An agreeable disagreement
Posted: Wednesday, September 5, 2012 8:00 pm
By: By Lisa Smartt
The Messenger 09.05.12
I’m going to fuss a little bit in today’s column so try to prepare yourself. Remember when your least favorite teacher used to say, “I need to see you after school.”? Yeah. It’s going to be a little bit like that. So go ahead and put your best friend on speed dial and realize I’m only saying it because I care. I promise.
Members of our society need to learn how to disagre ... agreeably. Let’s take politics. I know. Some of you are saying, “Yes, let’s take politics and throw it off the nearest cliff.” There, there. The political arena is a forum in which we should learn to disagree without malice. We should be glad that we live in a country where politics fuel passion and strong opinion.
Truthfully, I’m surprised at people who say things like, “I don’t care who wins. It’s all the same to me.” You should care who wins. You should realize that all ideas are not the same. You should be able to develop your own political opinions. But in the midst of your passionate ideas and opinions, you should be able to maintain civility concerning those who disagree.
My Facebook page has been buzzing with inflammatory political rhetoric posted by friends on both sides of the spectrum. I’d like to take this opportunity to say publicly that an inflammatory political Facebook post never changes anyone’s mind. Ever. It just makes people mad. Plus, a lot of it is simply unintelligent. On both sides of the aisle.
For example, one of my out-of-state friends posted pictures of “Paul Ryan’s Senior Citizen Dog Food.” There were a couple of quippy lines about how Paul Ryan wants your grandma to eat dog food. Okay. Regardless of your political opinions about Paul Ryan’s budget plan, you can’t tell me that you truly believe that Paul Ryan stays up late at night hoping your grandma eats dog food one day. Of course not. The rhetoric simply wasn’t intelligent enough to work.
Another friend posted a pic of President Obama with some quippy lines about how Obama desperately wants our country to turn into Cuba. Again, regardless of your political leanings, do you truly believe that President Obama stays up late at night wringing his hands together and hoping that one morning you’ll wake up in an oppressive, dark, broken, poor dictatorship controlled by a ruthless and godless dictator like Castro? I’m too smart to buy it.
If you have strong political and philosophical ideas about how our country should be run, I’m glad. I too have strong political ideas. If you want to put signs in your yard supporting your favorite candidates, I support that right. If you want to tell me why you believe what you do, I’m happy to hear you out. I expect you to show me the same courtesy. I believe we can operate a strong nation if we learn to disagree without being slanderous and tasteless.
Well, the teacher has now had her say. I hope it didn’t hurt too much. Learn how to take a stand with confidence and intelligence. And trust me; it won’t weaken your position to be kind to those who disagree. It might just make them listen.
For more information about Lisa Smartt, visit her website, www.lisasmartt.com.
an agreeable disagreement, Lisa Smartt, politics