Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Wondering Wednesday: How to Stop a Conversation

To my liberal, left-leaning friends, just some thoughts today...
I love having you as friends because you are thoughtful, compassionate, and care so deeply about issues. You are concerned with the disenfranchised, the weak, the minority, the ones without a voice. And you do it with a passion and strength that is inspiring.
Our country is so divided right now and I absolutely hate it. I hate how people scream past each other. I feel like neither side is listening to each other at all.
In the past few days I have seen several conservative friends try to start thoughtful and careful discussions about issues that concern them. They have done so without malice or cruelty. Almost every one of them has been shut down by the liberal accusation that their thoughts or concerns are motivated by ignorance, hatred, bigotry, or lack of grounding in science. This has been the de facto response by the left for a long time and it derails conversations and prevents real understanding or change to happen. It certainly destroys conversations in no time flat. I don't think that is your intent, and I bet most of you don't even realize you are doing it, but it happens constantly-and it is totally counter-productive and helpful.
We absolutely need to have balanced, thoughtful discussions where opposing viewpoints are presented. But both sides need to listen/read to understand, instead of jumping to an assumption. That means we have to ask clarifying questions of one another, and also be compassionate and thoughtful to one another.
(And I know I'm guilty of doing this very thing. I am really going to work on this.)
So what I am asking my liberal friends to do today is to stop and read to understand--don't jump to the assumption that something you disagree with is coming from a place of hatred, bigotry, or ignorance.


No comments: