Thursday, September 15, 2011

It Is Possible To Discuss Anything Civilly

     Despite the goings-on in Washington, it is possible for people to disagree substantially on a given subject, and still discuss it openly and civilly. I know our fractured society indicates otherwise, but I attended two events yesterday which supported my contention.
    Event one was lunch with a small group of men, seven to be exact, with whom I worked many years ago. Most of them lean toward the conservative side, although I do not think any of them would consider himself to be a “tea party” member, although one of them did state that Obama is the worst president that has served during his lifetime of, here I am guessing, 85+ years. Disappointed as I am with Obama, I am not ready to go quite that far, although I was unable to muster any argument which I thought would change his mind.
     But I did mention that I thought Senator Mitch McConnell's statement, “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president,” was the worst statement I have ever heard from any politician.
     Even the most conservative members of the group agreed that the most important achievement for any politician should be doing what is right for the nation – not instigating a vendetta.
     The subject of the race for the Republican Presidential nomination came up, and although there were huge disagreements on the qualifications of Perry, Romney, Bachmann, Gingrich, et al, no one got upset, and no one's mind was changed.
     We all parted as friends, and agreed to meet again in two months.
     Later in the day I attended a community forum on the subject, “Is America An Exceptional Nation?” The group of approximately 35 ranged from pastors to agnostics, from far right Republicans to far left Democrats, from farmers to engineers, and from high school dropouts to college graduates - as to be expected, the opinions ranged from one end of the spectrum to the other. And again I doubt that any minds were changed, although I can't be sure.
     The point is that good people can discuss controversial subjects without rancor or bitterness. All it takes is for everyone to realize that the other guy has come through a different set of experiences, which results in a different worldview.
     As Grey Owl is reported to have said, "Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in his moccasins.”
     Smart man, that Grey Owl. I wonder if he could be talked into running for Congress.
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     My books, “There Are Only Seven Jokes” and “The Spirit Runs Through It” are available in paperback, or at the Kindle Store.

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