One of the reasons I haven’t written much lately is that I’ve been worried about the caustic nature of our political discourse. It seems that we can no longer talk rationally about our disagreements. That worries me. Political discourse is supposed to be the means by which we resolve our differences—or, at least, reach a mutually “acceptable” compromise.
But it’s hard to overcome our differences when we start by throwing verbal acid in the face of anyone who disagrees with us.
Even though venom has replaced logic in our political arguments, we have not yet reached the depths of 1856, when Representative Preston Brooks caned Senator Charles Sumner almost to death in the US Senate. We may see that level of strife again if we cannot learn to talk out our differences again.
One thing you learn in this business is that approaching “negotiations” with a “my way or the highway” attitude seldom yields the desired results. Even though it does on occasion make the “winning” party feel superior, it cannot be sustainable.
I believe my hero Mark Twain once said, “Most people get their opinions on politics second hand with little thought from people who acquired them the same way.” That’s why I urge you to listen to someone who disagrees with you. Listening to and acknowledging when such a person has a point is not being “politically correct.” Being “politically correct” comes from listening only to those who already agree with you and ostracizing anyone who is not conservative or liberal enough for your ideology.