This comment was from Mark Greene on The New Bigotry
This issue of how to reduce the reactivity on our political discourse is central to my thinking of late.
Over the last ten years the internet has allowed for a style of contentious dialogue that has phased in from the impersonal towards the personal over time. We all experienced the Huffington Post style of debate whereby we argued venomously with strangers. I think these arguments did hone our understanding of the political spin we were confronting nationally, but it also allowed and even encouraged a disrespect for civilized discussion. Online debate became a blood sport and an act of venting over and over again.
THEN along came Facebook and friends we had not seen since Jr. High School, many of which now held views antithetical to our own. Suddenly, the venom we had learned to spew with strangers was flowing toward people whom we did know on some level and whose kids we could see in photos… Now the question began to arise, at least for me, of who benefits from all this venomous debate? Who is encouraging all these binary simplified black and white arguments? The Karl Roves and James Carvilles of the world. I sensed a divide and conquer component in all of this in which Americans were encouraged to hate Americans, as if we don’t all love our children and don’t all hope for a decent world for them to grow up in.
The long and short of it is, we need to learn to be in conversation without being so reactive and combative. If we can begin to listen to what is being said beyond the back and forth of the polar opposites, we can all find common ground and begin to find common agendas that our political leadership will have no choice but to act on.
Said another way. You want to scare the crap out of the politicians in Washington? Figure out what we all agree on instead of continuing to be led by the nose to hammer away at wedge issues.