Sunday, February 20, 2011

Let's Listen

Have you ever had a discussion with someone on a passionate subject such as politics, and instead of coming to an understanding you ended up thinking what the hell was wrong with that person? How could he think that way? Is he even thinking at all? I certainly have. And the person I was talking with I'm sure wondered the same thing about me.

When you look around the world today you don't see a lot of understanding. Just a lot of people getting louder and louder and angrier and angrier. The political scene in America today is extremely fragmented and quickly approaching the boiling point. Each side blaming the other, each thinking their's is the only way.

It would be nice to find a way to reduce the heat before the shooting starts. I don't have the solution but I do think we need to find a way to communicate with each other without resorting to attacks and insults and violence. I believe that if I really want to understand other's points of view then perhaps there are other people that feel the same way. This is my small attempt to reach out to those people.

The foundation that this country has been built upon are it's founding documents, particularly the Declaration of Independence and The Constitution. These documents are the agreements that hold us together as a nation. But today our people can't seem to agree on what these documents say or on the meanings of the words or principles that those words convey.

If we don't know what the other person's understandings are, we cannot hope to come to any understanding between us, much less any agreement. We have been artificially split apart and labeled and then told what we should believe. We have been thoroughly divided and unless we can come together and rectify the situation, we will soon be conquered.

So here is my idea. We need a place for people to be able to express their beliefs, understandings and feelings on these volatile subjects without being subjected to scorn, insults, ridicule and any other method that can be utilized to make people wrong. The only way to achieve an understanding with someone is to first fully understand where they are coming from.

I am going to use this blog to simply ask questions. I will depend on you to supply the answers that express your point of view. I am not necessarily looking for scholarly dissertations, fully substantiated with references and footnotes. I am just looking for what is the basic understanding that you are operating under on a particular subject. Some people will hold a point of view because they have spent years studying the subject and others will hold a point of view because their mother told them so. Either point of view will be equal here. We just want to know what you believe and why. I would like to receive responses from people on all sides of the political spectrum and all levels of society. I will also be responding to my own question, just like everyone else. But this blog is not for disseminating my point of view, it is for listening to all points of view.

The way it will work is I will post a question, maybe once a week and then you can post your answers in the comments section. I would ask that no one tailor their answers in response to anyone else's post. The purpose here is not to respond to others viewpoints or instigate any debates. It is simply to state your views and let others state theirs. Ideally I wish I could hold all the comments offline and post them all at the same time so that no one would be influenced by others commentary, but I don't think this blog format would allow that. Perhaps if this develops into something big I will move it into a forum type website that allows a moderator to handle that. But for now I hope we can make it work this way. I think if we can, we may all be able to learn a lot about our fellow humans.

We will start with questions relating to this country's founding documents. These will be questions that I want to hear the answers to. When I run out of questions I will solicit more from the participants and when we are done with one subject we can move onto another.

So before we begin I need to know who wants to participate? Let's see a show of hands or should I say avatars. I believe you can post anonymously if you are not registered with Blogger. When I get enough responses I will post the first question. You are welcome to spread the word to all your friends and associates. The more people involved, the more interesting and beneficial this little experiment will be. I eagerly await your replies.