Friday, March 30, 2007

Let's take hate out of the debate

Pete Abel at TMV takes on a topic that's been much on mind these last few weeks, that being the incivility of discourse in our political discussions. He asks a good question and comes up with the correct answers.
... Why do benevolent conservatives (and yes, they do exist) tolerate the prominent, malicious voices that have become the spokespeople and hence caricature of the movement?

At least half the answer has something to do with the day President Johnson signed into law a landmark bill that irrevocably boosted civil rights in this country and prompted a mass exodus of hatemongers from the D’s to the R’s.
And from the continued post at his own blog he offers a couple of good solutions.
(1) Conservatives must make it very clear that the haters should find another home; they are no more welcome among the elephants than among the donkeys. If you hate, or speak hatefully or without compassion, you are not a conservative.

(2) Conservatives must systematically embrace and acknowledge the reality that part of good fortune is indeed fortunate (i.e., outside our control) and that without such fortune, we would be neighbors to those we've unfairly, silently, if not unconsciously labeled less deserving and less human.
It's as I said the other day. What's sorely lacking in the debate is empathy. It's the inability to back away from the argument at hand to make any attempt to see the other guy's point of view and understand why he might hold it. I think a lot of that stems from our insistence on seeking comfort in aligning with like voices and insisting on labels.

If we started to frame the debate, not as Democrats or Republicans or libertarians (small and big L), but as fellow Americans with a common goal towards the common good, we would come up with a lot more solutions to solve the problems, rather than endless talking points that might win debates but provide no real answers.


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