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Each of Us Is Responsible for Our Democracy

“How could this have happened?”

“Who is responsible?”

“Where was the security force?”

“How do we gird for further onslaughts?”

The events of January 6th in our nation’s capital will elicit these and a host of other critical questions to be debated, investigated, and addressed (likely in that order) in the weeks ahead. Answers will be discussed and likely disputed as opinions supersede facts and beliefs shade investigations. Hopefully, at the least, we all agree that what occurred should never have occurred.

Staying somewhat apolitical, we must confront the functional realities in our nation today. Systems in place to elect our government are occasionally challenged, but have always prevailed. This is not an essay to dispute the legitimacy of the November election as our trusted court systems have made that determination. My concern is much deeper.

How many of us are really listening to what the “other side” has to say? Even when we think we are listening, are we hearing the other person or are we simply awaiting an opportunity to interject our viewpoint? Are we seeking information or affirmation? Is it our imperative to sway the other person (aka the opposition) to our thinking?

New Yorkers have lived in disharmony as they argue about the Mets and the Yankees, but their discord isn’t translating into hostility. The banter is part of fandom. Why can’t Democrats and Republicans find that peaceful equilibrium we see in baseball?

Have you listened to someone with a different political point of view lately? I mean, truly listened? If not, today is a good day to start. The objective is not to convince the other person that you are right, but to know how they reached the belief they hold. You don’t have to change where you are on the issue, but you have to be respectful of their opinion, and not be focused on convincing them you are right.

Disagreement doesn’t have to translate into dispute. Conflict should be a process rather than a product. And nothing positive, absolutely nothing, comes from any violent act.

Fri, 01/08/2021 - 9:16am