Tolerance and Respect

Civil discourse seems to be a disappearing art form in American society.  Americans are experiencing deep division of respective political viewpoints.   We are experiencing this intensive division without being able to even start a meaningful dialogue.  Instead of accepting tolerance for others’ views as a modicum of respect, special interest groups, other activists and anarchists demand validation of their views and their views only. You cannot simply tolerate and respect their views but must now validate their views and agree with them.  If you do not, their next level is to label you with atrocious accusations or unwarranted name calling. By using these abhorrent tactics, opposing sides get nowhere regardless of who is doing it.

If you want to change someone’s mind you must be able to listen to learn yourself. Believe it or not, actual listening takes work and a degree of decorum. One must not assume ill intent from the outset. Get over that first judgement and remember that the person you are speaking with is a human being with a lifetime of experiences (or lack of experiences) that has shaped their thinking.  Sometimes your own implicit association will get in the way of a potential meaningful dialogue because you so defensive you forget that your main point was to present an idea. Not to start a personal argument.  Sometimes you have to withstand the first personal barrage of hateful rhetoric and remain as calm as you can be.  You will meet very few people who like to vehemently argue and fewer still who want to argue incessantly.  Many people do not understand that debate is not personal unless of course you or the other debater fall into that trap.  You will find that the majority of people in this country want to have a civil conversation with the other opposing side but without all of the drama we are seeing today.  

Ask questions of the other side because accusations lead nowhere and when you ask questions, people know they are being heard. Stay calm. Remove the ALL CAPS (proverbial shouting) from your social media postings; actually read what you are about to send and do not send in anger.  Pay special attention to mere finger pointing at the other side, and when in person, please dial down the volume and smile. A smile indicates that you are willing to listen.  Then, and only then, you can make your case.   It might be surprising to you to see progress with a little harmony, tolerance, and respect thrown into the mix.


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