendencies to a more Moderate Conservative-Libertarian political stance.

Hmm, a general observation of debate sites: they always seem to host more men than women but A.) the women are always smarter than the men and B.) there are too many Independents! zipped.gif mad.gif


Just kidding, all the Independents know I love them... flowers.gif Oh hush up and have an ale. beer.gif

AuthorMusician
I've been here a while and have learned quite a bit over the past year as people post on the various subjects.

Most recently, a better understanding of the law, lawyers and judges has developed from those either in the business or close to it. I probably would not have done any research at all had it not been for AD, being as I'm about as interested in law as I am in yard work, which is pretty low.

I'm finally eating more fruit, a New Years resolution thread joke made, but now a reality. What is up with that, self-hypnosis? Someone sending out a little prayer? Whatever, it worked. I actually crave fruit these days.

Some things have been pounded in deeper, like a basic distrust of the government, especially when proposing going to war or liberation or whatever. More recently the distrust has grown from certain domestic proposals.

Our European participants have been enlightening on how things work in their countries, and a little on how perceptions of world events are different from different perspectives. Maybe more people from other countries will be participating for all of our benefits.

During the past election season, AD posts pointed me to many information sources I would not have been aware of otherwise. Just knowing what's available is enriching.

Well, I better water the garden now. Whoppeee!
Paladin Elspeth
I have learned that there are many gifted members at this site, and their arguments are well-researched and thoroughly reasoned out. I admire so many posters here who represent the left, the right, and in between. Some posts are so well-crafted as to be elegant, and I wish that my powers of concentration were much better now so as to appreciate them more fully.

Sometimes I feel inadequate as a result. I feel that all I have is an instinct of what is right and what is wrong with a pretty decent vocabulary (most of the time) to express it. How much nicer it is to read a post that is filled with links that render the thought from a cabochon to a fully-faceted gem! flowers.gif
Curmudgeon
Have your political views changed since joining America's Debate? Have you come to any great realizations, or have learned anything worth noting?

My political views hardened. My wife and I joined the Democratic Party. We put in volunteer time at the party HQ last year.

I had often in my life been told that I wrote well, but it was never anything that I saw personally. I had tried to sit down and write a novel, for instance, but never got past plot development. I can't describe people well, and I often fail to see how they interact.

Somewhere though, in the past couple of years, I have learned how to edit my letters of complaint. For example, I had read in the newspapers that I was entitled to one free credit report a year under new federal guidelines being phased in across the country. My local Credit Union had heard nothing of the sort and told me I was wrong. I got the information from my old Credit Union across the state, and compiled the following message for my current Credit Union:

QUOTE
FTC web site explaining the new law is at:

http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/credit/freereports.htm


QUOTE
Your Access to Free Credit Reports

Soon youíll be able to get your credit report for free. A recent amendment to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of the nationwide consumer reporting companies to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months. The FCRA promotes the accuracy and privacy of information in the files of the nationís consumer reporting companies. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nationís consumer protection agency, enforces the FCRA with respect to consumer reporting companies.
(From the web site)


Michigan has been phased in, and Michigan residents may request one annual Credit report from each of three Credit Reporting Bureaus, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

You may obtain a free copy of your consumer credit report by contacting
the Annual Credit Report Request Service:

By Phone: (877)322-8228

Online: www.annualcreditreport.com

By mail: Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281

And I can say with a straight face, that I am sharing this message with friends... (Having gone so far as to cross the continent to visit with friends from AD last year.) In these days when I am shy in person, and stuttering and losing my temper on the telephone, it is truly a blessing to have a way that I can communicate, and remember occasionally that I have something worth saying.

Thanks flowers.gif
ConservPat
I've been further libertarianized this past year in AD. I plan on officially signing up with the Libertarians before the next election. I distrust the government even more. I don't like the Republicans or the Democrats, I find myself only really liking a few politicians. My cynicism toward the government, that I at first rejected, has grown at an amazing rate. I also am more outraged when our government breaks the laws, before I was moderately annoyed, now I'm angry. My view of the drug war has hardened, drugs for everybody, all of them...So as I said, I'm more L/libertarian.

CP us.gif
CruisingRam
Yes- the last election and the debates here have definately moved me firmly to the libertarian party, and I am now an officer of the "libertarians on campus"- and it is a joy to see the young faces so full of thier visions of utopian societies- only to have them dashed by cynical old men such as myself, all while trying to explore what is truly the best course for the most free society, and how to wrest power from the parties of the corporate elite LOL

The anti-sin proponents here, those that wish to legislate morality, probably have radicalized me more than ever. thumbsup.gif
turnea
I think it's safe to say I've gotten progressively worse since joining this site. tongue.gif

This is a realization that happened a couple of years ago, but my position on abortion has softened significantly.

It's still annoying to see false statements like referring to a fetus as a "potential life" (sort of an oxymoron in biological terms) but I now realize that the decision on whether that life is worth protecting is a judgement call.

Blame Mrs. P.

That said I have become less the fiscal conservative I think, edging myself into firmly progressive waters on social spending. If we could find a national healthcare system that works, I'd support it.

Most people on this site become more libertarian, I just weird that way. I'm more in favor of the drug war than ever though it's being fought ineptly.

Foreign policy wise, I seen that certain international complaints against the US are perfectly reasonable.

I've also seen that many of them are downright crazy.

In the end I figure I've become more defined in already vaguely held stances rather than shifting greatly.
CruisingRam
There- you said it Turnea- I couldn't quite put my finger on it

In the end I figure I've become more defined in already vaguely held stances rather than shifting greatly.

Yes, I have sharpened my beliefs by evidence put forth by poeple on this board- that is it-

Thanks man! thumbsup.gif
Google
SirAjh
I've actually become more conservative since visiting this site. Yes, I'm still a liberal democrat, but I've come to see things is more perspective. I think both points of view should listen to each other because sometimes the other side makes more sense on some issues.

I also feel this libertarian magnetic pull. Although I would like to be a libertarian, I don't think it is possible for me because I favor social programs to help people.

From my understanding a liberterian is an economic conservative and social liberal.
Christopher
"I sort of consider myself a sovereign state. I don't recognize other governments within my borders" Repairman Jack

I used to crack jokes about various Constitution Freemen militia types--till I received a phone call from a kettle calling me black. cool.gif

While I try to respect the opinions of others I find that those who believe they have a right to dictate to me what to think and how to act--especially those who chirp about--"well the all knowing, all seeing, always righteous, majority of society hath proclaimed" or even worse justify by their personal religious views--bring me to just short of blind rage. But much like Jack Torrance I think I have it all under control and can get past it. whistling.gif


I freely admit I want the world to reflect how I see things-- So I will just have to try and unseat those who currently hold the reins. Not to replace them with another party system or entrant that will merely and inevitably become what was overthrown but to make it almost imossible for any one group to ever again gain control. So I hope the opportunity for ďmoderatesĒ or ďcentristsĒ can lead somewhere if only to blessed gridlockóRemember America is only truly safe when Congress is not in session. us.gif

I came here a disaffected Republican and tried to be a big L libertarian--but most libertarians and lib organizations are worthless. Talk talk talk and never a decent idea to be found--at least anything that will ever get voters here to ever support them. just when you think they are going to finally pull it off and start another 3rd party assault on the ying/yang 2 party system they have to go and ruin it all by trying to get people to support selling the Grand Canyon for bungee jumping facilities and Old Faithful as the centerpiece of a condominium development.
The Libs here at AD are often the exception to the rule but don't really seem to be all that involved outside of maybe some donations to various organizations.

You should be able to hear my forehead clunk against my keyboard.

Repeatedly.....



What have I learned?
That as much fun as AD is it sadly does not reflect society at large and sometimes seems a waste of time. Many of my fellow citizens are more accurately portrayed by sites such as Free Republic and Daily KOS. Collective group think of the lowest sort. luckily I have a collection of bright shiny objects and we may be able to distract them long enough for the short attention span to kick in and then.......we can rule the world. mrsparkle.gif

Thatís why this place is so nice to come to. It gives me hope that all will be well because you donít need the masses to really do anything and that a few committed individuals can change the whole world.

That often what passes for debate is just 2 sides trying to either shout each other down or using selectively revealed research to support how they see the facts. Yet even when this is very apparent both sides here will still try to reach the other honestly and earnestly. That gives me hope, truly it does. Although I must admit that the day I learn I changed the opinion of some of the more obstinate members here I will run for President of the World the very next day. laugh.gif

I have also learned to never post when I am as tired as I usually am when I get the free time to come here.


My views have not really changed. I am as stubborn as always but no longer have any faith in any party. Much like Turnea said (In the end I figure I've become more defined in already vaguely held stances rather than shifting greatly.)

lordhelmet
QUOTE(Jaime @ May 30 2005, 03:34 PM)
Have your political views changed since joining America's Debate? Have you come to any great realizations, or have learned anything worth noting?

Feel free to post your thoughts and observations from the last year in this topic.
*




I think that since joining AD I have gained more insight into the thought processes behind people who hold a wide range of ideas.

Have my views changed? Not really but on a few topics, my understanding of the issues has been increased. My views may possibly change on some issues since my point of view has been evolving since I was an adult.

The value, for me, has been the freedom to discuss/debate/argue a point of view in a "safe" environment. These sort of discussions among friends, colleagues, or even family could easily cause a fiasco in some cases. This freedom has allowed me to refine my ideas and in some case test those that perhaps I wasn't sure on in a "trial balloon" fashion.

It's also reaffirmed some of my core beliefs.
Wertz
Since joining America's Debate, I've definitely gained more weight - though I'm not sure if the two are related.

Allegedly, you can't teach an old dog new tricks, but I've at least modulated and moderated a few of my positions since I started posting here (about two years and nine months ago!). I've become even less enamored of the Democratic Party and, though I hadn't thought it possible, much less enamored with the Republican Party. I've certainly gained more respect for libertarianism, though I have not yet been moved to register with any political party (that's one trick I doubt this old dog will ever learn).

As a result of participating here, I've gained even more respect for the military than I already had, but far less respect for the way they're treated.

My position on the Second Amendment has become even stronger through debates - and I feel it should be amended to establish the individual right (which I still don't think it does in its present form). The Fourteenth Amendment should also be revised to make it clear that it refers to human beings and undo the worst act of "judicial activism" in our nation's history.

As evidenced by the above, I've had my feelings confirmed that the Constitution needs a bit of a re-write - though most of the revisions I'd suggest (making it clear that a wall of separation between church and state was intended from the outset, for example) would never fly with the yahoos that currently run this once-great country. I'd also like to see the judiciary protected from a lot of the current assaults on their authority and, prior to a lot of discussion here, I'd never have dreamed that the Constitutional balance of powers would be something that would actually need to be protected. Go figure.

I've also become a bit more of an isolationist - especially having seen what intervention can do in the totally wrong hands and the impact that it has had on the direction a lot of our political discourse has taken.

Most of my positions on social issues have remained fairly constant - though they've been considerably sharpened. One change, I suppose, is that I am now even more lukewarm about gay marriage - particularly since I think all marriage is a pretty flawed idea - and has become an almost entirely failed institution. Who wants to emulate that?

I have learned that I have more political positions than I imagined. Who knew one could feel passionately about seatbelts and speed limits? I've also learned that the religious right is far, far more dangerous than I ever imagined such an extremist minority could be.

One of the greatest insights I've had due to this place is that it is impossible to predict most people's views on anything. Just when you think you have some participant pegged as some sort of pigeon-holed partisan, they come out with something totally startling - sometimes refreshingly unexpected, sometimes a bit disappointing - but always stimulating. And, believe it or not, I think I've become a tad less judgemental of my peers.

Finally, as the last couple of years have seen a serious decline in media coverage of actual news and an even stronger shift toward corporatism, America's Debate has become one of my most valuable resources in terms of cutting through a lot of the spin (even if it's only been a matter of seeing how ridiculous some of that spin is by watching it being parroted here) and finding alternate views distilled from elsewhere on "teh internets".

While my participation flagged a bit this year due to a variety of those "circumstances beyond our control", I have remained an avid viewer of the site - and would like to thank everyone for making this place the oasis that it is - and Jaime and Mike for creating it in the first place. flowers.gif
BoF
QUOTE(lordhelmet @ Jun 8 2005, 12:24 AM)
The value, for me, has been the freedom to discuss/debate/argue a point of view in a "safe" environment.† These sort of discussions among friends, colleagues, or even family could easily cause a fiasco in some cases.† This freedom has allowed me to refine my ideas and in some case test those that perhaps I wasn't sure on in a "trial balloon" fashion.


This is true. Try being a ďliberalĒ in Texas, George W. Bushís backyard. Well, itís really my backyard, because I was here first, but you get the idea. Actually, I go head-to-head, toe-to-toe, tooth-to-tooth and eyeball-to-eyeball with anyone (including friends and what family members I have left) who will give me a spirited argument in a Texas style shoot-out reminiscent of the confrontation between Chris Matthews and Zell Miller. I'm exaggerating, but I enjoy playing to the Texas stereotype occasionally y'all. The only people I don't bother with are those sightless souls who blandly parrot the line about "not talking about religion or politics." If they don't want to move to the other side of the coffee shop, I will. If I write a letter-to-the-editor someone doesn't like, I consider that their problem.

Iíve got an idea LH--you move to Texas and Iíll move to Michigan. laugh.gif

QUOTE(Curmudgeon @ Jun 2 2005, 01:50 PM)
My political views hardened. My wife and I joined the Democratic Party. We put in volunteer time at the party HQ last year.


My views have also hardened, not just in the last year, but the past four plus years. I did not like George W. Bush when he was Governor of Texas and like him increasingly less. It surprises even me that my distaste for the man grows daily.

I have been a Democrat since 1960. I was a senior in high school and John F. Kennedy was running for president. Starting with George McGovernís bid in 1972, I have worked in a number of presidential and congressional as well as state and local races. My favorite currently elected politician is Lon Burnham, who represents my state legislative district. Theory wise it's that strain of Midwestern thought exemplified by Hubert Humphrey, George McGovern, Walter Mondale and Paul Wellstone.

What Iíve learned since August of last year, when I joined AD, is that Bushís popularity and that of the Republican Party has migrated to parts of the country I could not have guessed. sad.gif
moif
Have your political views changed since joining America's Debate? Have you come to any great realizations, or have learned anything worth noting?

Yes, but I'm not sure if its specifically because of this site or rather because of the internet in general...

Over the course of the last several years I have steadily lost my faith in the United States. As a younger man I looked towards America as being on 'our side'. In my perception we stood together against the tyranny of the Soviet Union and those forces of religious darkness and oppression that clouded over so much of the rest of the world.

Then I got internet access and actually 'met' Americans and the first thing I discovered was just how negative so many Americans regarded Europe (and me as a consequence). It came as a great surprise to be met with so many cruel comments about the second world war, about European, (and in particular French cowardice) and about the balance of power between the USA and the EU. I had always assumed the Americans were our allies because they were like us and bcause they liked us.

I see now was wrong. America is not our friend and whilst there are voices of moderation in the USA, the general attitude in the USA appears to be an underlying hostility towards Europe and everything we believe in. As a consequence I became equally hard in my criticism of the USA.

Coming to AD has not really shifted my general political perceptions, but it has changed the way I express myself and how I perceive my own position on many issues. It has also helped me clarify in my head what it is I believe in. Where as once, even as late as two years ago, I would sanction pre-emptive military action, today I am totally opposed to it. Once upon a time I believed that force could grant stability. Now I realise this is the same old self perpetuating myth that led to all the wars of history.

It still sits oddly with me, but I am become a jaded pacifist as a result of my internet interactions.


lordhelmet
QUOTE(BoF @ Jun 8 2005, 06:54 AM)

Iíve got an idea LH--you move to Texas and Iíll move to Michigan. laugh.gif

*



Sure, no problem.

Make sure we make the switch in time for me to vote against Lon Burnham though.....
Nemo
I have learned (and much to my chagrin) that patience does not increase with advancing age. As to this, the philosopher Epictetus advised to learn to suffer fools, accounting it half of all wisdom.
lordhelmet
QUOTE(moif @ Jun 8 2005, 07:50 AM)
Then I got internet access and actually 'met' Americans and the first thing I discovered was just how negative so many Americans regarded Europe (and me as a consequence). It came as a great surprise to be met with so many cruel comments about the second world war, about European, (and in particular French cowardice) and about the balance of power between the USA and the EU. I had always assumed the Americans were our allies because they were like us and bcause they liked us.

I see now was wrong. America is not our friend and whilst there are voices of moderation in the USA, the general attitude in the USA appears to be an underlying hostility towards Europe and everything we believe in. As a consequence I became equally hard in my criticism of the USA.

*



You've got your cause and effect backwards. I'm currently in a European town that was largely destroyed during WWII by allied bombing. And it's rebuilt. And beautiful. The Americans through the Marshall Plan largely funded the entire project.

Everyone knows I'm an American, yet, I've not enountered any people attacking me.

Hostility toward Europe? Well, some have some hard feelings against some specific European governments....like FRANCE who were complicit with Hussein.

During Reagan, who was it who said that Reagan was a greater threat to Peace than the expansionist USSR? Which country protected Western Europe from being swallowed up by the evil empire?

And the Bush bashing buy the European press started way before the Iraq war. It started IMMEDIATELY upon his election.

I think that you should put your views in perspective.
Jaime
It REALLY sucks I have to post a moderation note in a thread that is supposed to be FUN. This is not a debate thread. Please share your feelings on what you have learned or how you have changed since joining AD and that's it. down.gif
moif
QUOTE(lordhelmet)
You've got your cause and effect backwards.


No I don't. I'm explaining about myself and how I've changed as a result of my access to the internet in general and this site in particular.

The Marshall plan and your experiences in Europe make no difference to that what so ever.


As for the weight of my words, well they obviously weighed enough for you to notice them. thumbsup.gif
Doclotus
Have your political views changed since joining America's Debate? Have you come to any great realizations, or have learned anything worth noting?
Actually, they've changed quite a bit. I decided to abandon my independent status and join the Democratic party. I seem to buck the trend of getting more conservative in my years and found quite the opposite. I do think I'm more conservative in the Democratic mold, though, as I prefer the federal government be the last resort in using gov't power to resolve issues but I also recognize its potential value in being able to assist people in improving their lives (done responsibly, of course).

What prompted my move to the blue side more than anything was in response to the increasing desire of the opposing party to legislate morality (in particular, their version of it). I guess I'm almost libertarian in the belief that the government has no business legislating on those grounds. (note: not posting this part as a point of debate, just explaining my reasons)

I think on a few issues my beliefs have crystallized more since I started participating on AD. In particular on abortion (esp thanks to a very nice but lively PM discussion with AuthorMusician flowers.gif ), stem-cell research, universal health care (big change for me here) and our judicial system.

I think if the framers of the constitution had a time machine and could witness AD's community as it relates to the first amendment, they would say "Yeah, that's it. That's why!"

Doc

edit: yeah yeah, spell check is my friend.
CruisingRam
I am sorry, one area I have not changed is my non-use of spell check wub.gif
Cyan
Iíve changed immeasurably over the last year, and I find that itís negatively affected my ability to participate in the debates. I do a lot more lurking these days, and when I do decide that I want to reply to a topic, I frequently change my mind. Itís a state of disillusionment that became noticeable before election time, and I just canít seem to shake it.

Last year in the ďWhat I have learned / How my views have changed threadĒ I said:

QUOTE(Cyan)
I have learned that logic and reason are useless if you don't also take into consideration the effects of the human condition. My emotions and personal experiences do influence my arguments, and "I feel..." is not a dirty phrase. I think it's important to find a complimentary balance between the two.

My political views always move around a bit as I learn new information. I am not written in stone, and I don't expect that I ever will be. I registered as a Democrat this year because I wanted to take part in the primaries, but I didn't actually participate because I became disenchanted. I expect that I will change my status back to independent in the near future.

I'm not sure what else to say here. The politics and news of the last year have left me feeling quiet and withdrawn, hence the reason that my frequency of posting has decreased a bit. I read all of your arguments, and I'm always learning, but I just can't find the words to respond. Hopefully the next year will bring some healthy changes to political scene.


This is still valid, although I didnít change my status back to independent. Iím still registered as a Democrat, and Iím still hoping that this year will bring some healthy changes. It probably has more to do with me than with the scene, but Iím finding politics to be very depressing.

Even so, Iím quite fond of many of the people that Iíve befriended at AD, so I wonít be disappearing. Iíll just continue to be quiet until I really feel that I have something to say. flowers.gif
A left Handed person
I've only been posting here for a week or two (unless you count about dozen badly written posts a month or so ago), and this is what I've got so far:

1. My doubts about global warming are now much better researched then they were previously, and as a result, they have been strengthened.

2. I've realized, that I know less about the Iraqi insurgency then I thought I did.

3. I've become somewhat better informed about foreign aid, though much of that came through Clintons Global initiative, and the media, rather then AD.

4. I've learned a bit more about the third partys.

Pretty much the last few years of my life, have contained a great deal of objective elaboration and analyzation of my beliefs. This has made me more liberal, more tolerant, and more compassionate.
PACPanzer
The thing I take away from America's Debate that I seldom take from other boards is the fact that here, there are a lot of smart people who think through their responses and offer rich sources that illuminate the paths that brought them to those consclusions. I'm not saying those people still don't bring their own pre-conceived notions to the debate, I just think they are much more willing to acknowledge another point of view as being worthy of debate because they've studied on their own.

The limited time I spend here bouys my spirits and makes me believe that people can and do evolve. I have tried to do that my entire life. In other words, AD gives me hope that people can THINK and REASON. That gives way to a belief and hope that the world's people can think their way out of the mess we seem to be making.

I've changed in the past year by coming here because I realized that even though there are still those who will remain abrasive, uniformed and inflexible, there are many more who can't be categorized or labeled as being one thing or another.

Those thinkers and changers are what I like about the human condition.

Thanks, Jaime and if I might digress just a bit. How about that one-liner forum? There are times I would just like to "chill", and smart off a bit. But....then you'd have to moderate that stuff ... nevermind. There are other boards for that. Thanks for the quality. thumbsup.gif
VDemosthenes
Hmm... some more things I've learned:


1.) Mike and Jaime have a huge job making sure this site runs smoothly.

2.) There is a huge amount of respect and self-respect here that is so refreshing. You feel so close to everyone else even though you occasionally try to scream at them through the computer for having the wrong opinion.

3.) That no one is too young or too old to contribute to a debate.

4.) That Zabaserch actually works! devil.gif hmmm.gif innocent.gif zipped.gif whistling.gif

5.) Politicians know nothing. America's Debate members need to hold every public office. flowers.gif

6.) That there should be regulations against one-liners in real life. I've started looking at people like their diseased when they say one sentence and fail to back it up with rational thought. I once asked for a website link or a newspaper article in a real life conversation. blush.gif


psyclist
While still pretty new to site, I've learned a lot. It should be obvious that my interests are in the Middle East, American Foreign policy so I've shyed away from replying to Domestic issues....doesn't mean I haven't been reading thumbsup.gif So I've learned a lot about economy, how big of impact moral issues can have in some people's views on politics, and Social Security etc etc. Once I wrap my head around all this stuff I'll start forming opinions and maybe will chime in once and awhile.

I think a lot of my views have been cemented on the "liberal" side. I went to a conservative college so I just assumed I was a "flaming liberal" but it's good to know others do think like me. I don't know how many times I've read something and yelled "Thank you, that's exactly what I wanted to say!"

I learned a lot of people have opinions that are based on who knows what and they're not afraid to share them and try and pass them off as facts. I met a lot of these people at college and they called them selves conservatives. I literally met a girl that was going to vote for Bush because "Well, don't more well off and richer people normally vote Republican?" sour.gif So needless to say I thought most conservatives just voted that way because mommy and daddy did. I never really got a hold of "where conservatives were coming from", even when having heated discussions with Republican friends who were semi-informed on issues. But I've heard some really compelling arguments on this site from the Conservatives. I don't always agree with them but at least they make sense, are logical, and based on facts (sometimes thumbsup.gif )...something I really rarely got in college.

This isn't AD specific but I've done a lot of reading on Islam and the more I learn the more I see how Osama's peverted verision strays away from the real teachings. Sadly, it's Osama's version that percieved as mainstream Islam here in America which is far from the truth. I think all of us (myself included obviously) are guilty of viewing problems and policy from the view point of Americans only, which leads to only more problems.

I'm sure I've learned a lot more but I'm rambling. Thanks and I look forward to learning more wink.gif flowers.gif
deathalive
I have been here roughly a year and a half...and I think that through this site I have grown up so much. I have also grown into the world. I look at everything with a much more open mind now. I have definetley learned how to debate without rambling and shooting wildly off topic though I still need some help..

I have definetly shifted from a radical right wing republican to a more moderate- libertarian view...

I support the war but not for too much longer.. we are losing too many people there... I also reject the draft...

I have grown to admire a bunch of the members here on AD. You are all very intellegent and have great political views... I think there should be at least one AD member in all the branches of the gov.

well heres to another great year for everyone beer.gif (I dont care if Im underage)
Ptarmigan
QUOTE
It probably has more to do with me than with the scene, but Iím finding politics to be very depressing.



Oh no, politics can be depressing - immensely so. Especially if it something you care about and everyone else disagrees.

I actually don't post on topics I strongly care about, because there is always going to be someone who is going to hold the diametrically opposed view and arguing with 'em always leads to the Dark Side....

On a brighter note - I have gained a much deeper understanding of American culture and politics since engaging in some of the debates on this site. (In some ways, you have very British views on things - and in other ways you are weird and freaky. And please do something about Hollywood and McDonalds. thumbsup.gif )

At the debaters are clever and friendly - and the site has a great community feel to it.
hayleyanne
QUOTE(Ptarmigan @ Jul 8 2005, 09:10 AM)
QUOTE
It probably has more to do with me than with the scene, but Iím finding politics to be very depressing.



Oh no, politics can be depressing - immensely so. Especially if it something you care about and everyone else disagrees.

I actually don't post on topics I strongly care about, because there is always going to be someone who is going to hold the diametrically opposed view and arguing with 'em always leads to the Dark Side....

On a brighter note - I have gained a much deeper understanding of American culture and politics since engaging in some of the debates on this site. (In some ways, you have very British views on things - and in other ways you are weird and freaky. And please do something about Hollywood and McDonalds. thumbsup.gif )

At the debaters are clever and friendly - and the site has a great community feel to it.
*



Ptarmigan-- now you have to tell us. How are we similar to the British? And how are we weird and freaky? cool.gif
kmsouthern
I've learned that there are a lot of intelligent folks out there on both sides of the coin. My real-life encounters with conservatives had always been of the ditto-head variety, so it is nice to come here where most people actually are well-read and understand the issues (even if I disagree with them completely).

I've learned that there actually does exist a political site where people can (usually) be friendly and refrain from attacking the person instead of the issue. Thanks to Mike and Jaime for that!

I've learned that I really haven't changed much politically. I'm usually at least open to other arguments, but I really haven't changed my ideals at all. I'm still a liberal nut job freak - a loveable one, at that wub.gif

I've learned that in the two years I've been here, we still can't manage to have race debate threads without the usual bickering and generalizing. That's extremely upsetting to me since the reason I joined AD in the first place was to post something in the Race Debate board. sad.gif

I've learned that I am very confident in myself and my beliefs and in my manner of articulating those beliefs. I've felt more comfortable expressing my beliefs over time and have had lots of reassurance along the way, which is always a good way to stroke the ego.

I've learned that I don't post nearly often enough juding by my measly numbers over the course of two years tongue.gif

I've learned that posting in a thread you know little about is probably not a good idea (hence my lack of more posts whistling.gif )

I've learned that Jaime really likes cookies, especially when I bring them to chat! flowers.gif
Juber3
My view has changed immensly over the last couple years in fact. In a debate you get all information some pro's and some cons. However at times I feel that i am on the cons more then the pros. And thats what great about Americas Debate. It shows you that there are intelligent people all over the world willing to throw their gloves in. I have changed my view on homosexual rights here is a quote i got from Wertz just a couple months back.
QUOTE
I mention this not to embarrass you or anything, but because you are one of the few people here who seems to be willing to change their mind and not be embarrassed about it
So thank you wertz and thank you Americas Debate to show me that there are people out there that has constructive criticizm on things. You have truley changed my life and my personal opinions
Ptarmigan
QUOTE
Ptarmigan-- now you have to tell us. How are we similar to the British? And how are we weird and freaky?


Oh - well I meant in a good way, of course smile.gif

I think I was suprised to see how many British sentiments are broadly echoed on this site - particularly in views on the world and in general principles and morality. And Americans have a stereotype of taking themselves extremely seriously - and a good number of you on this site are a lot more self-deprecating than I would have thought.....so much for stereotypes!

To be honest, Americans get a reputation for being somewhat isolated and a bit arrogant. After having debated on this site, I can say it isn't really something you deserve. IMO. And you should manage your PR a lot better! (The trick is not to tell other countries that America is the best country in the world. Trust me, Britain spent most of the 19th century telling everyone that Britain was the best place in the world. It annoyed them a lot cool.gif )

The freaky stuff - well, it's things like going to the moon. Why the moon? There's nothing there! Its mad....if a British politician had suggested the moon, we'd all have stood around saying things like 'well, its awfully far' and 'could we just go to France instead ?- I know its full of Frenchmen, but the wine is rather nice'

And yet you go to the moon....

Really its the idealism - Britain has far less idealism in America - and the difference manifests itself in interesting ways...
Bay State Rebel
I've softened up on abortion, though I still think Roe v. Wade is a precedent that must be overturned. Also, I've seen that the Democratic party in general isn't as arrogant as most of the people I've known all my life.
Aquilla
QUOTE(Ptarmigan @ Jul 11 2005, 08:13 AM)
The freaky stuff - well, it's things like going to the moon. Why the moon? There's nothing there! Its mad....if a British politician had suggested the moon, we'd all have stood around saying things like 'well, its awfully far' and 'could we just go to France instead ?- I know its full of Frenchmen, but the wine is rather nice'

And yet you go to the moon....

Really its the idealism - Britain has far less idealism in America - and the difference manifests itself in interesting ways...
*




I have been participating on message boards like ad.gif for nearly 30 years. Long before there was an internet when I'd use my Commodore 64 with it's 300 baud modem to call up debate board sites (we called them BBS's) one at a time. I bring this up because in all my years online I have never read a more insightful and intelligent statement than the one I quoted here from Ptarmigan. I have debated with friends like Moif and Julian on other boards, and with others from other parts of the world and I've never been able to really get a handle on what I think truly defines America or at least my sense of what defines America. Leave it to a Brit to educate me about that. smile.gif

Idealism, that's what defines us. Idealism. Look at some of the words of the great leaders of my generation....

All we have to fear is fear itself.. - FDR
Ask not what your country can do for you..... - JFK
I have dream...... - Martin Luther King Jr.
Some men look at the way things are and ask why. I look at the way things can be and ask why not.... - Bobby Kennedy
A shining city on the hill... - Ronald Reagan

Idealism. Dreams and making them come true. We dream of flying in space and going to the moon. Crazy, silly, but we do it because we can. That and because we choose to pursue our dreams.

So, in keeping with the topic of this thread, what I've learned here was something I always knew. I just couldn't define it in specific terms. It took a Brit to do that. Thanks, Ptarmigan! I owe you a couple. beer.gif beer.gif

Cheers! thumbsup.gif
Izdaari
I can't really say that I've changed much politically in the last year, or even since joining AD, at least not as a result of the debates, though 9/11 and subsequent world events have made me more hawkish and less isolationist.

I used to think the Libertarian Party's hard isolationist stance was just wacky enough that it could possibly work, but no more, though I continue to agree with them on most other things. Now I tend to think that even the Bush administration is not aggressive enough, and hamstrung by being too PC, in combating the terrorist networks, and that the US needs to adopt a policy of not admitting Islamist hatemongers into the country and of deporting the ones that are already here, just as Tony Blair proposes to do in the UK.

Another issue on which I've become more conservative and less libertarian is the question of borders and illegal immigration. I think we do need more aggressive border enforcement and a crackdown on illegals, though we should allow a large amount of legal immigration, with assimilation always kept in mind, and have a guest worker program.

In other respects I remain as always, at least in recent years, a libertarian with some conservative tendencies, more empirically than ideologically driven, who looks more to libertarian SF writers like Poul Anderson, Robert A. Heinlein and Vernor Vinge for inspiration than to libertarian Ivory Tower theorists (though I continue to venerate F.A. Hayek and Milton Friedman, among many others). I also greatly admire some early 20th century libertarian writers, especially Isabel Paterson and Albert Jay Nock. And I remain torn between the LP and the GOP to try to get my ideals enacted, and continue to have little use for the Democratic Party, whose basic view of the proper role of government and of the Constitution I reject entirely, though I agree with them on some civil liberties and civil rights issues.

AD is a wonderful place, and I've made some good friends here and learned much about many things -- in particular some excellent points of constitutional law from hayleyanne -- but often I have too little patience for the formal format, and would rather play a computer game. That's not AD's fault, and I'm not suggesting it should change, just my need for escapism and stress relief.
Fma
Well, I learned a lot, thanks to the AD for that.

I learned that I should be more polite and civil during a debate. I will be working on that. I tend to get carried away and feel myself in a battle. I learned to be more patient. And most importantly I learned to be less prejudiced towards Americans. (I live in a hot-zone of the world and you can understand if America is not my favourite country, especially after the war.)
Ringwraith
I've discovered that where debate is concerned there is almost always more energy directed at being vindicated in ones own beliefs than in arriving at the truth.

Therefore I believe my tag line (Knowledge speaks but Wisdom listens) has been vindicated!

The irony is just dripping......

Renger
A lot has changed since I started visiting ad.gif. Like Moif stated earlier I also grew up thinking the U.S. was their to portect us, to fight the evil forces (at that moment personified in the USSR) in the world. They were the good guys.

This all started to change when I became more interested in the world around me and began understanding why my dad always wanted to watch the "news", when I was watching a new episode of "The Night Rider". From then on my views on the U.S. changed radically(I always compare it with Michael Jackson: a hero in my youth, a deception when I grew older and wiser(??).)
Especially the last few years with Bush as your president my love for the U.S. cooled down rapidly. I really had the feeling that the people in the U.S. were in a state of confusion when they first elected him. Why, why, why would anybody want to vote for Bush, why, why, why? Don't they get it? Have they completely lost their mind? A much heard mantra coming from my mouth in that time. blush.gif

Then came Bush's re-election ...... can you imagine my reaction? Complete disbelieve! Really, it was a deception a sad moment for me when I heard the results .... and I was not the only one who felt that way, to quote my (ahum) eloquent dad: America, I do not even want to fly over that country anymore! huh.gif laugh.gif

So when my love for America and my trust in the American people was almost completely washed away ....... I found ad.gif, and it changed my life!! laugh.gif

After reading al lot of posts, checking out all the new topics and occasionally submitting some of my own views, I have learned a lot about the American society, its values and its culture(s). Before I came here I had only a faint idea about the American society. (what I read came mostly from the Source, a hiphop magazine which also covers social issues concerning the Afro-American community) Now that I know more (I am still learning and exploring), some of the questions I had in the past have been answered and some of my views on the U.S. are corrected, but some have only worried me more.

Apart from that I have to compliment all the people here on ad.gif . You are all really nice. The fact that you all try to debate difficult/emotional issues in a civil, respectfull way is refreshing and stimulating. You have all amazed me ... in a really positive way! thumbsup.gif

Editted: Oops I think I went a little bit overboard with the Smilies .... blush.gif tongue.gif
Christopher
My views on most things haven't changed. I just really understand now how little i know about so many things. I have learned quite a bit from some of the posters here. Enough to have backed off of some positions and have relaxed my libertarian standards on some things. It still leaves me both an anarchist and a capitalist. It still leaves me the type of person that would have been the butt of Montana freeman jokes.
Reading the various threads regarding war and terrorism make me more and more isolationist every day.
Do business with them all and let them kill each other if they can learn to do no better.
Its always amazing to me how many people can scream and holler about the founding fathers and their intent--and yet always forget one of their main themes--no foreign entanglements.

I am optimistic however. Mankind is slowly evolving and glimpses of what our potential can be are all around us. The current struggles are the inevitable results of mankind finally shrugging off the superstitions of our past.
I even owe some of the posters here whom I admit freely I detest. Some of them have views as reasoned as they are passionate. While i will never support their views i can support them in their rights to the belief. If i ever thought they would respect mine I would never have any worries about us getting along. However I remain very glad of the 2nd amendment as a final safeguard against some political and religious groups.

I participate less in the debates because I no longer really believe debate works much. I have yet to see any real change in the opinions of most posters. This does not surprise me however, So these days i focus more on assuring the freedom to go our own ways remains intact and no one power ever gains complete control--regardless of how thoroughly the Left tries to fail at each and every election. dry.gif Really guys -- just how many times are you going to lose before you finally realize your ideas need to adjust to the times. It ain't the 60s anymore. You cannot run on the same platform--it just doesn't meet the needs of today. rolleyes.gif

I am always surprised at the depth of the accumulated knowledge here on ad.gif
We have some posters here who are very sharp and I value their input on subject to help me gain insights to help me form reasoned opinions.

Since I have backed off of the debates I have been able to control my emotions more and better evaluate my positions and express my core beliefs more accurately.
I am taking my time and practicing my debate skills and compare my works against others.

This way when I return I can inflict maximum carnage.

2008 is getting closer and its never too late to fix the damage done to my country
Jaime
CLOSED.

Thanks to everyone who has shared in this thread. We've opened a new place for this here: What I Have Learned...

Please join us there. flowers.gif
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