From Ted Quotes:
“Don’t persuade, defend or interrupt. Be curious, be conversational, be real. And listen.”
There’s a real threat today. No, it’s not out of control spending. No, it’s not religious zealotry. These are symptoms of a larger ailment.
It’s that our conversations about the issues about which we disagree are broken.
Elizabeth Lesser, co-founder of Omega Institute, author of Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow, and The Seeker’s Guide: Making Your Life a Spiritual Adventure, tells the story quite well:
To me, especially poignant are her uses of popular headlines:
“Liberalism Is a Mental Disorder,” “Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot,” “Pinheads and Patriots,” “Arguing With Idiots.”
And her comparison to a less popular headline:
“Four-and-a-Half-Years of Struggle Against Lies, Stupidity and Cowardice.” (Adolph Hitler)
At the risk of “otherizing” her, based on her self-description as an activist for the left, I would guess that Elizabeth Lesser and I would disagree on the best approach to a variety issues that we face today.
Clearly, we need to do lunch.
And unfortunately, it seems to me that recently the trend toward “otherizing” is making its way from the fringes, to the middle.
Regular, smart, educated, hard-working, and generally “good” people are starting to buy-in to this process of demonizing their unlike-minded counterparts.
Maybe it’s marketing. Maybe it’s the media. Maybe it’s the filter bubble:
Whatever it is, it needs to stop. We all need to take more accountability for how we frame the issues, make our cases, and have our discussions.