Thursday, January 13, 2011

You're yelling so loud, I can't hear what you're saying...

In the last several days, there have been a lot of outcries from both left and right about the Tucson shooting. Unfortunately, I'm not sure if anyone is listening. Instead, both sides are shouting as loud as they can, trying to drown out the other party. In the end, no one wins and we all become a little more deaf.

In his speech, President Obama suggested that we should talk to each other in a manner "that heals, not in a way that wounds." Like many times before, I agree with the President. I hope he means what he says and (more importantly) I hope that he does what he says. He is our leader and he needs to lead. This means that in political speeches, he needs to stop lashing out at those that disagree with him. I saw a list of things he'd said about his opposition and I won't repeat it here. But my point is, if he wants things to change, he should lead.

We also need to find a way to listen to others when we disagree. For too long, that hasn't been the case (on both sides). Instead, we push the ideas completely aside and ignore the message. If a person is in favor of abortion, shouldn't we try to understand why? If a person is opposed, shouldn't we listen, instead of just saying they must be a religious fanatic? (and yes, I chose a very divisive topic to make my point).

And most of all, shouldn't we listen even when the other party is yelling?

A couple of examples come to mind. A year ago, I posted about Pat Robertson and his opinions on Haiti. Seems Robertson said some things (as usual) that folks didn't like. His real message included a call for help and prayer for the Haitians. Now who could disagree with that? Another example is the so-called Westboro Church. They protest at funerals. Yet when you listen or read some of the details of what they say, they aren't much different than those in mainstream churches. The MANNER in which they say it and the TIMING are all designed to inflame -- and they do that quite well.

Both of these are extreme examples of how the yelling overpowers what is being said. So are these people at fault or are the people complaining about them? Both. If it weren't for all the complaints, the people would (eventually) go away. In a free society, there will be those who speak out in an inflammatory manner. All we can do is ignore them and hope for some real leadership.

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