I like drawing attention to our ways of creating dialogue, as it would benefit us all to have more of it and less hyperbole. Because there are millions of good minds thinking, surely there are millions of excellent and constructive ideas not shared or not furthered because of our current polarized, frenetic communication style in our media and elsewhere.
I'm suspicious and impatient, however, with doing much talking about talking. We need to just get started.
Some people rise to positions of leadership and their comportment guides us all. These folks, including all of us who speak and who listen, can serve to guide the kind of respectful communication that produces an ear for good ideas. Leadership need not be officially granted, it may be as small as one's own circle, and it's never cast in stone. We can decide who we listen to, and why. So we can both provide that leadership and support it by focusing on well spoken, reasoned, ideas conveyed with respect. And we can reduce reactive, hyperbolic, exclusionary, aggressive communication by identifying it openly and immediately turning attention away from it.
If those of us who are capable of deciding how we communicate are willing to do so, I think useful and constructive solutions to our problems will arise more naturally. And kids will naturally learn what is expected in public discourse. We don't always need programs or institutional movements to do this work for us. We can all participate, and frankly I believe we have to if we're going to turn the tide of our current mood of vitriol in our media.
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