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Civil Conversations Project

You are not the only one who wishes that we could just be decent and human to each other, even when we disagree. This is an idea that I hold deeply, a value that I work toward. It does not matter if we don't see eye to eye, what matters is that we are human with common needs and feelings. What matters is that if we are willing to treat each other with respect, we can reach compromises and understandings that serve us all better than perpetual shouting matches and hateful standoffs.

I just heard someone speak on this subject on NPR, and found this link to several other speakers. This is good stuff: http://www.onbeing.org/project/civil-conversations-project/1960

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
ford_prefect42
Aug. 19th, 2013 04:27 am (UTC)
Honestly, I can totally understand why the discourse has gotten so vicious. Thing is, the things we term "politics" are things that are really very much fundamental to each person's image of themselves, justice, human rights, etcetera. They're not easy things to set aside and see simple "disagreement".

Let's hind-cast 150 years or so. How easy do you imagine it was for the abolitionists to see pro slavery advocates as "decent and human"? That was the debate at that time, and it was in roughly the same place as "same-sex marriage" is today. with enough people won over to the "new way" to swing several states, but enough hold-outs to keep it from being universally adopted.

What makes things so much more nasty these days is the sheer *number* of issues that have risen to that level, and the bifurcation of the issues. It's all too easy to see someone opposed to (say) SSM, and to assume that they are creationist, AGW denying, anti-abortion, pro-war, anti-welfare type. All that *may* be true, or it may not. They *may* have reasonable arguments, or they may not. But how many times does a person need to have the conversation before they can expect a similar result?
liveonearth
Aug. 19th, 2013 03:31 pm (UTC)
One of the points of the civil conversations project is that rather than focusing on these areas of strife, we get to know each other as people. This entails having everyday conversations about small stuff like the weather, breakfast, football, whatever. When you can have a civil relationship with someone on the other side of one of these issue bifurcations, it reduces the distrust and increases the odds that both sides will be heard and understood whenever a real issue comes up. It is incumbent upon all of us not to assume things about people, and to allow people the complexity of their values. Nobody is exactly the caricature that is promoted by the opponents.
b_vainamoinen
Aug. 21st, 2013 11:38 am (UTC)
That's awesome! I'm doing a "debate" component in the class I'm teaching this fall. I think I'll use some of this to frame the debate segment of the class.
liveonearth
Aug. 21st, 2013 03:49 pm (UTC)
That will be interesting. There's a big difference between debating and relationship building. Hopefully you can bridge that gap too!
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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