Civility To Encourage Understanding

Right now, America feels incredibly divided. When it comes to everyday discussions, I see two different roads that people can take: Accept that everybody believes what they believe and that nothing can change this, or try to find ways to discuss things in a civil manner, in hopes that we can further understanding and make little changes until the world is a better place. Sure, I’m an optimist, but I feel like there is no hurt in trying to have civil discussions with any person willing to talk about what’s going on in the world. Sometimes I don’t want to talk to other people, but perhaps that’s why I’m always trying to figure out ways to make more of an impact when I do choose to talk to folks.

There are serious discussions that we should all be having, right now. No matter where folks stand on the political spectrum, they feel like large amounts of the population aren’t listening. No matter who you are, there are American citizens that don’t understand you, don’t understand your views, don’t understand what you go through on a daily basis. Perhaps it’s because you wake up at 5 am to work 12 hour days, because you live with a terminal illness, because you have moderately high wealth that you feel is unjustly taxed, or because you live on little because that’s all you have ever known. We are all different, and no matter how worldy you have lived, listening to those that feel differently, even if you disagree with ever fiber of your being, is important.

Which is all to say: we should speak in a way that encourages those different from us to listen.

Therefore, my plea to everybody is this: Stop the name-calling. Does it grate on you when people refer to the former Secretary of State as “Shillary”? Then why would anybody listen to you when you refer to the President-Elect as “The Orange One”?  If you look down on those that don’t use the title for the candidate that you support, why would you turn around and do the same for the person that you would like to convince others has flaws?

I realize that there are many reasons not to normalize this incoming president, all he stands for, and all that he has promised to do. I realize that there are people going as far as to not recognize his presidency as legitimate. But even then, your cause is not furthered by using anything other than his actual name.

“When they go low, we go high.”

So please, I urge you, stop with the petty name-calling and tangerine references. Take tiny steps to legitimize your conversations, so that people are more likely to hear the very rational things that you may have to say. Maybe you’ll make a difference, in some tiny way.

This post inspired by this scene in The West Wing, which I always think about when people refer to any president by anything other than their title and name.

(Also, when you say “The Orange One,” I still assume you’re talking about Boehner.)



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