Cycling and bicycle discussion forums. 
   Click here to join our community Log in to access your Control Panel  


Go Back   > >

Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

User Tag List

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 09-13-11, 03:44 AM   #1
JimF22003
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
JimF22003's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Northern VA
Bikes: 2008 Trek Madone 5.5, 2009 Cervelo R3SL tdf edition, Cervelo R5 with Di2
Posts: 2,654
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Being Civil

During a century ride last year, I did a double-take when I saw a semi-famous person I recognized on the ride. It was L. Paul Bremer, the guy who oversaw the U.S. occupation of Iraq after the invasion in 2003. Trying NOT to get political here, but suffice it to say that I may have a few disagreements with the gentleman about the way the Iraq occupation was handled, let alone if we should have been there in the first place. But I actually was tempted to go over and make a few snide comments to him. Not proud of that, but it's true.

On last week's Civil War Century at the first rest stop I was looking at the posted ride map with somebody. He was asking about the battle of South Mountain, and when he got oriented on the map, pointed out the route Lee took during his invasion of MD and PA in 1863. We chatted a bit about the route.

Then I looked over and saw that I was actually talking with Mr. Bremer. I felt like a d*ck frankly for the way I reacted to seeing him last year. It was the day before the 10th anniversary of 9/11. We were on a bike route tracing the most horrendous intra-American fighting that has ever taken place, on our way to the battlefield at Gettysburg.

I felt thankful that for as much as we can and should disagree with each other, we can still remain civil. I'm glad on that day at least the "better angels of our nature" prevailed, for me at least, and I hope I remember that lesson in the future.
JimF22003 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-11, 06:23 AM   #2
donheff
Senior Member
 
donheff's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Capitol Hill, Washington, DC
Bikes: Specialized Tricross Comp
Posts: 1,314
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I read a bunch of books on the war (critical) and naturally have forgotten much of what I read. I somehow was left with he impression that Bremer wasn't one of the worst but got stuck with the policy. Am I right about that or was he the guy who "fired" the Iraqi army (that move sounded insane at the time and proved to be so)? Regardless, I think it is true that most people are well intentioned regardless of the outcome of their thoughts/actions. Better to treat him with respect after the fact and argue when it could still make a difference.
donheff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-11, 09:55 AM   #3
ftwelder
Senior Member
 
ftwelder's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: vermont
Bikes: Many
Posts: 3,092
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Bremer lived close by my home. He had a lot of friends/neighbors that drove blacked-out SUV's. I am not sure if he moved or what but the commotion seems to have ended a while ago.
ftwelder is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-11, 10:01 AM   #4
CraigB
Starting over
 
CraigB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Indianapolis
Bikes: 1990 Trek 1500; 2006 Gary Fisher Marlin; 2011 Cannondale Synapse Alloy 105; 2012 Catrike Trail
Posts: 4,081
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
+1

"Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection."
CraigB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-11, 10:21 AM   #5
NOS88
Senior Member
 
NOS88's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Montgomery County, Pennsylvania
Bikes:
Posts: 6,490
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
My grandmother would have slapped me upside the head if she ever heard of me not being civil, even to those I may loathe. She used to say, "You may not be able to do anything about how you feel about someone, but you can do something about how you act around them."
__________________
A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright
Favorite rides in the stable: Indy Fab CJ Ti - Colnago MXL - S-Works Roubaix - Habanero Team Issue - Jamis Eclipse carbon/831
NOS88 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-11, 10:42 AM   #6
TheHen
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Bikes:
Posts: 790
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Nicely put. Many times we find ourselves in situations where we all want the same result but see weigh the prospects of success for different actions differently. It doesn't make anyone evil, just different. For a Bike Forums example just mosey over to A&S and watch the rage between the Copenhagenistas and those who think we don't need extensive off-street paths. Both groups clearly want to get people cycling more and driving less, but they have come to different conclusions regarding how to get that done.

Slightly off-topic: I'm not so sure the Civil War was the most horrendous intra-American fighting. We slaughtered an awful lot of First Americans during the first few centuries of colonization/nationhood.
TheHen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-11, 03:47 PM   #7
gtragitt
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Houston, TX - Energy corridor
Bikes: 2011 Trek SOHO Deluxe, and 2010 Specialized Roubaix Expert
Posts: 868
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I was having lunch in Zimbabwe this year. A nice gentleman in a suit stopped by and introduced himself. He asked about my class ring from Vanderbilt. He then mentioned that he received his PhD from Syracuse. He is currently the Minister of Education in Zimbabwe. I wanted to tell him he was a failure because Zimbabwe at one time had the highest literacy rate in Africa. Now children can't afford to go to school and the literacy rate for young people in Zimbabwe is terrible.

He was so nice that I would have felt badly if I had told him my real assessment.
gtragitt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-11, 05:46 PM   #8
on the path
Seņor Blues
 
on the path's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: upstate NY
Bikes: Cannondale CAAD 10, Breezer Venturi Custom Build, IRO Singlespeed
Posts: 1,368
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 14 Post(s)
Jim, it doesn't matter what you thought or what you were tempted to do. The fact is that you didn't speak your mind and you didn't act out your feelings. At another time it may have been appropriate, but in that moment you did the right thing.

I believe you shouldn't feel bad for what you were thinking. We are all judgmental of others. What we do or say, or not, is what determines our level of civility, and frankly, the amount of wisdom we have acquired.
on the path is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-11, 06:08 PM   #9
Daspydyr 
Pedals, Paddles and Poles
 
Daspydyr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Btw the Mohave desert and AREA 51
Bikes: Santa Cruz Tallboy, Ridley Noah, Scott Spark 20
Posts: 5,352
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 19 Post(s)
The great thing about America is being able to share opinions and then accept people even though we disagree with their convictions. Being a Melting Pot doesn't destroy the individuality, it recognizes that we are all in the same pot. And we need to be good to each other, the days do come when we are on a ride and need a tube or chain link and the guy we just reamed out is the only one with a spare.
__________________
I think its disgusting and terrible how people treat Lance Armstrong, especially after winning 7 Tour de France Titles while on drugs!

I can't even find my bike when I'm on drugs. -Willie N.
Daspydyr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-11, 06:37 PM   #10
Robert Foster
Banned.
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Southern california
Bikes: Lapierre CF Sensium 400. Jamis Ventura Sport. Trek 800. Giant Cypress.
Posts: 3,498
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I often wonder where civil and polite leaves off? It may depend on how deeply someone has offended you or the ones you love. While crawling through the jungel of Viet Nam I might have been offended by Jane Fonda sitting on a North Vietnamese Ack-Ack gun pointing it in my direction. Can one be civil and even polite while not helping such a person with a flat or loaning them a master link? Just food for thought.
Robert Foster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-11, 07:06 PM   #11
hikeandbike
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Bucks County PA
Bikes: Cannondale Carbon Synapse 2, Cannondale F 500
Posts: 168
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Great conversation. Interesting perspectives. I love grandma's approach to others.
hikeandbike is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-11, 08:03 PM   #12
John E
feros ferio
 
John E's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: www.ci.encinitas.ca.us
Bikes: 1959 Capo; 1980 Peugeot PKN-10; 1981 Bianchi; 1988 Schwinn KOM-10;
Posts: 17,053
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 65 Post(s)
Great quote from the cofounder of a company for which I used to work: "I have to earn your respect, but I can demand your courtesy." A little tact goes a long way ...
__________________
"Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
Capo [dschaw'-poe]: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324; 1960 Sieger, S/N 42624
Peugeot: 1970 UO-8, S/N 0010468
Bianchi: 1981 Campione d'Italia, S/N 1.M9914
Schwinn: 1988 Project KOM-10, S/N F804069
John E is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-14-11, 12:32 AM   #13
seenoweevil
invisible friend
 
seenoweevil's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Decatur, Alabama
Bikes: Gary Fisher Tassajara hardtail mtb, '01 Rans Wave, '98 Raleigh R700, Mid-80's Takara Professional, '91 Bianchi Alfana
Posts: 961
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by NOS88 View Post
My grandmother would have slapped me upside the head if she ever heard of me not being civil, even to those I may loathe. She used to say, "You may not be able to do anything about how you feel about someone, but you can do something about how you act around them."
Civility and common courtesy are rapidly on the decline, IMO.
seenoweevil is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-14-11, 08:02 AM   #14
mikepwagner
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Raleigh, NC
Bikes: 2012 Motobecane (BikesDirect) Immortal Force; 2011 (?) Civia Bryant Gates Carbon Belt Drive (upgraded to Alfine 11 and Gates CenterTrack)
Posts: 523
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by JimF22003 View Post
But I actually was tempted to go over and make a few snide comments to him. Not proud of that, but it's true.
It might be worthwhile for you to consider your own motivation. For purposes of argument, let's assume his policies were mistaken. Given that, what exactly is the point of snide remarks about his policies 8 years ago?
  1. He will realize that your are correct, jump into a time machine, go back and change his policies?
  2. He suddenly comes to a realization that you should have been in charge in Iraq, instead of him? Then he jumps in a time machine with you, and ...
  3. He can't change the past, but he will know that you are smarter than he is?

It seems to me that there are three good reasons to remonstrate with someone about their behavior:
  1. They ask you to evaluate their behavior.
  2. They may agree with you and change their current behavior.
  3. They may agree with you and change their future behavior.

For the second to be true, the behavior can't be in the past, because no one can change the past.

For the third to be valid, there must be a reasonable belief that they will repeat the behavior if you say nothing. If they are not likely to have the opportunity to repeat the behavior, then there's not much point in remonstrating with them. I think that it's pretty clear that Mr. Bremer is not going to have an opportunity to supervise Iraq immediately after an American invasion ever again.

For the second or third to be valid, I have to be pretty sure that the person hasn't heard what I am about to say from me or anyone else - if I am pretty sure that they have heard what I am about to say hundreds of times, and or they have already read it in print, then what is the point of my remonstration?

My guess is that if you look deeply enough, you'll find that at the bottom of your motivation, there's an ego barking, "I'm right and you're wrong."

And that's a silly motivation.
mikepwagner is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:48 PM.