Being Heard

01/02/17: Are your political points not being heard?

Reading posts from both Trump supporters and Trump opponents is a surreal experience. There is a complete disconnect between two polar opposite perceptions of the realities of life. So how do we enter two way dialogue with each other, when we genuinely don’t get that the other does not get our viewpoint? How do we get our point over?

By focusing on the deep concerns we share.

We all want to improve our own lives and the lives of people who are suffering. The problems may be poverty, stress, trauma, fear of change, fear of no change. But in every case, we all seek to live our lives free from attack or judgement by others, secure that our families will be fed, clothed, housed and healed if we get sick, and peace.

Let’s focus on these common goals. Let’s judge the wall, the ban on immigrants, the KKK-inspired leadership, the tariffs, the abortion policy; let’s judge them all by whether they end up making people better or worse off. Don’t excuse failure by producing new reasons in the future. The Trump administration is setting out its stall. Judge the outcomes based on the stall it sets out. Don’t accept failure to raise living standards as anything other than failure of that stall. And if it is successful, give it credit for achieving something that Republican and Democratic politicians have failed to achieve for decades.

Sure, let’s engage with those we disagree with by sharing our views. But we need to hear their views too. We don’t have to agree with them, just consider the points that are being made. Simply shouting down every view we disagree limits our exposure to some of the truth.

When it comes to social and national media, progress is made by talking with each other, not to ourselves.

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