Uncivil Discourse

I have always intentionally avoided politics on this blog simply because I trust each person to follow their own heart and conscience.  There are some who would consider me somewhat naive.  Be that as it may, I find I must address the one issue I see to be common to all sides of the political landscape these days: Individualism.

Defined by Merriam-Webster, Individualism is a doctrine that the interests of the individual are or ought to be ethically paramount.  That seems innocuous enough but think about it a little more.  The experiences and opinions of the Individual are more important than the experiences and opinions of the Other. Therefore, the Other can never be respected, merely converted.

I wonder sometimes if you, like me, often find yourself pulled into debates that quickly degenerate into the drawing of party battle lines and the seemingly mandatory assignation of labels and wonder why it has to be this way.  Why does someone have to be right and someone has to be left?  Why does someone have to wrong in order for someone to right?  There never has been, nor will there ever be, any sort of attainable utopia brought about by any form of political, religious or social doctrine.  So why must there be so much acrimony?

I wonder sometimes, lately more than ever, what would become of us if we stopped worrying so much about the Individual and spent some time learning about the Other?  What would become of us if we put away the labels, erased the battle lines, threw out the stereotypes and actually had a conversation?  We might just find out that that Liberal Conservative Muslim Christian Jewish Humanist Gay Slacker CEO over there is decent human being full of ideas, thoughts, feelings and beliefs just like us.  Imagine if we worked together to solve our collective issues.

With that in mind, would it still be so hard to accept that the Other might be someone to respect and consider rather to conscript and convert? 

3 thoughts on “Uncivil Discourse

  1. Christine, that’s all and great, but that doesn’t leave for fundamentally factual decisions and ideas. In society there are often polarized ideas. In a family the mother/father are right in that they have made a decision for their children and the children must obey their decisions otherwise we fail to teach obedience and discipline and humility. People want respect nowadays but have no idea of how to give it. Schools have teachers that have to be right because they are teaching the class and not the other way around. In a religious atmosphere someone that has studied and lived their faith is more right than someone that may have an idea but wants to somehow adapt it to their own needs. In a mathematical computation an exact number is right because otherwise the exact derived result is not accurate for the necessary measurements. In a largely grey area nothing is being realized where no one is right or wrong and therefore a large mass of apathy, where no one really cares about anything else is created and therefore those are easily swayed to either side. The thing to do is not say “we should agree to disagree.” What should be said is “you are entitled to your opinion in this country for however long we are allowed the first amendment, and I can have mine.” That gives the other person the connotation that respect is given for the other’s opinion. That is after all what we are all after RESPECT. In a society with many ideas and many understandings, actions are performed differently and from different angles. What needs to be explained is the angle and the other person will understand and then explain their angle and the two walk away content having their ego stroked in turn.

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  2. One of my favorite quotes, seems somewhat appropraite:

    “This is the beginning—from “I” to “we”. If you who own the things people must have could understand this, you might preserve yourself. If you could separate causes from results, if you could know that Paine, Marx, Jefferson, Lenin were results, not causes, you might survive. But that you cannot know. For the quality of owning freezes you forever into “I”, and cuts you off forever from the “we”. ”

    But I’m not a communist, I swear

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  3. Pingback: Just Go | My Morning Coffee With My God

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