Have you noticed how some people can’t even post an opinion on Facebook without calling names? How we’ve stopped listening to the other viewpoint, let alone the story behind it?
Forget the terrorists for a minute. I’m talking about us.
I am afraid for us as a people because of how we talk to each other. I hear the opening credits of Hotel Rwanda — the radio murmuring how the Tutsis are cockroaches — and hear echoes of this in words like white privilege, Obummer, the 1 per cent, libs, racist, stupid, asinine.
For instance, people twist President Obama’s name to emphasize Hussein. Others call people racist for questioning his policies.
Since retiring, I’ve been open about my conservative leanings on Facebook. At times I have felt battered by my progressive friends, their tone, their words like a heel squashing a box elder bug. I am silenced and disengage.
I want to ask, why is it so important that you prove me wrong? Why can’t you entertain the other side? Can’t you see that you need my conservative views just as much as I need your liberal ones? My conservative friends don’t always listen either.
Maybe we should check our need to prove our point. Maybe we should replace our condescension with respect and what Parker Palmer calls “broken open hearts.” Maybe it’s time we practice what it means to be We the People.
Good manners might be a place to start.
If you’d like to hear me speak this, click here.