The Root of the Problem
So many issues, so many problems face us as a culture here in the United States. Sometimes it all seems to be so overwhelming and impossible to overcome, and every day it seems like the dividing lines get sharper, thicker, and more difficult to cross
I recently saw an example of this from the University of Wisconsin, where a school’s political group sent out an email to request that their fellow students and faculty be open to a dialogue and discussion of a budget proposal by the governor of the state and how it would affect the state’s schools. The email specifically requests that before people take action, that they take the time to have the discussion first and that after that, people draw their own conclusions.
The message does not advocate strongly in one direction or the other, it simply states that there are cuts coming and that a discussion should take place to explore options.
Some of the responses are shocking. The name calling is the least of it.
I ask myself when we became this kind of culture. How is it we got so closed-off. I’m sure that there are many who will be happy to point fingers, and I have my own thoughts on who and why, but rather than spend time talking about that and trying to lay blame, where we have been spending time and not moving forward, I choose to move forward. I refuse to get caught up in the swamp we find ourselves mired in where no one is open to even having a dialogue.
I’m headed for the shore.
This is probably as close to the root of our problem as a culture that you can get. So many people’s minds are so closed off, so inflexible, even the DISCUSSION about a new issue is so closed. There is no opportunity to build a dialogue, actually get the facts and form new opinions. People have so cemented themselves to a structure of talking points and positions and they refuse to even participate in a dialogue about forming new policy going forward. They choose to wait to be told what they need to think.
They base their decision on who is calling for a dialogue. They assume that what is being said is nonsense because their opposition is saying it. I say it all the time- Wisdom can come from anywhere. You need to be open to the discussion. Don’t be afraid to change your mind or entertain new ideas.
This is not limited to one side, but it’s ironic that the reaction is so vociferous from people who preach ‘tolerance’ and being open to new ideas. But don’t use that as a justification for why you think that you might be ‘in the right’ with your point of view and therefore closed off to other ideas.
Aren’t we supposed to be better than this?
When we come across those who refuse to even have a dialogue, we need to move on to those who will. We need to overcome our tendency to get stuck in place, of grabbing the examples of the worst of us and painting our entire opposition with that dirty brush because we’re tired and we are too lazy or frustrated to move one.
I have a lot of friends on my social media friend’s lists that aren’t necessarily politically aligned with me, but we’ve laid down the rules. We talk. We comment on each other’s posts without name calling, even if we disagree. We talk it out and often, we find that we have more in common than we originally thought. We explore the facts and weed out the hyperbole. Sometimes we even change our stance a little bit. Sometimes the conversation ends and we still disagree, but we still respect each other, possibly even more because of how we stand by our respective values. We still consider each other friends. We still value each other.
Don’t waste your energy on those who are so closed off that they can’t engage in the arena of ideas. Don’t waste your time and energy pointing out their hypocrisy or their inconsistency. Move up. Move on. Pull yourself from the muck of the swamp.
Head for the shore.