Tuesday, November 5, 2013

It's Time to Grow Up

It seems like debate these days has been reduced to witty one-liners.  A shared meme had taken the place of thoughtful comments.  Never mind if it’s true.  Debate comes in the form of 140 characters or less.  Less thought, less respect, less truth.

Bring up any hot button topic and you can be assured that it can be reduced to point of absurdity.  Pro-choicers are for baby killing.  Pro-lifers only want to take away rights of women.  Pro-gunners are right-wing nut jobs.  Gun control proponents want to take everyone’s guns away.

It’s time we all cut the crap.

As children, we see the world in black and white, in good and evil.  Then we grow up and we realize that the world is more complex than that.  We realize that people don’t fit into our neat boxes.   I am not denying that there are people in the extremes.  I am saying that doesn’t describe most people.   I am pro-choice.  I respect my friends that disagree with me enough to admit they are not motivated by a desire to simply take away rights of women.  What we have is a fundamental disagreement about the definition of life.  I expect this same kind of respect in return to not reduce my views to some over-simplified motive.

That doesn’t mean we can’t disagree.  It doesn’t mean that we can’t disagree passionately.  It does mean that in order to have a true debate, a debate that can go somewhere, that can end in compromise, it must start on a foundation of truth.  It means that we have to be willing to listen, to think, and to discuss.  It is what must be done if we ever want change.

If we can't at the very least be honest about each other's motives, we will never be able to have productive conversation.  You can't compromise with someone you don't trust and without compromise we're all stuck.

We have to stop being afraid to challenge our preconceived ideas.  If you challenge your ideas every now and again, you will either find yourself stronger in your convictions or you change them based on facts.  Neither is a bad thing.  It is what rational people do.

We have mistaken passion for the person that can yell the loudest.  We have mistaken passion for the person who can rile the most feathers.  Strength and conviction has become synonymous with winning at all costs and refusing to listen. That is how we dealt with conflict as children.  Well, it’s time to grow up.

It is time that the adults in the room take back the debate.


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