I’m not sure how it happen and why it happened, but it did happen.
What happened you ask? In my opinion it’s very simple … at some point in the past 236 years, we – the citizens of this great nation – forgot how to engage in civil conversations when it comes to the “hot button” issues of our time. I’ve been in the USA for 13 years and the toxicity in the tone and tenor of our national conversation has increased exponentially.
Whether it’s a conversation on politics; the economy; or, as is the case more recently, on the subject of gun control, we can’t even find a way to have a discussion. When did it become okay to end or simply refuse to have a conversation with someone if we realize they have a different opinion then we do.
Don’t get me wrong, I believe in the First Amendment and the rights it grants each and everyone one of us. And that is the point, it affords each of us the same rights — the right to have our own opinion and the right to freely express it. We’ve forgotten how to respectfully disagree with someone. We’ve forgotten how come together and discuss difficult topics.
Instead, we’ve become masters at labeling, criticizing and name calling. We’ve become experts at distilling an issue so that it aligns perfectly with what WE believe and nothing else. We’ve become experts at segregating ourselves from people (even family) when they don’t agree with OUR way of thinking.
Were did we go wrong? People much smarter than I will have to answer that question.
The thing is, you and I can reverse the trend starting today. Together, we can make a commitment to be open to the possibilities that can come out of a conversation with someone who thinks differently than we do. It won’t be an easy task, but I am confident we can do it.
Let us — you and I — make this commitment; together, starting today: No matter the issue, no matter how great the divide might be, we will “check our ego at the door” and welcome the opportunity to engage in that difficult conversation because at the end of the day, we know one thing for sure:
Through conversation … relationships are formed;
Through conversation … knowledge is shared; and,
Through conversation … life happens and finds meaning.
Be well and make it a great day!