TED Conversations

President, Poudre Education Association

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What do the following words or phrases mean to you: war on terror; democrat; republican; God bless America; God; and freedom?

I asked this question (including some other words and phrases) of about 40 people of various ages and religious backgrounds and had some of the most interesting discussions. I have made the conversations into a book that I call "Definitions."

I asked people, as I am asking you, to think about what these words and phrases meant to them. I believe that, though we hear phrases and words like these often, we do not think about what they mean. I hold that one of the most dangerous thing that could happen to our country would be for people to blindly, and without thinking, follow our leaders who use words and phrases like these to influence people.

The purpose of writing my book and asking this on Ted.com, is to start conversation. Let's start, or continue, thinking about what our leaders are saying and share these thoughts with those around us. And know that the words in my question are incomplete.

Think on!!!


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    Oct 18 2011: War on Terror: Delusional, Oxymoronic. Terror is an innate emotional response. As well declare war on Happiness, Sadness, Boredom, Joy, etc. Also, the use of Terror to fight Terror seems a tad deranged.

    Democrat: A seemingly more socially inclusive political party based on allegedly humanist principles.

    Republican: A seemingly socially exclusionary party based on allegedly Christian principles.

    God Bless America: An entertaining conceit. Assumes that God has any interest whatsoever in national politics. Allows them to feel justified in their excesses.

    God: The cumulative awareness of all that is.

    Freedom: Being able to ask and answer such questions without fear of reprisal. The ability to go where I want, with whomever I want, and do what I want when I get there assuming to harm to others along the way.

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