The time has come for civil discourse. I recently heard a talk at a conference that championed this truth. It resonated with me. Then I began reading about the topic, and it is clear that we need to change the tone. We have let nasty words take the place of conversation and respect. Our future to grow and succeed as a society relies on our ability to understand people with different views. We need to be able to have conversations. People need to listen rather than shut down everyone with whom they do not agree. Civil discourse does not mean letting evil have a seat at the table. It means being tolerant of those who have different opinions and beliefs. It means listening and learning. It means compromise (at times), or accepting differences in thought. In some ways we have created a society where any disagreement is not allowed in any relationships.
My parents were of different political parties. I remember them talking about a different preference in who they would vote in the 1976 Presidential Election. Looking back President Ford and President Carter were not that different (by today’s standards). But my parents openly could talk about their opinions and still be in love with each other. Today you would rarely find a Trump supporter dating someone who voted for Hillary Clinton.
The time has come for civil discourse. We are not getting this from our government, so leaders in business and associations are going to have to step up. Leaders outside of politics must lead if our elected officials will not. Conversations need to be started, encouraged, and cherished. Who will be the voice of reason in a world where too many are trying to cause distractions and division?
The time has come for civil discourse. Over the past 10+ years the rhetoric in our society has gotten out of hand. It has become acceptable to say anything about people with whom you have a disagreement. The ends justify the means to most people in politics and the media. If you watch most news outlets (Fox, CNN, MSNBC, etc.. ) you see the people who should be reporting the facts, but cannot help but add words to mislead. They infuse their opinions into their reporting. They choose words that fuel their own agenda. They claim lies and fake news from all the others with a different viewpoint and hope nobody will catch them in their own campaign to persuade.
People on both sides of the political isle point fingers at others who do this. There is nobody in our top leadership who is not playing the work calling game. The President and the Speaker of the House this week both chose words that divide and rally the cries from their base supporters. Political activists are fast to want to boycott companies if executives donate money to one side or the other and political protests that get violent are becoming commonplace.
The time has come for civil discourse. Words have meaning. The foundations of our society are not as strong as many hope. They keep removing the pillars and when the roof falls in they will point the fingers at the other side. Now is the time to stop the madness. We need civil discourse and conversations. If we want a better world we have to stop the current style of hateful rhetoric.
The time has come for civil discourse. But what does this mean? And who will lead the charge? I cannot be the person, as I am one unknown man who is in the center on many issues (which means I anger both sides). I am looking for those in positions of power who can do something, and yet too many are worried about getting re-elected. Celebrities are not the answer. Sports figures can’t lead us. I think it is beyond a single person. I think we all need to start and do what we can. For each person who reads this blog post, what if we started one conversation a day with people and listened with respect. Would that change the world? Maybe.
The time is NOW to fix our society – in the United States and beyond. We need human understanding.
Today I begin my study of what civil discourse really means and I am looking for how to work this message into the talks I give (I do not ever touch on politics in my presentations, as my clients do not want me going there). But respect and conversation are words that should not offend anyone and touch all areas of our lives. They are words we need to re-introduce to the general public conversation. If I can find a way to do this without being political in my speeches, then I will do my part.
Help me. I am seeking input and advice. Learning is my first step. Doing it alone is not an option. firstname.lastname@example.org …. .email me your thoughts.
Thom Singer is a business motivational speaker and the host of the “Cool Things Entrepreneurs Do” podcast.