Just A Voice on Main Street: Have We Lost the Honor of Respecting One Another?

In the daily noise that serves as debate in this country, it occurs to me that we have totally lost the idea of respecting one another enough that we can plan to have another debate in the near future.  We are in an era of “Hit and Run” conversation where we throw down our viewpoint , then tread water for a few minutes while we ignore what you have to say in response.  That is because we are feverishly preparing our next volley of opinionated facts that we have memorized, and are ready to spew no matter what you say.  That, unfortunately, serves as debate in 2018, and never advances to the level of listening and lifting the conversation to a higher level.  We see it in our politicians daily as they use their political “sideism” to go after each other, while they bend events so that their view might become a self-fulfilling prophecy.  We are subjected to a base time of names being hurled at opponents, and stories thrown against the wall as the never-ending game of “gotcha” is played.  Ignorance of fact is on a daily parade by many who can’t name the three branches of government, let alone explain how to pay for “Free” education and medical care.  Social media is ripe with the horrible language and pettiness that hearkens back to a high school conversation when we didn’t know what we didn’t know.  Now, we should know better, shouldn’t we?  Large Media conglomerates are now looking to shut down one side of the so-called conversation that could be had on social media, while upholding another side’s right to say whatever they want.  That shows no respect for another point of view, but attacks the very thought of free speech as laid out in the First Amendment.  The question we need to ask ourselves is, “What are each of us doing to advance debate, and discussion to another level that is healthy for the country and respectful of our fellow citizen?”  How do we return to a passionate, principled, informed, yet respectful debate?  Ground rules must be set.  Number One, We do it by truly listening and hearing what is being said by the other person.  We respect that they have a point of view that may be different from our own, yet we are willing to listen. Number Two,  We must ask them to do the same, or no discussion/debate can occur.  Number Three, We attack the points made, not the person making them.  Number Four, We do not call the other person any kind of “ist” or “phobe.”  It shows our ignorance to continue on in the conversation/debate.  Finally, we agree to disagree , and to continue to talk with, not at, one another again, all in the spirit of making this nation “the more perfect union” our forefathers envisioned.  When we do those things, we can start to respect one another again…..Gary Sutton