Day 112 – On discourse, part 3

You may want to read parts one and two of this discussion before hitting today’s. Up to you.


I agree, and I also want to remind folks that the party controlling the White House ends up getting that spotlight. Republicans at the end of Bush’s term looked just as out of touch and lost as a lot of Democrats do now in the afterglow of Obama’s administration.

There’s something to be said for making an effort here, I think. Decency stands out, which is a fairly unfortunate thing to say. The problem though, and please afford me the chance to appear arrogant here, is talking to folks who see politics as sport or their leaders as deities comes off as inherently unintelligent to me. It’s ridiculous.

And along the way, I find myself guilty of the very thing we both have come out against. Of course, it’s also just as ridiculous to taunt third-party voters about “wasting their vote.” I suppose my primary concern now is how deeply rooted this emotion is, this need to resort to taunts.

We should also realize that none of us can corner the market on intelligent thought. All of us are ridiculous.

I have news for you. Go ahead, take a seat. Grab a breath.

You ready?

All of us are “deplorable” and all of us are “snowflakes.” We all have pet concerns where bias floods our reason. There isn’t a person alive who doesn’t have some flaw to battle against.

The pejoratives only divide us further. And so, we must actually try and understand why people feel the way they do. Guess what? It might be illogical. It might not always make sense. But that’s humanity — we don’t always make sense. And yet, we’re in this together.

Kirsten, how can we do this?


What I personally am doing to try to understand is to seek out stories that showcase different and diverse perspectives. NPR does a great job with this, as its reporters spend a lot of time in small towns across the country talking to everyday people. Many times I come away from those stories able to understand how and why those people formed the opinions they have.

The media has gotten a lot of flak since the election because of biased and blindsided reporting. Some of the criticism is fair, while other criticism — such as deeming truthful articles “fake” — is nonsensical and dangerous. I think many people are now at a loss for where to get their news, and that scares me, because there are a ton of news outlets doing really good work.
But since we are having a hard time talking to each other face to face, a good place to start understanding is by reading or listening to stories. I can’t recommend NPR enough. WILL is my local NPR station, and I listen to it in the morning while I’m getting ready for work, during my commute, at work, and I download NPR podcasts. I subscribe to Time magazine and The New Yorker, and I have digital access to The New York Times. That’s a lot of content, but I know I could still do better because there are so many perspectives out there.
But seeking out a range of content gets us out of our heads. Like you said, Adam, it makes us realize that we are not the only ones with intelligent thoughts. Heck, we may realize that some of our opinions weren’t intelligent at all. And that will be an enlightening moment.

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