Earthquakes and Baseball

San Francisco Giants baseball is in my blood.  For the first 10 years of my life it was Mays, McCovey, Cepada, Marichal and the gang.  While I’m a too young to remember the Giants in the 1962 World Series, second place finishes from 1965 to 1969 still gnaw at me. When the A’s came in 1968, instead of looking at them as a rival, my friends and I saw   the opportunity to see more baseball!  As a National League area, we saw legens like Koufax, Clemente, and Aaron come through town.  Now we were going to see the likes of Carew, Yastrzemski, and Mickey Mantle.  When the A’s won the World Series three straight years, we were in Baseball Heaven.

1989 was the most compelling season ever.  The A’s were coming off of their heartbreaking loss to the Dodgers in the ’88 Series,  Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire were at the top of their games, and the pitching staff, led by Dave Stewart, Bob Welch, and Dennis Eckersley were lights-out.

The Giants were a good team that Will Clark and Kevin Mitchell led to greatness.  Clark and Mitchell, dubbed the Pacific Sock Exchange struck fear through-out the National League as Mitchell won the League MVP and Clark won the Championship Series MVP.

If Northern California wasn’t getting enough baseball excitement, Joe Montana and Jerry Rice were at the top of their games on their way to their fourth Super Bowl Championship.

While the A’s and Giants were having great years, they were far from the only story.  The biggest story was the gambling rumors about Cincinnatti Red Legend Pete Rose.  In August, Commisioner of Baseball, A. Bartlett Giamatti, had enought evidence to ban Rose from Baseball, making him inelligible to manage the Reds and earn election the the Hall of Fame.  About three weeks after the announcement, Biamatti died enexpectly of a heart attack at the age of 51.  Anxiety and emotions were high in the baseball world.

The season went on with the A’s winning the American League West and dominating the Toronto Blue Jays in the League Championship Series.  Ricky Henderson was breathtaking, stealing bases, hitting home runs, and moving around with a swagger that only he could pull off.

After the Giants won the National League West, they took on the Chicago Cubs in a highly competibe five game series. Cubs first baseman Mark Grace and Will Clark dominated the series with Grace hitting .647 while Clark .650.  The difference was the hit Clark got that drove in the winning runs in the clinching Game 5.

When the ’89 World Series started on October 14, for the first time, I had to pick a side.  My loyalties went to my boyhood team, of Willie Mays, the Giants.  For my birthday, my brother Jim took me to Game 2 at the Coliseum, a game that the A’s dominated the same way they tomonated game 1.  The Series was now going to Candlestick Park with the Giants trailing 2 games to zero.

On Tuesday afternoon, I stopped at Andronicos Market, to pick up some sausages for dinner and headed toward Lee Frank Jewelers to pick up Kathryn, who got off at 5:30. Since I got there early, I was killing some time at Dalton Books when the earthquake struck at 5:04.  While the shaking didn’t seem that severe, it was obvious that the shaking for this earthquake lasted longer than any earthquake hat I had ever felt. When the shaking stopped, everyone in the store looked around and kind of gave that look, “hey, we’re cool,  we survived another one.”  I had no idea of the damage until Kathryn and her co-workers were walking out of the store at 5:30.  One of her co-workers said “the Bay Bridge collapsed!”  I said what? When she repeated it, I pictured the Bridge and the cars that were on it collapsing into the Bay.

As Kathryn and I drove home, we had no idea that the Berkeley Fire truck we were behind was headed toward the Cypress Structure which REALLY collapsed.  When we picked Phillip, who had just turned two, up at daycare, Debi, the woman in charge told us the kids were OK and she was proud of Phillip because when the earthquake hit, he knew to go under a table.  After picking Phillip up, we circled around to Buena Vista Avenue, five blocks away and saw Kathryn’s mom standing outside of her house.  She was OK and relieved to see us because she thought we may have been on the Cypress.  The only thing out of the ordinary when we got home was the coat rack had fallen to the floor.  Our phone was still working so I checked in with Mom and Dad.

Ten days later, after repairs were made to Candlestick Park, the World Series resumed.  On the last play of Game 4, Brett Butler grounded ot to Tony Phillips.  Eck covered first to get the final out and the A’s celebrated the way a team that wins a championship is supposed to celebrate.  That was the extent of it.  There was no parade in Oakland, it was now the business of the region to move on to rebuilding what needed to be rebuilt.

Sixty-three people parished, 3,757 were injured, and damages were roughly $6 billion. A longshorman, Buck Helm survived 90 hours trapped, in the collapsed Cypress Structure only to die about a month after his rescue. Through-out the 10 day intruption of the Series, A’s Pitcher Dave Stewart brought food, water, and clothing to the people working to rescue people.

The A’s returned to the World Series in 1990, and lost to the Cincinnati Reds in a four game sweep.  Their run was over after they lost to the Blue Jays in the 1992 League Championship Series.  The Giants wouldn’t return to the Post Season until the year 1997.

Now 30 years removed, we’ve moved on as we always do.  The Giants took residence at Oracle Park in China Basin and have won the World Series three times.  The A’s still call the Coliseum home and are working to get a new ballpark at Howard Terminals, a stones through from the Cypress Structure.  The majority of the Astros and Nationals who are in this year’s World Series were not yet born when the Loma Prieta Earthquake struck.

Moving on he healthy and needed.  That said, as we watch the 2019 World Series, let’s remember the lives that were lost or changed forever on October 17, 1989.

 

 

 

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The End of the World?

“DON’T PANIC!” “HOW DO WE COPE WITH THE END OF THE WORLD?”  That was the bold print in the new Culture Section of last Sunday’s San Francisco Chronicle.  Editor Sarah Feldberg plans on “giving voice to common frustrations, identify shifting norms, and introduce us to characters on the leading edge of their communities.”

On Sunday October 6th, the culture page addressed climate change and the fear many have that this could be what distroys us.  There are articles predicting what the Bay Area will look like by the end of this century,  as sea levels rise.  Therapist are not only treating people who have been affected by the wild fires they’re treating people who have Eco-Anxiety.  Many are avoiding having children because they don’t want to subject them the the coming apocalypse, others are choosing not to save for retirement because they see no point.

Peter Hartlaub notes that climate change isn’t the first end of the world scare that we’ve had.  Hartlaub tells the story of Clifford McCaslin of Oakland, who in 1950 built the first bomb shelter in the Bay Area.  McCaslin is quoted in the newspaper, “I’m not worried but …”  The shelter is still there.  The article also talks about fear that San Francisco Mayor Elmer E. Robinson stirred up and the steps he wanted to take.

My friends, while climate change is scary, a healthy dose prospective is needed.  We got through the Great Depression, World War II, and the Cold War.   In each of those times and other times throughout history,  people thought life was never going to be the same.  We got through these times by doing two things.  First, by making peace with the fact that we’re never going to get everything we want policy-wise. Whether we’re Democrats or Republicans, Liberals or Conservatives, Enviromentalist or any other persuasion, the rest of society is not going to agree with us 100% of the time.  Second, we should control what we can control. We all know things we can do to reduce our carbon footprint; driving less, when we do drive, driving energy efficient vehicles. What if we just started picking up our own trash and properly disposing of it.  While the impact one person, taking responsibility for their own trash, won’t have the impact of a leader signing onto an international treaty, does it have to? It doesn’t matter if I’m walking in Alameda, Oakland, Walnut Creek, or Southern California, I see streets littered with plastic bottles and cans that the user could have easily deposited in a can that’s on the nearest corner.  Doing simple things like picking up our liter gives ourselves a stake in the game and more credibility when we want to criticize the government for not talking the lead on this.  Its our job to take the lead on this.

By making peace with the fact  that we’re not going to get 100% of what we want and controling what we can control, we can develop the confidence to bring children into the world that people had during the Great Depression and World War II.  Maybe we can have the healthy prospective, that gave America’s Greatest Generation the strength to survive the Great Depression, win World War II and put a man on the moon.  They also weren’t afraid to save for what they called a rainy day.  Those who have children could possibly bring into the world a new greatest generation.  A generation who will provide the leadership and ideas that will remind us that we have nothing to fear but fear itself.

https://www.sfchronicle.com/culture/article/Welcome-to-the-Culture-Desk-a-new-Chronicle-14487521.php#

 

Navigating Through The Postseason

It happend again.  After playing great baseball for 162 games, the Oakland A’s flammed out in the playoffs getting beat 5-1 by the Tampa Bay Rays in the One Game Wild Card Playoff.  This is the third consecutive time the A’s have lost a game in this format and the ninth time out of ten chances they’ve been bounced in the first round of the playoffs. Their one success was when they got past the Minnisota Twins in 2006, only to be swept by the Detriot Tigers in the League Championship Series.  The baseball world is at a loss to explain why the A’s are unable to have success in the postseason, which A’s Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Billy Beane, famously calls a crap shoot.

Let’s look at this a bit closer.  Since the year 2000,  in addition to watching the A’s appear in the post season 10 times,  we’ve watched the Giants go seven times, appearing in four World Series and wining three.  The three championships coming under the guidance of Manager Bruce Bochy.

As the season was coming to the end and Bochy was preparing for retirement, current and former players were giving tributes to Bochy.  The consistant theme was that he had a special skill in navigating teams through the postseason.  He had his team prepared, he was a calming force, and was always a step or two ahead of the opposing manager.  As I look back, the specific examples, this makes total sense:

  • Game 6, 2010 National League Championship Series against Philadelphia; With the Giants down 2-0 in the 2nd inning,  Jonathan Sanchez hits Chase Uttley with a pitch, has words with him, and seems to have a meltdown.  As the benches and bullpens start to clear relief pitcher Jeremy Affeldt heads out of the bullpen to join the fracus.  Bullpen Coach Mark Gardner stops him, tells him to keep warming up so he’s prepared to come into the game.  He gets the Giants out of the jam and they Giants go onto win that game and clinch a spot in the World Series.
  • Game 2, 2014 National League Championship Series against Washington; The Giants, down 1-0 most of the game, tied it in the 9th.  Neither team scored again until Branden Belt hit a home run in the 18th.  Along with Bruce Bochy, I give credit to Buster Posey who not only caught every inning of that game,  he caught every inning of every postseason game that Bochy managed for the Giants.   Whether he’s hitting  well or not, when he’s behind the plate, Posey is and is the manager of the pitching staff.

In their championship years, the Giants were underdogs in every series they played.  Bochy and Posey were major reasons that they won.

Since the year 2000, everything that has gone right for the Giants has gone wrong for the A’s.  Look no farther than baserunning blunders and bullpen meltdowns:

  • Game 3 2001 American League Divisonal Series;  After winning the first two games in New York, the A’s had three chances to wrap up the series and move onto the next round.  With the A’s down 1-0, Jeremy Giambi inexplicity doesn’t slide on a close play at the plate, gets tagged out, A’s lose the game 1-0 and New York goes on the win the series.
  • Game 3 2003 American League Division Series;  After winning the first two games in Oakland, the A’s had three chances to wrap up the series and move onto the next round.  Miguel Tejada and Eric Byrnes each make base running blunders at home plate in the same inning costing the A’s at least two runs.  They lose that game in extra innings, and Boston goes on to win the series.
  • Wild card game 2014;  Brandon Moss hits two home runs and the A’s take 7-3 lead into the 8th inning.  Royals start stealing bases, Jon Lester gets flustered, and the Royals tie the game in the 9th.  A’s score a run in the 12th to take the lead, Royals score two in the bottom of the 12th to win.

Over the last 20 years, the A’s have lost this postseason series in every way imaginable,  base running blunders, blown saves, and lack of hitting.  For every double play ground ball Affeldt or Javey Lopez got for the Giants, there was an inferno by Keith Foulke, Billy Koch, or Sean Doolittle.  The one thing we never saw was an A’s catcher providing steady leadership for a pitcher or an A’s manager out manuvering the opposing manager.  It’s not a crapshoot Billy.

Humility is Everything

Over the past few months, I’ve had a lot of conversations with people over coffee or via social media on what we do at Better Angels.  Some think we’re gong down the wrong track?”

  • “How can you suggest we find common ground with people who believe this, this, & this?”
  • How can you suggest we find common ground with people who are so evil!  So ignorant!  So unpatriotic!”

In a profound Twitter post, my Better Angels friend John Wood Jr. @johnrwoodjr gave the best answer I’ve heard:

“…is not presumably on the brink of being uninhabitable. If two people trying to fix a car however are shouting at each other over how to do it, and neither is listening, will it make a difference if one has the right answer or not? The answer is no. Conversation matters.”

Whether you’re involved in a negotiation between labor and management, a marital crisis, or a political disagreement, with communication there are possibilities. When the communication stops, the possibilities vanish. Is not endorsement.

The same is true with empathy.  In a Ted Talk, Dylan Morran suggested that empathy is not endorsement.  You can empathize with someone without compromising your own deeply held beliefs.  Empathy is not endorsement; it acknowledges the humanity of some who was raised with beliefs different from yours.

So how do you do this in real life?  I believe all of us need a generous amount of humility which will allow for the needed communication and empathy. In my experience, rather than a sign of weakness, humility a sign of strength.   The most humble people in my life, starting with my dad have been the strongest.  Born in the 1920s, Dad helped his family survive the Great Depression, answered when his country called, and got up every morning, good day or bad to make sure his family was taken care of.  No hype, no fan- fare, no bravado just duty, loyalty, & HUMILITY.

Just like the car John refers to,  there are some things in country that need to be fixed.  Would it be more productive to keep shouting at each other or could we just get on with the business of making things better?

Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.

C. S. Lewis

 

 

Finding Common Ground

This summer has brought more activities in the Better Angels Organization. The name Better Angels came from Abraham Lincoln’s first Inaugural Address where he said,

“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

The mission of Better Angels is to take those beautiful words and put them into action, by depolarizing America, and helping people who disagree politically find common ground. We do this by hosting workshops where we bring together about a dozen people, ½ liberal, ½ conservative to have a discussion that’s moderated by two non-partisan moderators.

Why do we need organizations like Better Angels?  Many of us believe our views to be the only views that are valid.  What do you think of the  horrible language describing people on the “other-side?”  We’ve all heard the hateful language;  Evil.  Ignorant. Unpatriotic.  We’ve also heard much worse. Better Angels offers another path by helping people find the humanity in people with whom they disagree.

How do we find the humanity?  We uncover three qualities people that bring people together;  Respect, communication, and empathy.  No matter what the conflict is, a labor-management negotiation, a marital crisis, or an uncomfortable political discussion, as long as there is respect, communication, and empathy, there are possibilities, when the respect, communication, and empathy stops, he possibilities vanish.

How does that work in real life? At our convention in June, Hawk Newsome, President of the New York Chapter of Black Lives Matter and Ray Warrick, President of the Ohio Tea Party shared the stage to have a discussion with Better Angels President, David Blankenhorn. Both talked about the goals of their organization and things they might have in common with each other.  While they disagreed on many things, they were not affraid to explore things they agreed on.  One area of agreement was support for finding ways to get money out of politics.  It was a learning experience for everyone who attended.

Locally, we have a thriving  Better Angels Alliance in Alameda that meets on a regular basis.  We’ve organized three workshops in town and we’ll soon be be setting a date for the next one.  Our stretch goal is to host a conversation in the area similar to the one Ray and Hawk participated in at the convention.

Do you agree that our society would be more productive if we were less polarized.  If  the answer is yes, please take a look at our website; better-angels.org.  You can also email me at this staddei57@gmail.com.

 

 

 

The Heart of the Golden State Warriors

Alameda and the East Bay have had more championships and compelling sports figures than any area has a right to expect. We had the Raiders with Stabler, Madden, and the crew. The A’s with Reggie & Ricky defining two eras. All compelling in their own way, with entirely different personalities and different skill sets.Now we have the Warriors who showed us more guts and drive in a losing effort than any team I’ve ever followed that won a championshp. Draymond Green is the heart of the team and an example of class and everything good about athletes. His strongest leadership skill is that he’s upfront about the fact that like all of us he’s a work in progress. This year he took ownership in the fact that his temper was getting in the way of his effectiveness and is working his way through it. In this article Marcus Thompson best describes what he brings to the Warriors. Did anyone see his press conference following the game? Draymond congratulated Toronto on winning the championship, acknowledged his teamates for their drive and determination, and thanked the members of the press for the great work they do and how they help the NBA grow. Draymond Green, Thank you for the work you do. You’re also helping the NBA grow.https://theathletic.com/…/thompson-draymond-green-embodied…/

Golfin in the Rain With My Friends

After years of drought, 2019 is bringing the Bay Area the rain we need and then some.  Today the Alameda Golf Club had our second tournament of the year, my friends,  Matt, Scott, Harry, and me survived a crazy cold rainstorm.  When you’re golfing at the 2019 version of the Corica Park South Course, tournaments don’t get cancelled because of weather.

Course design legend Rees Jones and his team led by Mark Logan redesigned the South Course and made amazing improvements in the drainage system.  This isn’t what we’re use to.  In the old days, Corica Park, a property that sits below sea level would become a mess and would be forced to close down during they types of storms we saw during the past few weeks.  Today there was very little standing water.  With the Alameda Commuters opening up on April 6, the course will be in great shape for the best amateur golfers in Northern California.

Today made me think back to those dark days, about 10 years ago when the Alameda City Council and a developer saw visions of dollar signs dancing in their eyes.  Their plan was to build houses on the site of the Mif Albright Par 3 coure and make no investment into the two championship courses.  Now the new South Course is being played by people from all over Northern California.  The Woman’s team at Cal State East Bay hosted a successful Tournament here last week..  At this moment, Mark Logan is doing his magic on the North Course which will open up in 2020.

With golf is thriving in Alameda, our next tournament will be a mid-week affair on April 17.  While I love the new drainage on the South Course, I hope we don’t have to test it so much in April.  Just give me 75 degrees and sunshine so I can replace rain gear with shorts.

 

The Toastmasters Speech Contest

Last night I had the pleasure of competing with two fellow competitors in a Toastmasters speech contest. My friend Louis clearly gave the best speech and won the contest.  That said, I had a great experience stepping out of my comfort zone.  Today’s blog is the text of the speech that I delivered:

Finding the Needle of Common Ground in the Haystack of Polorization

It was your typical Saturday night.  Mom, Dad, my brother Jim, & I were in the family room watching TV;  Boy the way Glen Miller Sang.  Songs that made the Hit Parade.  GLORIA, YOU MARRIED A MEATHEAD!  All in the Family was the story of a working-class family headed by Archie Bunker, a bigoted conservative who was constantly arguing with his liberal son-in-law, Michael.  Archie’s wife Edith waited on him hand and foot and daughter Gloria was torn in conflict with a love for her father and for her new husband.

Contest Chair, fellow Toastmasters, welcome guests; Can I have a show of hands of boomers who laughed with their parents while watching All in the Family?

Much like the early ‘70’s, there’s a huge haystack of polarization dominating the world.  Many of us believed our views to be the only views that are rightous.  People who disagree are either evil, ignorant, or unpatriotic.   it’s as if we’re severing our relationship with half of our fellow citizens.

If you watched All in the Family, you probably remember the Generation Gap.  That was a term coined in the late 60’s by Life Magazine, describing the haystack of polarization between Baby Boomers and their parents.

It doesn’t have to be this way. There’s a path to a shining needle of common ground,  and the pathway is a 3 sided triangle. The first side is humor.  As with families all over the country laughing while they watched All in the Family, we realized that it’s hard to stay mad at people you’re laughing with.  I stress laughing with, not laughing at.

The second side to the triangle is communication.  Successful communication involves listening, thinking, and speaking.  IN THAT ORDER.  Remember the saying, “two ears & one mouth?  With communication there are possibilities, when communication stops, possibilities vanish.

The third side of the triangle is empathy.  Dylan Morran said it best on a TED Talk, “Empathy is not Endorsement.”  Mr. Morran argues that “Empathizing with someone you profoundly disagree with does not compromise your own deeply held beliefs and endorse theirs.  It just means acknowledging the humanity of someone who was raised to think very differently.”

Friends, it’s up to us.  Our leaders have never made it easy for us to get along:

  • In 1970, the Vice President of the United States called the media nattering nabobs of negativity.
  • The current president calls the media the enemy of the state.
  • At the close of a press conference in 1942, President Roosevelt handed a Nazi Iron Cross to a reporter and asked him to award it to a NY Daily News Reporter he didn’t like.  FDR accused that reporter of providing aid and comfort to the enemy.

Since our leaders don’t make it easy, it’s up to us to take it upon ourselfs to find our friendly humor, communication, and empathy to discover what we have in common rather that what divides.  As we do that, we’ll reach into that haystack of polarization and the shining needle will find us.

 

The Better Angels State of the Union Address

Thursday night was quite an experience.  Better Angels, whose mission is to depolarize America by hosting workshops that help people who disagree politically find common ground held our own State of the Union Address.  The Address was designed be given two days after the President’s SOTU.  Since heightened polarization caused President Trump’s address to be postponed.  Our SOTU Address was very timely.

Better Angels encouraged members to hold watch parties through out the country so we could introduce as many people as we could to our organization.  The presentation had several highlights:

  • A video of a Nightline episode was shown that described a three-day Red-Blue Workshop that took place in Ohio. Greg Smith, a Conservative Christian who supports President Trump participated on the Red side and Kouhyar Mostashfi, a Muslim participated on the Blue side. While both stayed loyal to their values and beliefs, they grew fond of each other and agreed to visit each other’s place of worship.  Greg visited Kouhyar’s Mosque and Kouhyar visited Greg’s Pentecostal Church.  They ended up by riding together from Ohio to Virginia for the Better Angels Convention last June.
  • Better Angels President David Blankenhorn told the story of the conversation that he had with Organizer Chair, Donna Murphy. David talked about growing up in the South where he was around guns a lot. Donna grew up hating guns. As the conversation went on, David suggested that Donna visit a gun shop.  She agreed to do that, and while she still hates guns, there is no personal animosity between the two on this polarizing issue.

Why is there such a need for us to get so offended when someone disagrees with us?  While some might blame one party or another, polarization is happening all over the world.  Great Brittan is up to their ears with polarization regarding Brexit.  My friend, Jim who attended our watch party feels that the polarization comes from pure stubbornness.  Jim noted that President Lincoln appointed some of his political opponents to his cabinet.  It’s my opinion that social media is to blame.  We have the ability to ridicule the people we disagree without having to look them in the eye.  It seems as if the first rule of social media is to be clever with accuracy way down the list.

It doesn’t have to be that way.  John Fry, President of Drexel University, suggests that we spend less time on social media and more time in face to face conversations.  Fry says that “empathy and respect would go a long way to bridging the political divide.”

How can we keep our integrity while searching for common ground?  Dylan Marron delivered a TED Talk last April, called “How I turn Negative Online Comments into Positive Offline Conversations.”  Marron used the phrase, “Empathy is not Endorsement, arguing that “Empathizing with someone you profoundly disagree with does not compromise your own deeply held beliefs and endorse theirs.  It just means acknowledging the humanity of someone who was raised to think very differently.”

There’s more to come from Better Angels.  Next Saturday, the San Francisco Alliance that I belong to will be hosting a Red-Blue Workshop where seven conservatives will sit around the table with seven liberals and a non-partisan moderator.  They’ll clarify what they believe in and uncover what they have in common with each other.  The hope is that relationships will be developed and alliances will be built.

The Better Angels State of the Union Address is available on our website; https://www.better-angels.org/sotu/

Please take a listen, whatever side you’re on politically, I think it will lift your spirits.

The Only State of the Union Address in Town

By shutting down the government, President Trump fired the first shot.  Speaker Pelosi retaliated by disinviting President Trump to the House Chambers so he could deliver the State of the Union Address.  President Trump shot back by taking away the government plane that was going to take Speaker Pelosi to visit the troops in Afghanistan.  Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a pissing contest on steroids! 

While this is going on, the government was shut down for over a month, it was particularly troubling that Coast Guard Service men and women and TSAs were serving our country without pay.  While Coast Guard families were going to food banks and scrambling for money take care of their families.  On Sunday January 20th, the Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf began a 90-day mission in the Pacific. 

These men and women who are serving our country were separated from their families with no idea what would happen to their families if they missed another paycheck.  Fortunately, on Friday, the government opened up at least for three weeks with the possibility that this mess can happen again in February.

With polarization at its worst, I’ve become passionate of an organization called Better Angles.  The mission of better Angels is to de-polarize America by helping people who disagree politically find Common Ground.  We do this through structured workshops where we bring seven liberals and conservatives together to clarify their views without ridiculing the other side.  If you arrive at a workshop a liberal, you go home a liberal.  If you arrive at a workshop a conservative, you go home a conservative. An example of common ground is the way Alameda came together during the past couple of weeks in support of the Coast Guard families.  We weren’t liberals and conservatives, we just loved our neighbors in the Coast Guard.

This Thursday, the Better Angels Organization is making its boldest statement yet.  We’ll be conducting our own version of the State of the Union.  Originally planned two days after the President’s State of the Union Address, this was designed to be a discussion of what Unites us rather than what divides us.  The thinking was President Trump’s address would focus on why his policies were superior and why the democrat’s policies were bad.  The democrats would respond by focusing on why their policies were better.  Both sides would say, “my side is good, the other side is bad.”

The Better Angels SOTU will take place as scheduled at www.better-angels.org, this Thursday.  My friend Joe and I will be hosting a viewing party at Joe’s office.  We expect the address to be a positive event that uplifts all who watch it.  Here are the details:

·       Thursday January 31

·       5:45 PM, we encourage you to log in about five or ten minutes early

·       It will be live streamed at www.better-angels.org

·       If your near Alameda, pm me and you can join us at the viewing party.  Pizza will be served.

Friends, the best way out of this political divide is to have conversations with the “other side.”  I encourage you to check out the Better Angels website and join us in de-polarizing America.