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The Town Crier

Democracy at its Best

by C. John Grom  |  December 22, 2014

The beauty of democracy is that one opinion can be right without another being wrong and that we all have the freedom to explain our opinion any way we choose.

However, civil behavior, courtesy and common decency require that opinions be expressed in a respectful manner and that opposing views be heard and considered fairly.

A civil exchange of ideas can result in a meeting of the minds and a discovery of common ground, but when anger and intransigence prevail, only gridlock or a trampling of rights can result.

We know that people of good will, who respect objectivity and the opinions of others, will find common ground even where none was thought to exist.

Anger, self-righteousness and contempt for the ideas of others, are at direct odds with the aims of civil discourse and must be overcome before understanding and cooperation can be achieved.  Its natural for us to believe only what we want the truth to be and its a rare person who isn’t tempted to follow passion and not the power to reason.

We’re all afflicted or blessed, depending on your view, with beliefs, biases, bigotry, etc. and they form the prism through which we see the world.  When we’re confronted with an event that has five possible explanations and one of them fits our prism we rarely, if ever, consider the other four.

When something goes wrong we’re quick to blame it on someone or something we don’t like.  When something bad happens, someone we don’t like has to be be punished.  That’s the way we are, but we can do better.

We would all like to win everyone over to our point of view, but first we must be willing to be won over.  Changing our mind is not losing and refusing to yield is not winning.



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