Civil Discourse

Most of us could lead America into peace and prosperity if others would just cooperate.  Be reasonable.  Do it my way.

Since folks often fail to appreciate our wisdom, most of us adopt comic Jerry Stiller’s strategy for a harmonious marriage.  Anne Meara, Jerry’s wife, “is not hard to live with.  You just put up with her.”  Unreasonable and contrary as people sometimes seem, most times we “just put up with” them.

One alternative is Civil Discourse.  Cameral bodies maintain Civil Discourse under Parliamentary rules.  Courts of law ensure plaintiffs’, prosecutors’, and defendants’ arguments are heard without interruption.

American University’s School of Public Affairs says of Civil Discourse, “One of the most important educational, political, and social issues is how best to have a civil conversation in a democratic society.  Our past, present and future depend on this essential process: citizens gather, listen to each other, debate, make up their minds and determine a course of action.

“Polarization of opinions, coupled with the speed and access of the digital age have made it difficult to keep our conversations civil in America today.  From shouting matches, to opinionated blog posts, to rhetoric-filled debates, we are confronted everyday with uncivil conversation.”

For the Center to Radical Right, Civil Discourse is anathema.  Faced with a counter argument, they “win” by shouting-down, demeaning, and insulting others. If all else fails, they shut you off.  When I opined that Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling during the National Anthem may be seen not as disrespect, but respectful exercise of his right to free speech, Friend Ron un-Friended me.  Learning I don’t like Donald Trump and like Joe Biden, a cousin assured me that deceased relatives “were rolling in their graves.”  Haven’t heard much more from him.  When an adult daughter spoke up to express a Liberal opinion, her gun-totin’ dad held out his hand, “Don’t say anything!  You’ll get me upset!”

Today, as indicated above, a stringent cohort of Caucasian, nominally “Christian,” American men —Appearance to the contrary, sorry ladies—is determined to impose their beliefs and prejudices on the rest of us.  Prominent in their agenda are unrestricted ownership and use of firearms and hatred of non-traditional, sexual identity and orientation.  As I write, Republican state legislators work to disenfranchise the poor and folks of color, who tend to vote for Democrats.

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