More Dialogue And Less Shouting, Please

One of the more annoying examples of our current take-offense-at-everything culture is the shouting that comes from various sides over various issues.  Often included are catch phrases that are designed to proclaim a message that everyone in theory should believe in, but are really meant to convey a message of, "If you don't agree with my every stance on this issue, then you don't think my over-simplified statement that any decent human being would agree with is true."

"Black lives matter" is an example. Of course black lives matter. With today's political discourse, however, it seems like what's really be said is that if I don't think Darren Wilson is guilty of murder, or that sometimes people do things to assist themselves in getting shot by the police, then you don't think that I think black lives matter. There doesn't seem to be any attempt to convince anymore, but more of an attempt to guilt someone into changing their point of view or to vilify someone. 

Same thing goes for the "Blue lives matter / support our police," crowd. Of course their lives matter and we should support them; they have a tough and difficult job to do. But when you see examples of blatant police abuses over and over again, and watch police culture either ignore it or make excuses for it over and over, at some point you have to recognize there is going to be some frustration among people. Criticizing the police doesn't mean we don't care, it just means we demand better because we should demand better. 

Our political discourse today is marked by too much shouting and not enough listening. Nobody seems as if they are trying to convince the other side to see their point of view, but instead simply make gotcha arguments that rally their side and send a "screw you" message to the other.

And nobody likes being told, "Screw you."

There is something to be said about the phrase "constructive dialogue." Sure, it sounds cliche. But at the end of the day, when the lights and cameras go home from our made-for-TV pissing matches, real people from both sides of these debates have live together, go to school together and work together. 

Those who live in the real world have to make those relationships work, and that's done through more empathy and understanding, not another civil war.