It is so easy to be dismissive of a person that doesn’t share my world view. I can write off them and their thoughts as ignorant or uneducated or any number of codeword insults meant to cut down a person. By dismissing them, I can dismiss any opinion they might have. It’s an easy way to invalidate an point of view that I may not want to directly address.
I do it all the time.
I want to make a difference for people whose voice is silenced by the ruling class. After Trump was elected, I promised to use the platforms thrust before me as a megaphone for the underserved. And I have been noisy ever since.
But noise isn’t enough.
In order to change a person’s heart and mind, we need to have a comprehensive understanding of how their heart and mind currently feels and thinks. Because most people have given quite a bit of thought to their position. And the conclusion they have drawn is based on their own life experiences. And those life experiences are valid. The feelings they have are valid. And their conclusion is valid. Because it is their conclusion. It is personal to them and I need to be sensitive to that if I have any hope of offering an alternative viewpoint.
I have new insight into why some people reacted so viscerally to me calling for the disarming of America after the Austins shooting. While I addressed the counterpoints, I didn’t consider the validity of gun owner’s feelings. I re-read my article replacing guns with bikes. That was an exercise in humility!
I want to understand people that think differently from me. Did you vote for Trump? Call me. Tell me why. You feel like the confederate flag is a symbol of heritage and not hate. Okay. I’ll listen. You think every house should have a gun, bikes don’t belong on the streets and the suburban lifestyle is the pinnacle of American achievement. [hard swallow] Great. I’m all ears.
Call me or text me anytime. My cell is 785-550-1483.
Surely we have common ground. If we can find it and listen to our life experiences that lead us to our conclusions, perhaps we can both walk away a little smarter.