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Steve Boyko

For a member of the liberal media, you really touched me with your story. Well done.


It gets easy after a certain point to not really see your subjects. Especially if you're on guard, or unsettled, or expecting some resistance. You did your work and these students a terrific honor by entering their story and truly seeing them. Thank you for the story.


When you can set aside the biases you've held most of your life, looking beyond your day to day cares and the scope of your own personal existence, and can truly step into another person's shoes, it becomes quite clear that there are people who are literally fighting for the survival of a way of life, your way of life.

Nice try, but everyone knows journalists don't have souls.


Good on you. You were reporting the news, not trying to make it.

You did a good job of it, by the way.



Nice to see an honest liberal, that maybe understands what is happening abroad.


This is the kind of story that tells me there is still hope for our society, when all around all I see and hear are selfishness and cynicism and greed. Thank you for the story.


"Ten minutes later, I sat with the letter writers, feeling myself be with them. I chatted with them about what they were doing, and I took my pictures."

In the interests of 'full disclosure', I do think the 'media' is infested with a deep-seated and self-denied group think. And that that group think is LIBERAL(as in the limosine-liberal tradition). What makes that totally unacceptable is the media's pretensions and protestations that it is 'unbiased'.

It is not. And its continuing 'lies' on the subject are corroding its function withing the society that houses it.

'Speaking truth to power'. Give me a break.

However, I do respect the fact that you allowed yourself to 'connect' with your subjects on a truly non-judgemental level. And you did so consciously and wilfully after an examination of your position. Considering your pre-existing 'biases' that is 100% laudable. Not everyone can review themselves or even wants to.

Congratulations for the 'growth' and thanks for this heartfelt little slice of real life.

Best wishes ----


I'm in the media too, and I know what Doug felt, going in. I have changed my religious beliefs, and I have changed my political beliefs. Changing political stripe was much more difficult.
I felt physically ill the first time I cast a vote for a conservative -- that's how strong the conditioning is. That was 15 years ago. I was 35.

Robin Shapiro

I'm musing on the evidence of polarization in both Doug's post and some of the responses. (So rare in a photo-geek and art blog. . .) Two things come to mind, M. Scott Peck's definition of evil: (From Wikipedia, originally from Peck's book, People of the Lie) An evil person:

Projects his or her evils and sins onto others and tries to remove them from others;
Maintains a high level of respectability and lies incessantly in order to do so;
. . .
Is unable to think from other people's viewpoints.

I'm reading a door-stop-sized book by van der Hart, et al, The Haunted Self, about trauma and dissociation in which the authors describe how nearly everyone automatically splits their "Apparently Normal Personality" apart from uncomfortable "Emotional Personality". Often times the uncomfortable parts are seen as "not me". And if it's not me, it must be you. Cultures and leadership often promote this. Either extreme side of political divides can exploit this tendency to see the "other" as evil. As the step-child of a Holocaust survivor, I know the worst that can happen. In my 51 years, I've seen the worst many times, Rwanda, Cambodia, the Sunni vs Shia, Darfur, and daily, the extreme child abuse that I treat in my work. I see much of our "liberal" vs "conservative" political discourse holding the same kind of evil. As a psychotherapist, who is gladly obligated to deeply connect to every client, the labels fall off within minutes. And as a psychotherapist, I'm deeply sensitive to any person or group disowning the evil inside and projecting it onto the other(s).
How about we see each other as reasonably well-intentioned human beings who have different opinions?


Welcome to the dark side. It's not so bad - we bathe regularly and have jobs.

Doug Plummer

What makes you all think I'm not still a raving latte-sipping, Prius driving (I wish!) mushy headed liberal?

I think that most of the problems in this world are caused by people who are certain of the answers. We desperately need more humility in our politics and our points of view. Fundamentalism of any stripe--religious, liberal, conservative, vegan--casts much heat and little light. Shouting at each other accomplishes nothing.

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