Dialogue: (verb) take part in a conversation or discussion to resolve a problem.
There is a great divide. It is People. Open discussions with people involving hearing AND listening used to be part of my everyday life. Nowadays, well, there is plenty of talk, and not much listening. People don’t seem to waver from their stance on ANY subject. From the practical and sometimes enjoyable can of Beefaroni—see!!! You are already judging—to healthcare, listening to someone say their piece has vanished and been replaced with preparing a verbal assault.
I am the first to admit I have many, I mean MANY opinions. In fact, there is probably very little I don’t have an opinion on. I am lucky or smart enough to surround myself with people I enjoy having a healthy banter with. And, this is what I love about my family and friends–we hash things out. I look forward to my niece’s take on things that I have clearly not taken into consideration or my brother correcting me because he just so happens to have more information than I am privy to. It may not completely change where I stand, but I can tell you I always take pause.
I was recently verbally assaulted by a person whose opinions seemed scripted. Genuinely, as if he had some sort of—don’t take this the wrong way—Liberal handbook. He had way too many facts askew, so I asked where he got his information. A question I felt was valid, and in this case—NECESSARY. My crime for the ensuing onslaught was fessing up to being a fiscal conservative. And in response to my seemingly simple question… there was silence. I asked again. I figured I would help him out. I mentioned I have the Pulse app on my phone and follow 12 News apps and 6 Political apps, encompassing a variety of viewpoints. I mentioned that I generally like to check things out on Politifact or Factcheck.org and even hit up Snopes occasionally. So I waited patiently for some sort of a response. The response was that I must be some sort of “Ann Coulter wannabe”. I was trying to imagine anything I would find more personally offensive… and at that moment, I couldn’t. And just when I thought I was going to walk away….. which I promise you, I really was, I decided to say the defusing sentence. I said, “Sometimes, with some issues, it is best to agree to disagree”. I took the high road—not a well-travelled path for me. THEN, the unthinkable happened. He KEPT TALKING!!!??? Compared me to Rush Limaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Hannity—He talked about my not KNOWING that we live in an oligarchy, that we are (insert really bad word here), because we can only choose between Pepsi and Coca Cola, and that corporations have bought all the politicians and our votes don’t count…that until there is a revolution and “we take our government back from the 1%” we are all… yes, insert that same bad word.
Well…. What was I to do? There was nothing on earth I could say to him, and he had not yet given me any idea where and how he formed his opinions. Even if I wanted to agree with any part of his tirade, I was pretty sure I was still about to get burned at the stake for being a Republican. I was curious… I don’t even know this guy, but was demonized as a right-wing fanatic, who as far as he was concerned, was on the side of the super wealthy. Funny… I don’t make that much money, but what I do, I work hard to keep.
This started with a few simple statements. I said I consider myself a fiscal conservative, I have a blog page and I sometimes might write about things of a political nature. Big mistake—HUGE. But this isn’t about one closed-minded, misinformed person. It was about his simply not working with me on what we disagreed about.
Where is the dialogue? It is monologue after monologue. I was used to this in the actual political arena, but in what should have been a “get to know ya” conversation? It became hostile. Okay, maybe I became hostile. But every BUTTON I have was pressed. It was as if some kid got on the elevator of a 30 story building and pressed every single floor!
Perhaps I am not as ‘open minded’ as I hoped, or thought, or wished. But dialogue certainly involves 2 voices. Evolution of said dialogue involves both those voices listening to the other. Lack of dialogue very well may be the cause of an ever soaring divorce rate, but that dialogue is clearly for another time.
“It is partly true too, but it isn’t all true. People always think something is all true”—J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye.
This lack of dialogue is of epidemic proportions. It reaches far beyond politics. People have become so sure of their own voice and their own opinions that a chat about a movie or TV show or a song can turn ugly pretty fast. GEEZ, people—lighten the heck up! Perhaps we all have some growing we can do, open our minds, evolve a little! We do not live in a world of absolutes–Just ask any scientist. So it is in everyone’s best interest to listen, process and THINK… for ourselves.
Problem: People are closed minded, unwavering, and more often than not—ill informed.
Solution: Beats the heck out of me, but I am open… yes I AM OPEN … to suggestions.
I have tried the high road, driven many a mile on the low road, and have hid in the bushes to avoid the road and its traps altogether. As the United Nations General Assembly is in session a few blocks away, I wonder what kind of dialogue is going on there. Is anyone listening? Or, are they just preparing their verbal, tactical assault?
“In this treacherous world, nothing is the truth nor a lie. Everything depends on the color of the crystal through which one sees it.”—Pedro Calderon de la Barca
DDJ [here to listen, not here to HEAR]