Reblogging a couple of posts which make good points about the need for dialogue when talking about “contentious” things. Finding the common ground should be the important thing. Unfortunately it’s much easier to use what I’ve heard called “wedge politics”, where the two sides try to stay as far apart as possible and ‘wedge’ the other side into a tight spot over the issue. It might get them more supporters in the short term, but in the long term…we all really just want solutions. These bloggers (below) are both American and are talking about gun control. However, their ideas about dialogue over argument can be applied to many things.
Pragmatists, perhaps, get more things done faster than idealists. It’s a hard lesson I myself had to learn earlier in the year relating to asylum seekers.
If we find common ground, then solutions should follow. Even if that common ground is at first hard to find. We can be set in our views. All it takes, though, is a willingness to listen and attempt to see things from the other’s viewpoint. Letting go of preconceptions is hard, but we need to try if we’re to get anywhere at all on so many issues.
First, another piece from Kerri (whose post on gun control I posted this morning).
If only there could be a conversation, rather than a debate about gun control. Let’s take the politics out of the conversation. Instead of having talking points designed to “stir up the base” what if both sides just took a moment and created a dialogue. If only we took out the extremes and found the middle ground. Imagine instead of reading this:
Pro-Gun Control: The NRA is killing your children and we must ban all guns
Anti-Gun Control: The Liberals are taking your guns and your children will be killed
Neither statement is true, in my opinion. The Pro/Anti monikers could be interchangeable with Anti-Gun and Pro-Gun ownership. Let’s take off the labels and consider instead the conversation went like this:
Person: I’m concerned about the amount of gun violence in our country. I feel there must be something we can do, as a society, to make our homes/schools/towns safer.
Person: I’m concerned about that as well (aside–who wouldn’t be?).
Imagine how the conversation would progress if we started as common stakeholders in our community’s safety?
Read the rest here.
Second, here’s Laurie Works, a gun violence survivor.
LET’S TALK… ABOUT GUN CONTROL
For the last couple of weeks since I wrote my letter to Congress, I’ve been trying to foster dialogue with the people of the Internet and the people of my city (hello, Colorado Springs!).
This has not been easy.
A lot of the replies that I’ve received via my blog or Twitter account have been painful. Painful is a strange word to use, but that is what comes up when I transcend the flash of anger that appears when I first hear certain things: pain.
When people ask me, “What do you think about the armed citizen that stopped the shooter in your shooting?” As if I didn’t realize she was a part of my story.
When people assert that people are the problems, not guns. As if it were not bullets that killed my sisters.
When people say that laws don’t dissuade criminals. As if they don’t set norms in society of what violence equates to, as if they didn’t set the norm that the shooter adhered to.
The list goes on. Each of these replies first pierces my heart and honestly? I want to lash out.
I want to be the same exact person I see all over Twitter. Insulting, and raging, and cursing at people I disagree with. Sometimes, I admit it, I degrade to being that exact person because it hurts so damn much.
But if I can take a step back and look at it for a second, if I get curious, something happens that changes everything.
I meet people.
I’ve heard so many stories in the past 2 weeks. Stories that I am honored to carry, and that you can go read in the comments of my blog. I’ve had amazing conversations with people I would have called “the enemy”, had I continued to react out of pain.
At this point, that means much more to me than being right. I don’t want to be on the “right” side of this discussion. I want to truly meet people and hear their heart.
So while I’m now going to tell you about some of my personal beliefs about gun violence, I want to ask that you do the same. Tell me your stories. And tell me WHY you have them. What beliefs are behind your stories? I’ll trade you, okay? But let’s be people first, and issues secondary to that. Meet me here – I promise to hold your story in a safe place in my heart.
Read the rest here.
P.S. Don’t get used to twice-daily posts…my blog schedule happens as it happens. Today, I forgot to include the above links and words in this morning’s post, so here it is in the evening. Most of the next few days have scheduled posts – I’m in the middle of exam revision. (Two weeks until it’s over for the year.)