Saturday, September 26, 2015

The danger of shouting down voices that don't agree with you

I have my opinions. You have yours. What makes us a society is both of us finding a common ground that allows for our disagreement. Forcing you to agree with me by attacking you makes no sense. That isn't how we can build a society. But we must focus on each other if we are going to build something together. For good or ill, we must do this. It isn't optional. We have to find common ground. The only other option is a continued polarization that will eventually lead to the violence that inevitably follows the disintegration of a society.

It is easy to proclaim what you believe. It is hard to listen to anyone else who doesn't immediately parrot what you say. It is harder still to listen to a voice that disagrees with you. Hardest is trying to find that common ground with someone whose beliefs are anathema to our own. This is what we *must* do if we are to build the society that was intended by our nation's founders. It is the only way a democratic society can actually exist. If we practice marginalization, polemics, fear-mongering, racism, xenophobia or any other of the classic hallmarks of an election year, eventually we will destroy all chances of a democratic society.

The scariest part of an election year for me is the further division of an already deeply divided populace.