I want to tackle a perspective, which continues to surface in my conversations with people over the years. As I mentioned in my introduction, one of the goals of this blog is to generate thoughtful and respectful discourse – a concept I feel is sadly absent in our world today.
Admittedly, I have seen a variety of YouTube channels and written blogs whose creator’s do a tremendous job at providing a balanced perspective on a wide spectrum of issues. Unless these objective thinkers have a large viewership, the majority of the United States populace is more or less, a captive audience to speculative and sensationalized media. I like to call it the “fast food” approach to obtaining information about the world around us. Nobody wants to take the time out of their busy schedules to educate themselves on what is important to them, so they opt to be spoon fed intellectually deficient information by local and national media outlets.
Since I graduated from high school in 1985, I have noticed a shift in our approach to addressing social issues. Dare I say the more controversial an issue tends to be, the more uncivilized we become towards those who propose an opposing view. I will address the trigger response in another post.
If you are willing and have the fortitude to listen/watch their content long enough, take a moment to sample one of the more popular media programs such as Hannity, Fox News, or The O’Reilly Factor. Although the latter is off the air, the level of truculence and down right rudeness thrown at guest speakers who oppose their viewpoints is staggering. There is neither desire for nor any attempt made to utilize logic to reach an amicable resolution. The more we can raise our voices, cut people off and display over exaggerated passion, so much the better. After all, why should we demonstrate sensibility towards another person’s viewpoint, if the possibility of being incorrect paralyzes us so much we fail to see wisdom in its most basic form?
When I was taught the art of argumentation in my college English classes it was impressed upon me to demonstrate respect, whether I was writing a dissenting opinion or participating in a debate. If the opposition proved their point in a sound and constructive way, I was morally obligated to give credit where credit was due. This practice was reinforced when I went through the process to obtain my Competent Toastmaster certification. When I see how issues are discussed now, I simply shake my head and go about my business, secretly wondering if my expectations of those who are charged with providing us an unbiased opinion are too high.
Think about it for a moment. How many times have we heard the following prior to visiting family during the holidays or going out with certain groups of friends, “Let’s avoid talking about politics or religion”? Seriously? Politics and religion are the two topics, which divide and tear apart both families and nations. They and other equally important topics should be discussed so a greater understanding is garnered of the mind shaping those topics. In my case, I am vegan which adds another topic to the do not discuss list.
In reality, we should be able to talk about anything with anyone. Our impetus, our drive should be to clear the air and engage in respectful discourse. Is it a sign of weakness to demonstrate congeniality? Do we compromise our esoteric principles by shaking the hand of those who disagree with us and still consider them a friend? I think not but my opinion is made during an age where melodrama supplants common sense.
Feel free to post your questions, comments or concerns. I will respond, if need be, when I able.