Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Too Much Screaming at Each Other

Let me tell you about my neighbor over in Oakville, a decent man who is an ardent New Deal Democrat.

He and I have dinner frequently and we argue and argue and argue. I think he is wrong about many things, although I find more to unite us than separate us. I learn from him in these heated discussions and, perhaps, he takes something away from my remarks.

We keep having these dinners because, overall, we like each other.

And we continue to like each other -- despite stark differences in political viewpoints -- because I RESPECT him and believe his views come from a deeply felt series of beliefs that he has arrived at through his own honest internal struggle. He treats me the same way.

That means I never scream at him that his side "lies" or that he (or they) are "cowards" or a "murderers" or any one of the divisive invectives that the Left and Right hurl at each other.

I know he won't vote for me in 2008, but that's okay. By maintaining a civil dialogue, I learn from him and hold out hope that perhaps I can influence his way of thinking.

All that the vicious shrieking in today's political environment does is to harden hearts and attitudes for core believers and force the rest of Americans to turn away in disgust because it solves nothing.


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