Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Art of Conversation

Tim and I were talking about the various things that we had seen immediately after the Supreme Court ruling, which requires all states to recognize same sex marriage. Some of our friends and family posted positive things. Others posted negative commentary. In our own circle we can usually be civil when our opinions don't match.

Interestingly a lot of other people can't. I would like to think that this is because their belief in that particular opinion is so strong, it overrides their ability to have a rational conversation. Unfortunately this does not seem to the reason. It is more likely that the person is repeating something that they were told, rather then something they have a real understanding of. Because they don't have a base understanding of what they are talking about they are left with nothing to have a conversation about. With a lack of information and facts, these people resort to name calling and statements that are, intentionally or not, designed to distract from their lack of knowledge. 

Some of these are can be very funny, like the man who is boycotting his local NBC TV station because he mistakenly thought that they changed their logo to support the SCOTUS ruling. While those who know that NBC has always had the rainbow peacock as a mascot, it was sad to see the number of people who jumped in to defend his position.

Others can be very scary and dangerous, like Ted Cruz encouraging states not directly named in the SCOTUS decision to continue banning same sex marriage. Several of the counties in these states who have followed Cruz's advice are now no longer offering marriage licenses of any sort, others may face fines for defying a federal mandate. 

You can find these parallels in any topic considered "controversial". In fact, it's often expected because people don't research their own point and, once they have decided on a position, they are not interested in hearing what the other side has to say. Unless, of course, the opposing side decides to admit failure.

For most of these topics there could be a workable middle ground. But our society is not interested in middle. We have Anti and Pro. For and Against. If anyone suggests a middle they are met with lots of examples of how that will "never work." because no one wants to give up their extreme view point.