AND Find a Way to Speak With Kindness

March 6th, 2016

I would be stating the obvious to declare that our political process is less than healthy. In the way we galvanize people, we have degraded civil conversation and healthy debate to ignite emotions that support divisiveness, rather than unity.

With a fervor characteristic of celebrity worshippers or sports fanatics, we stop listening to learn and appreciate the value a candidate might bring. Instead we do whatever is necessary to only hear what we want to hear and reward those who say what we want with votes.

Our social media connections allow for immediate amplification of messages and lemming-like responses that cause those who do not listen critically to join those whose friends they want to be in supporting something or someone they don’t understand. Are we supporting increased blindness and denial in order to be accepted by more influential peers?

It has been noted before that we have a Bill of Rights. Perhaps we need a Bill of Obligations to remind us of shared responsibilities for creating a healthy democracy, and a culture and society where divergent ideas are shared, not hammered at people. Instead, we seem to be focused on power lorded over others, anger, and victimhood or powerlessness.

All of these seem to be evident in a society that has forgotten that people are more than ideas. Do we know what healthy discourse even sounds like? Do we value it? Does how we treat each other matter? Does how our leaders speak about and treat each other and us matter? We will only know by the choices we make.

St. Augustine is credited with having said something like, In essentials there shall be unity; in non-essentials freedom; AND in all things charity.

We would do well to debate ideas, value people, and welcome new insights with kindness. It is within the realm of every living person regardless of background or identity. AND in a democracy, such as ours, it is both a right and obligation to remember that “we ARE the people” and how we treat each other matters.

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