Sunday, 2 July 2017

The Santa Rosa Junto

Why the Junto? There has been a serious breakdown of communication in our society. There's a lack of constructive debate needed to solve problems; consequently we've become polarized. Political discourse has degenerated into snubbing, fighting and insulting. Traditional political solutions, such as exercising our voting rights, have only left us with a government that's more dysfunctional and less responsive to our needs than ever. 

Political correctness has had the effect of sterilizing our communication with each other, so that often people are afraid to freely express themselves for fear of reprisal, e.g. loss of a job, social status, or of being ostracized. Conversations in general have become less interesting, varied and colorful.

Even with our advanced technology we seem to be drawing further away from each other. Many people communicate with their smartphones or on social media outlets like Facebook or Snapchat instead of communication with someone face-to-face or in person.

The Junto may be one solution to our communication problems.

Benjamin Franklin, one of our founding fathers, created the Junto, or the "Leather Apron Club" to bring tradesmen and artisans together for their mutual benefit. They debated topics of morality, philosophy and politics and discussed business matters. It was also a charitable organization that created a subscription public library and promoted the concept of a public hospital. The Junto was perhaps the earliest version in this country of service groups and associations like the Rotary Club.

The Santa Rosa Junto in Santa Rosa, Ca has much in common with Ben Franklin's original Junto. Like that Junto, our goals are to improve communication and help each other. We'll also discuss moral and philosophical matters, but there will be more of an emphasis on political matters. Topics involving spirituality will also be discussed. And by helping each other, we can strengthen our communities. Working together at the community level, rather than individually, will empower us to have more influence in matters of public policy that will benefit many more of us and result in a fairer society.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Why we need to keep the candle burning for Bernie’s Political Revolution

     The problem with Bernie Sanders' Presidential candidacy is, how do we carry out his Political Revolution if he doesn’t win the Democratic nomination? Now that Hillary has won the New York Primary, it’s beginning to appear less likely that Bernie will become the Democratic Party nominee. If he runs as an Independent candidate for President, we can’t be sure he’ll win the Presidential election that way either. This is not pessimist thinking, nor is it defeatist thinking; this is practical thinking. It’s wise to plan for such a contingency.
     For the millions of Bernie supporters, Bernie is the Political Revolution. That’s why you don’t hear Bernie supporters making plans for what comes next for the Revolution should Bernie fail to become the Democratic nominee. Their overwhelming priority is getting Bernie elected President. Indeed, that should be their priority. Only with enough participation, effort and organization by a good many people can any movement have a reasonable chance of shaking up our rigged political system. Yet despite the monumental effort made by Bernie supporters on his behalf, it may not be enough. None of us have complete control over who becomes the nominee or the President. For example, we live in a country with a great many conservative and middle-of-the-road voters, and people who vote based simply on whether they like a candidate or not. Probably more important, the Political Establishment and the Citizens United Supreme Court decision have an enormous influence on who becomes President. This is what Bernie meant when he said the election system is rigged. Bernie has a chance to upset the odds against him because he’s so popular. Unfortunately the odds are still stacked against him. Because the outcome is to a large extent beyond our control, we’d be wise to organize and strategize to make sure that the Political Revolution remains a potent force in American politics after the Presidential election in November. If we work together to put pressure on Congress and the President to pass legislation that would be to our benefit rather than the corporations’, it essentially won’t matter who becomes President, or who serves in Congress. They would all be compelled to do our bidding.
     How can “We the People” intimidate the “Powers that Be” to do our bidding, rather than continuing to accept the unacceptable, when the vast majority of us feel powerless to take any kind of assertive action against the government? There are tried and true methods, all of which have been used during our lifetimes. They may take the form of strikes, as in worker strikes, boycotts, blogs, letter campaigns, and campaigning for progressive candidates. It can also start with activism by a child, such as when children have written letters to the President. The most important ingredient of a successful citizen action is determined action on the part of a truly united group of citizens. In other words: solidarity.
     When I canvassed by telephone, aka “phone banking”, for Bernie to NY voters, I spoke with a Kingston, NY voter named Gerald who didn’t want to consider the possibility that Bernie could lose the nomination. He told me his friends mentioned that possibility to him and he refused to talk about it with them. He suggested I visit his town’s progressive website called “”. This is a community effort to increase transparency and accountability on the part of the Kingston city government. I read much of the website and it appears to be a good forum for Kingston citizens to make their voices heard with their local government. Gerald wasn’t interested in joining a group dedicated to continuing Bernie’s political legacy.
     Most Bernie supporters I spoke with were like Gerald due to their lack of interest in maintaining involvement with the Political Revolution. They were either too busy or they don’t believe that a revolution can work unless started by a Presidential candidate. There were, however, several who were interested in learning more or getting more involved. A veteran who was upset with the way he was treated by the Government was especially interested.
     Here’s a blueprint of what we need to do to ensure that Bernie’s legacy has a lasting impact on the politics of the United States:
1. Request of the Bernie Sanders campaign that it make its database of Bernie supporters, as well as its voter intelligence and technology, available to other Bernie supporters;
2. Bernie supporters should be contacted by other Bernie supporters who wish to start revolutionary efforts in their own cities or communities;
3. Call ourselves “Bernie Sanders’ Political Revolution”, with Bernie’s permission of course, and with chapters in each city in the U.S.
4. Embrace a culture of community and solidarity, as these are the best ways to build a movement. See my blog entry entitled Is Community Networking More Beneficial Than Rugged Individualism?
5. Train ourselves in the teachings of other revolutionary leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and especially those of our founding fathers. I, for example, am reading A Benjamin Franklin Reader, by Walter Isaacson1.
6. Whatever is done to start a revolution must be non-violent.
7. You don’t have to have a socialist focus, but it would help.
8. Request that Bernie Sanders serve as a spokesperson for the movement.
9. Organize revolutionary activities on a consistent basis.
10. Alert the Media to any revolutionary activities your group undertakes. Maintain a high profile with the Media and the community, but make sure you’re prepared to take action first.
11. Maintain solidarity with other Bernie Sanders’ groups. Seek to expand your membership and influence.
12. Educate others in what you’re doing. Encourage others to become more assertive as citizens, and to demand more transparency and accountability from their Government. Because none of us have been brought up in a revolutionary era, many will need to take small steps before they can embrace the idea of starting a revolution.
13. Promote other candidates for public office like Bernie.

     This is not your forefathers’ country! We must adapt to the timid sort of democracy that has taken root in the U.S. due to the fear and docility of a good many U.S. citizens. The best we can do is to ignore those who are ignorant and establish our base of Bernie Sanders’ supporters and other bold US citizens, who are fed up with the status quo, into a political powerhouse, one that’s impossible for a Donald Trump, a Hillary Clinton or for every member of Congress to take for granted. Those who are ignorant or skeptical at first will join your cause once you become established. Feel the Bern!

1 Isaacson, Walter. A Benjamin Franklin Reader. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2003.

Why I support Bernie Sanders for President

     Bernie Sanders and his Presidential campaign are a breath of fresh air in American politics. He’s authentic, ethical and concerned about the People’s welfare and the environment. I also like the guy. That’s why I support him for President. We should have more politicians like him -- a lot more.
     Bernie Sanders would truly represent the 99% of the American population who aren’t the wealthiest 1%. With the active support of that 99% he would reform the corrupt political system we have in the United States. He calls the reforms he proposes his “Political Revolution”. Bernie supporters believe that he can pull this off, despite our mostly Republican, obstructionist Congress. Those who support Hillary believe she’s a safer bet to get meaningful things done as President. However, whatever progress she achieves would be incremental. She represents those who believe that we shouldn’t expect to have a system that works for all of us, that we should be content with any progress we make given our corrupt system. Many Hillary supporters also support her because they know her better than Bernie since she received more public attention as a First Lady, U.S. Senator and U.S. Secretary of State.
     Should Bernie win the Democratic nomination and then the Presidential election, I predict he’ll remain popular with his supporters and attract new supporters. He has the charisma to galvanize at least his supporters into taking action to achieve real political progress. I’m optimistic that once that happens, the power of his Presidency will bring us closer than we’ve been to starting another revolution since the days of the American Revolution that started in 1775. 

Monday, 5 August 2013

Is Community Networking More Beneficial Than Rugged Individualism?

What is “Community Networking” and why do we need it?

Unlike traditional networking, in which individuals market their products and services by entering into business relationships, in community networking members of a community work together for the good of everyone in the community. In this context, a community can be those living within a geographic area, like a neighborhood, or those with similar interests and backgrounds, like the gay community. Job seekers in a given area can be considered a community. Members can form business relationships, but they also provide each other with support, education and encouragement. Everyone wins. In hard times, survival for many means helping each other. Community networking is suitable for anyone. Businesspeople may find worthwhile business contacts, job seekers may find potential employers or job referrals, and those having difficulty with their job or career situations may meet others in the same situation. All who participate will find other members willing to share information and help their fellow members in some way.

The “Three Musketeers” approach to networking

This is about all for one and one for all. It’s a concept that’s alien to the average American, who has been indoctrinated by “the system” to believe that to succeed or survive, they must fend for themselves. Our culture doesn’t encourage us to band together and support each other in times of difficulty. Rather, it does the opposite: it encourages us to compete with each other for what we need and want. It’s a culture of rugged individualism.

When a member of your community comes to your aid, it’s usually because they want to help a fellow member in need. An example of this is when a member of a LinkedIn© group gives you constructive advice for free after you post an inquiry on the group’s message board. Although you can form an alliance with someone in a position to help you, it’s less likely that your ally’s motive for doing so will be altruistic. For example, you may form an alliance with someone in a company you’d like to work for whom you met at a business networking event. However, if that person refers you for a position with the company, it may be because they’ll receive a bonus or positive recognition. And they’d still have to know you before they’ll feel comfortable recommending you.

Oprah Winfrey said on her TV show in 2009 that we in America don’t think in terms of community. Rather, we’re a culture of millions of individuals going in separate directions. If we’d work together and be supportive of one another, she said, we’d accomplish more and improve our quality of life.

One reason corporations accomplish their objectives more easily than individuals do is because they make use of the combined energy of several or many individuals. Why can’t we do that in our communities, so that we can have much better communities?
The standard networking model involves a marketing or business approach.  The desire for profit and earning money has been the glue that motivates individuals and holds our economy together. If you studied economics, you’d recognize this as the “invisible hand” theory. Unfortunately, earning money is far from easy, yet there’s still a need for people to help each other.

Why not just attend business networking events?
At a business networking event, everyone is on his or her own. If you don’t find someone to do business with, you go home empty-handed. With community networking, on the other hand, you’ll meet more people, not just business people but also people who know business people and can provide a referral. Thus there’s a greater possibility of making a worthwhile contact. Your geographical range is expanded as well.

You can also learn valuable skills or improve upon your skills more easily with community networking. Members are more likely going to share their knowledge with others at no charge, because they know they’ll be getting something valuable in return: training in skills they don’t possess, and or valuable contacts.
Due to the large number of people unemployed or underemployed in our society, there’s a need for a network that’ll help these people cope with their discouraging situations. Members of a community network can share their experiences with each other, offer advice, refer business or employment or even form an enterprise together. In this way a community network is similar to organizations like AA and Al-Anon.

All this makes for a cohesive networking organization, one that contributes to the well-being and growth of all members. The community networking model is built upon a simple but strong foundation: In Unity there is Strength.

This doesn't mean, however, that the goals of community networking and business networking are mutually exclusive. You may find it advantageous to attend meetings of both kinds of networking.
If neighborhood networking is too limiting, try a different approach

Many people would take issue with the suggestion that you can meet more worthwhile business contacts by networking with your neighbors than at a business networking event. I'd be the last to dispute that since when I lived in Northern Arizona, I was in a semi-rural town within a retirement area with little hope of meeting prospective clients or employers in that area. However, since I moved to the San Francisco Bay area recently, I've seen that there are many more opportunities for productive networking since the economy here is more robust and the business environment more dynamic. Moving to another geographic location is therefore a solution for those who thrive on face-to-face contact as a means of advancing their careers.
By extension, visiting a certain website that's compatible with your interests and participating in activities announced on the site, or communicating with the group’s or organization’s members can offer worthwhile networking opportunities that your neighborhood may not offer.

Some examples of Community Networking
Here are some examples of how community networking can help you.
·         Easily exchange pet sitting or pet care services
·         You may be offered a speaking engagement
·         You can trust whom you’re doing business or associating with
·         Barter your product or services
·         Have a free place to stay when you travel
·         Less competitive, more cooperative networking
·         It offers a support network for those who are unemployed or who are having difficulty coping with their job or career situation.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

In the mad dash for profits, many people have lost their humanity

This is a review of our experience at the Arena.

My wife Susan and I attended an André Rieu concert on Tuesday, June 23, 2009 at the Jobing .com arena in Glendale, AZ.

The concert was well attended. André Rieu and his orchestra performed magnificently. We enjoyed the performance very much.

However, the arena's concession charged outrageous prices, including $5.00 for a 20-ounce bottle of water! Neither Susan nor I had any desire to pay that much for a little bottle of water. Therefore, I told her that I'd leave the arena to purchase bottled water from one of the nearby restaurants. Great was my surprise when I saw a sign above each door to the arena that said, "Re-entry not permitted".

That left us with a grim choice: a) we could purchase water from the concession, b) we could be thirsty throughout the performance, c) we could drink from a water fountain in the arena. Susan drank from it and said the water tasted horribly, or d) we could leave, and forfeit our right to see the concert, that we paid nearly $300 to see. I had left my water bottle in the car, thinking I could return for it. We had brought no other refreshment with us.

I asked to speak with a manager about the no re-entry policy. Mr. Jim Foss, the Building Manager, explained to me the reasons for the Arena's policy:

1) To minimize or eliminate the arena's legal liability in the event a ticketholder leaves the arena and gets drunk or causes damage,

2) To prevent ticketholders from giving or selling tickets to people outside the Arena, that they purchased for their guests in attendance, and

3) To recoup the Arena's considerable operating costs, since the ticket revenue they receive is inadequate to cover such costs.

Furthermore, the Arena doesn't permit ticketholders to bring their own refreshments into the Arena. According to Mr. Foss, his company's policy is standard in the Arena industry. In response to my suggestion that ticketholders be required to show ID upon re-entering the arena, Mr. Foss said it'd be too burdensome for both the Arena and the patrons. Yet all guests, according to the Arena's website, "will go through magnetometer screenings and handbag inspections prior to entry".

I told Mr. Foss, emphatically, that it's unfair to penalize customers by forcing them to pay exorbitant prices for drinking water, which is necessary for life. He responded with cold indifference.  Since by then my throat was parched and I desperately needed a drink, I purchased a water bottle from the concession for $5.00.

After purchasing the water bottle, I related the incident to a few other customers. They didn't seem particularly concerned about it. A couple of women told me that they smuggled in water bottles in their handbags. One couple we met, just before the concert, did tell us that they were unhappy about having to pay the high concession prices. Yet, they said, it's that way whenever you go to a theatre, concert hall or stadium to see a performance or sporting event. You always have to pay top dollar for refreshments.

What has become of us? Why do we permit this kind of systematic insensitivity and abuse to continue? Why are we so apathetic? Is it because we're too preoccupied with survival to care about how badly others are treating us? Is it because we're numb to the abuse by now? Is it because we've been beaten down by a system in which only the financially successful can live comfortably and are treated with respect? Or is it because we're so hungry for entertainment that we'll forsake our own comfort to attend a performance?

Ask yourselves this question, please: Could we have had a President like George W. Bush, and a Vice President like Dick Cheney, if we weren't as blasé as we are as a culture?

The Jobing .com arena's policy is especially inappropriate considering the severe recession we're in; many people are suffering economically.

This is what Jobing .com Arena said on its website, under the category of "Guest Services", at the time we attended the concert:

"At Jobing .com Arena, it's our goal to create that first-time magic for everyone who comes into the building, time and time again. We strive to provide each and every guest with a memorable experience by greeting people with a smile, offering assistance and delivering exceptional customer service to make every guest feel like a VIP! Our friendly Guest Services Representatives can help you find your seats, answer questions and address any challenges that may come up during your visit to Jobing .com Arena. "  

The arena's ushers were friendly towards us, and did help us to find our seats. Unfortunately, the incident with the $5.00 water bottle and the Arena's misguided policy that prohibits people from leaving the arena, left a sour taste in my mouth for the Arena.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Free Foreclosure

Foreclosure Victims

Friday, 21 October 2011

It's not what you know, or how well you do it, but who you know that counts in the Verde Valley, AZ

The other day my wife Susan and I asked a local plumber to come to our house and advise us concerning the maintenance of our water conditioner. His name is Charlie. Susan found his name and phone number in the Yellow Pages. She spoke with him by phone and he sounded friendly.

Charlie was very conscientious and sincere. He also knew what he was doing as a plumber. He called a couple of times before coming over, to let us know he was on his way. His price for the visit was quite reasonable. And he gave us excellent advice. 

We were left with the impression that we could do the job of cleaning the water conditioner unit ourselves at minimal cost. Charlie would be available by phone, at no charge, if we needed additional help with the procedure. He would come to our house to assist for a reasonable charge. He answered other questions we had of a plumbing nature. Overall we were very pleased with the service he provided.

When our business with Charlie was concluded, we spoke with him about our previous residency in Southern California. He was from Northern California. Then we spoke about how difficult it is to find work in Northern Arizona, which is where we live. He agreed and told us that it took twelve years for him to find local customers. Before that he was just a laborer working for someone else. I told Susan, “I guess that means we’ll only have to wait 8 ½ years before I get local accounting business”. We’ve been living in Rimrock for 3 ½ years. 

I told Charlie that trying to find work around here is like trying to find work in a desert. He replied that most people he’s known here hire people that they already know or trust. It’s taken twelve years for people in the area to get to know him and recommend him to others. He’s the same way, as it turns out. He said he’d only hire someone that he knows, and that we should leave it at that. 

Based on my own experience, I have to agree with Charlie about the tendency of area residents to hire or recommend professionals based on how well they know the professional. Whether someone trusts you or not has just about everything to do with them hiring you. It doesn’t matter to most people here how good I am at accounting. Many individuals and businesses won’t hire me because they don’t know me. They don’t like to hire strangers to do their accounting work. Being known, as opposed to not being known, can make the difference between being paid $75 per hour and being paid $12 per hour for doing the same work. 

It was pretty much that way even when I worked in more cosmopolitan environments like Long Island, New York City and Southern California. In those places, however, professionals were treated as being less expendable than in Northern Arizona. In New York City you could make a decent living as an accountant working for someone else. In Northern Arizona, you can’t.

I didn’t tell Charlie that the reason we hired him was that we found his listing in the Yellow Pages and liked how he sounded on the phone. We didn’t know him at all before we called him to come to our house. I didn’t think he was ready to hear that. 

The basic flaw in that way of thinking, i.e. only hiring someone you know, I decided, is that it limits your hiring options. You may refuse to hire, or overlook hiring, someone who’s very well qualified to do the work you need done, just because you don’t know them. With all the information that’s available about professionals and people seeking work, including on their website or résumé, it appears to be an act of negligence to leave any stone unturned if you want the best job done.

It’s sensible to hire someone you know or trust. However, the person you know or trust should be hired only after all eligible candidates for the job have been considered or interviewed. It seems to me that a candidate should be given the opportunity to earn your trust.

But then, perhaps people in Northern Arizona don’t care if the work that’s performed for them isn’t of the highest quality. They’re more concerned about knowing or trusting the person they hire. That may be one reason that the economy here is stagnant. Hiring people on a political basis, rather than on the basis of merit, can lead to a less productive workforce. Consequently, the value of professionals in the eyes of prospective clients and employers is diminished. When this is combined with the economic hardship faced by so many people, it becomes easier for those in a position to hire someone to justify paying them less. That leads to less money being recirculated in the local economy.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Next Economic Solidarity Workshop meeting Saturday October 29

Our Government has bailed out the banks and Wall Street at our expense.

Yet for 99% of Americans, the Government has done little or nothing. We’re struggling to pay our bills and many people have lost their homes to foreclosure.

If you’re as angry about this as my wife and I are, show the banks and our Government that you won’t tolerate it! I invite you to come to our next Economic Solidarity Workshop meeting.

The Wall Street protests are a good start in the right direction, but more assertive action needs to be taken against a system that’s rife with corruption, greed and unfairness. A well thought-out plan for lasting reform is needed. 99% of Americans should prosper, not just 1%! This will be the focus of our next meeting.

When times are tough, we need to stick together.

The next meeting of the Economic Solidarity Workshop will take place on Saturday, October 29 from 10 am to 12 pm at the Beaver Creek Adult Center, 4250 East Zuni Way, Lake Montezuma, AZ. Admission is $1. For more information call Gary at (928) 592-0190. E-mail address:


Mahatma Gandhi, a pioneer of civil disobedience

My U of Va blog posting in response to "Guns don't cause crime, criminals do"

On July 20, 2011, a Mr. Cox posted this comment on the University of Virginia Magazine blog, concerning a Virginia law that prevents the U of Va from disallowing the use of concealed weapons on campus:

 "Ms. Allman, Mr. Rock & Mr. Lucas, you forget it is not guns that cause crime, but rather criminals. Obtaining a concealed carry permit with a criminal history is nearly impossible. If you do not understand the correlation between firearms restrictions and violent crime, it is your own common sense that is lacking. Feel free to contact me for statistics."

Here’s my reply to Mr. Cox’s posting, dated October 12, 2011:

Whether guns cause crime or not, what matters is the fact that guns are used to commit violent crimes. A murder committed with a gun cannot occur if there's no gun. If a knife, rope or hammer is used instead, there will still be a murder. But it won't happen as easily.

Violence begets violence. I believe that non-violent persuasion is a far more effective means of settling disputes than by the use of force. To that end, I'm in favor of educating schoolchildren about the value of seeking peaceful means of settling disputes, rather than by using knives or guns. Mahatma Gandhi proved that in India.

Many people carry handguns in their homes for protection against violent criminals and maniacs. If they want to keep a gun around for protection, they should be allowed to. However, they should be properly trained in how to use it, and make sure that no untrained or unregistered family member has access to it.

A college campus is no place for guns. A law that permits people to carry them around on college campuses makes it more likely that murders will continue to take place on them. Prohibiting gun use on campuses will give the students more peace of mind. They need to concentrate on their studies. They don't need to be fearful for their safety. An armed security guard should be sufficient to prevent most unauthorized entry. Beyond that, if a student feels the need to have a gun for self-protection, they may be allowed to, but their use should be strictly regulated.

The blog postings were in response to an article titled
July 19, 2011

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

My conclusions in regards to the Sedona Wall Street protest October 13

The protest that I took part in Thursday, October 13 had, I'm sure, a positive impact. Still, what's needed is more assertive, even disruptive action. Even if those in power pay attention to the protests, they still don't have enough of an incentive to act in our best interests. The protesters represent no real threat to them. If we're going to organize protests, we should organize them in front of or around banks, radio stations and gas stations. We should make it difficult for people to simply go about their business without being aware of our presence. We should even stage an occupation in Sedona like the one organized by Occupy Wall Street in NY. Think of how much more attention we'd get just by calling our local effort "Occupy Sedona". And we should alert the media before any protest or occupation is to take place.

The non-violent protests, or satyagraha, organized by Mahatma Gandhi were designed to evoke sympathy for the Indian protesters and their cause against the British occupiers. The method made use of non-cooperation or civil disobedience. No one yet has proved to me why this method won't work in this country against the plutocrats and greed-mongers. 

I've met individuals who insist on arming themselves against a repressive government and roving criminals, ecologists and advocates of sustainability who strive to take peaceful actions and educate others. I've met diehard capitalists, wealth seekers and spiritual individuals wishing to solve political problems through meditation. And I've met people who are simply concerned for their survival. Each group believes its way is the best way to protect our rights, our freedoms and way of life, and bring about more fairness if not accountability. Yet with all groups going in different directions, we still don't have unity as a people. We may as well be a rabble. If only we'd seek to unite and practice solidarity, we see that an approach like satyagraha could work very well as a unifying and effective force in obtaining the desired reforms. 

In my last post I mentioned that I encountered a certain timidity among the protesters. This is more or less to be expected, since Americans aren't used to taking collective political action in public. 

The timidity I encountered may also help to explain why Americans are reluctant to practice satyagraha as a political approach.  Americans have been used to being obedient towards those in authority: most Americans I know haven't wanted to confront strangers or upset those who are subjugating them. This includes everyone from postal clerks to bank tellers. In a country where so many people are financially insecure, a desire to please is very much the standard mode of behavior. This insecurity may be a cause of political correctness. And political correctness is a mild symptom of the so-called "dumbing down" of Americans. Civil disobedience requires an attitude of non-cooperation towards one's oppressors. It's an act of substantial courage. It's very much in conflict with the obedience practiced by most Americans.