TSA#47 – Talk about the issues

Oct 9, 2012 by

Great Minds Discuss Ideas; Average Minds Discuss Events; Small Minds Discuss People
-Eleanor Roosevelt

I hate that we can’t discuss important issues in fear of offending someone.  I hate that we can no longer bring ideas and information together and have an honest debate about them without offending or alienating someone or everyone.  I think we are too easily offended and are too scared to try to have a civil discourse anymore, and we are worse off for it.

When did we stop being emotionally intelligent enough to listen to a friend or relative with a different point of view without dismissing them or writing them off altogether?  Why can’t we be friends who believes or votes for someone different than you?

My cousins and I have been going back and forth on Facebook on some political issues lately and I think it has been fun.  I disagree with their positions (and sometimes facts) most of the time, but I don’t love them any less.  I respect their right to believe what they want, but try to offer up my beliefs, backed with information and research, to explain why I believe what I believe if it is different than theirs.  It is just that simple.

Now the key is not to be offended by what they say, or believe or call them stupid.  This is where most of any political discourse breaks down online.

Stop being offended all the time

First off, since when did it become a crime for us to be offended?  I’m not saying go out of your way to piss off your friends, but it seems we can no longer express our opinions for fear off offending someone.  This isn’t about offending someone else, its about YOU getting so offended by others.  When did we start taking everything as a personal attack of everything we hold dear instead of looking at their ideas as an opposing view that doesn’t threaten or undermine your own beliefs?  When did we become so thin skinned that we can no longer discuss politics or religion in an intelligent and civilized manner?  This has turned us into a society where we discuss the latest happenings on Jersey Shore or Real Housewives of wherever instead of discussing the real issues or new ideas of the day that actually have an effect on our lives.  This frustrates me to to end.  Don’t take every view that is opposite or even slightly different than your own as a personal attack on you.  It is most often not about you.  Listen to the ideas and input of others.  Weigh them against the facts and research and if you disagree, then disagree with a coherent thought backed by reason and logic.

Disagreement does not equal stupidity

Just because someone disagrees with your point of view it doesn’t mean they are stupid.  They very well in fact may be stupid, but just because they don’t agree with your ideology on any given topic doesn’t guarantee it, so stop assuming it.  Having different points of view is a good thing.  Having a healthy debate about issues and ideas is a wonderful thing.   Screaming talking points from each other’s far leaning “news” organizations is not helpful and only causes more division among us.

This brings us to the problem of discussing politics today.  I am trying to have open and intelligent discussions with friends and family regarding politics, but when you cannot come to an agreement on a baseline of “facts” then it is very hard to move forward.  Each side has their spin on what those numbers really mean, or what that person really meant and the discussion can quickly break down.  Now I don’t have an answer of fix for this.  I am deeply disappointed in our “news media” for being unable to deliver us an unbiased news report of what the numbers REALLY are or what REALLY happened on any given topic.  I believe we now have to look at each source of information and factor in their political agenda and financial agenda with the information to get a clear picture and I don’t think many people do this today.

I hope we can bring back civility and have real discussions about real ideas and real issues that can and will have an impact on our lives.  I’m not sure exactly how we get there, but I think if we can not take every dissenting opinion as an attack and openly and honestly try to listen to one another while bringing researched information to the table, we’d be much better off.

Perhaps it’s the idealist in me, but I would like to be able to talk about the ideas and  issues once again and I hope you will join me in this effort.

Ben…

TSA = Truly Simple Actions The goal of the TSA project is to improve your life and help make this world a better place, one simple action at a time.  Take time this week to do this one simple thing. Previous TSA’s:

 
 
 

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  • http://twitter.com/PaulCaridad Paul Caridad

    Love this! Thanks for posting this Ben! :)