October 2, 2012 Redux in 2016

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Oct. 2 ~ An opportunity of civility: one who disagrees with you is not necessarily evil or an “enemy.” #civility

*Four years later, this is an important point to be made. We don’t have to hate people who think differently from us. Being different shouldn’t automatically make us enemies, but can present us with an opportunity to learn. This doesn’t mean that I capitulate to other ideas or that lose my right to an opinion, or that I stop opposing ideas that I find destructive. This doesn’t mean that all ideas are equally valid and constructive. Civility will fundamentally change me, not someone who disagrees with me. Civility prepares me for discourse and debate. Lacking a need to hate another person leaves me free to imagine a time when can we work together.

That’s right, not everyone who thinks differently than you is evil, wrong, horrible or an enemy to fight and defeat. Incivility has a way of vilifying the other person and making any type of respectful sharing or discussion impossible.

The opportunity of starting from a place of not judging and condemning the other person allows us to listen better and to listen more fully. Once we decide an opposing idea or person is simply evil, there’s no recourse but to defeat it. If we allow the other person to be whole, genuine, and good, until proven otherwise, then we are able to ask good questions, get to know them, and to engage what they are saying for a better understanding.

In this way, should an idea (and even the person holding it) be found within our civil discourse to be lacking fundmental goodness, honesty or better intent, then we are far more ready to oppose the idea and present a better way. Incivility on our own part will have removed that opportunity.

Civility is the strongest foundation for debate.

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