By Rick Dancer
From our new home in Montana you can see storms as they move in from the north, making their way over Canyon Ferry Reservoir and into our little valley. You see these storms but never know if or when they will actually strike.
There is another storm coming, but this one is ideological
This storm has been brewing for decades but recently, some, have pushed too hard and now ground is being lost as the pendulum (according to new polls) moves slowly back to the center.
Many of us hope for unity. We pray we can find common ground and start acting like neighbors again.
Here are some of my thoughts on the subject
I recently had a good man from Eugene on my show who leans more left than me, way more left. It was a good conversation but when It was over I felt like I was being disingenuous and that’s not me anymore.
Both of us, I’m guessing, were holding back out of a sense of decency and decorum. I know I was and to be honest this is not the time to back off.
A little history:
When I was a newsman I had to temper my true thoughts. I lived and worked in a much more blue city/state and to offer my true opinion would put me at odds with my community. Some on the left may not understand this but ask your brothers and sisters on the right and they will probably back up what I’m telling you. It’s not lying it’s surviving. You just couldn’t say everything you believed. In other words, you bit your tongue a lot. It’s just the way it was and you did what you had to do.
When Eugene was taken over by homelessness/lawlessness I started speaking out about lawlessness and got hammered by folks who disagreed with me. It was my first taste of the true cost of speaking out. It hurt but it didn’t kill me so my true compass began to form.
Then, as COVID surfaced, it wasn’t the reaction that put my values out front, it was speaking out against riots over BLM issues that did it. I found it so hypocritical that masks were required for everyone but not those rioting for the “right cause.” Like if you protested for the proper cause the disease gave you a pass. Plus, all the destruction of private and public property sickened me so I spoke out and again, got slapped and mislabeled by the opposition. Then as more information came out about the reaction to COVID I pointed out inconsistencies and those same people came after me again. Yes, speaking out about what you truly believe is difficult, especially in today’s climate of fear and angst. But you will never find your true compass if you don’t speak out.
So here we are today
People see how divided we are and there’s an urge to find unity. I was told by someone on the left that if we start with facts we can find common ground. But wait, who’s facts? How can we talk if you refuse to listen to my facts too? It seems only their facts are relevant. My homework, to them, is flawed because it doesn’t line up with theirs. So can you explain to me how we are supposed to have a “common ground” conversation with those one-sided rules? I was looking at my social media page and many names from the past were going by. People I used to keep in touch with, folks who used to give me a pass and offer a comment or two, now invisible.
After that interview I had a few comments from folks saying they’d like to see more conversations with people simply having a meaningful conversation. Many of them lean more left, not a judgment, just a fact. I would love nothing more than to have fair, meaningful, productive conversations.
But in order for that to happen and not just be some bullshit attempt at unity, ground rules need to be made that create a safe place for folks to be honest, really honest with how they see things. Part of me wonders if it’s still too soon. I’m not sure culture is ready to even the playing field. I know the media’s not. Social media continues to throttle content that challenges status quo and activist don’t seem to care about truth, justice or freedom of speech, only controlling the conversation. (activists on both sides)
The good news is we will get there eventually.
In the meantime I’m looking for ways to hear from more voices without silencing those who are finally ready to speak up.
Rick Dancer is engaged in helping the people across the Northwest understand the many different impacts that are in every rural community. Rick Dancer can be found at