Saturday, September 19, 2009

Building Bridges

The toughest challenge in any debate, any conflict - is to communicate one's point without name calling and without attacking the person rather than addressing the actual issue. If we are to be successful in bridging our divide, we have to be able to communicate our differences in way that helps us each understand what separates us. Then, we can begin to discover what we have in common. If the things we say are intended to invoke an emotional response, or are an emotional response rather than rational discourse, we cannot expect to find solutions.
We see so much of that in politics these days. And, sadly, we do it in our personal lives as well. It's difficult to work through things sometimes. When we disagree with someone, don't like what they are saying or if we don't want to believe a truth, we will take an emotional route. "Kill the messenger". Discredit them with things that have absolutely nothing to do with the issue at hand. Distract everyone's attention. Shift the focus to something quite trivial but may capture a knee jerk response.
As I follow the health care debate, I am so saddened by this type of reaction. "Socialist" "Nazi" and derogatory signs that are inflamatory and, I believe strongly, simply racist. What is that about?
FDR was called Socialist in his calls for reforms that this country now embraces. Social Security is one of them.
We have a health care crisis in this country. We are far behind the rest of the world in caring for our citizens in many ways. If it is "socialistic" to believe we need to take care of one another, I am not ashamed to bear that label. But Nazi??? Who could say anyone who wants to provide care for all is a Nazi? Come on!
Businesses cannot endure the rising costs of health care. Some say employees should not expect that benefit. If employers cannot afford it, how can we expect employees to take on the burden themselves? So, what is the solution?
We are supposed to be one of the greatest countries in the world. Can we not solve this together? Let's stop the name calling and the distraction and get this job done.

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