Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Why Can’t We Communicate?

with 4 comments

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been quite frustrated, I will admit.

It seems like the world has forgotten how to communicate. Left can’t talk with right, centrists like me trying to find common ground are ostracized, and it seems impossible to just talk with someone — even with the assumption we’ll disagree about nearly everything, but civilly — most of the time.

I don’t know why we can’t communicate. And it bothers me.**

The cultural assumption in the United States used to be that anyone could say anything (except yell “fire” in a crowded theatre, of course), and we’d agree they could do this. So long as people were peacefully protesting, that was just fine.

That’s what we are supposed to be about, in America. Free speech, yes, and peaceful protests, yes.

But we’re now looking at a scenario I’d never envisioned.

Instead of people agreeing to disagree, we’re mostly staying in crisis mode and assuming our neighbors will hate us unless they agree with us in every respect. (Which, by the way, is impossible, but I digress.) And the threat of violence seems so large, even the current President of the US has talked about it — though mostly in his terms, and because he seems afraid he will lose his grip on the power he has.

I live in a “purple” state. We are split down the middle, more or less, between people on the left and people on the right. Centrists, who just want to get the potholes filled and work out the remaining problems civilly and non-violently, are present, but keeping their heads low ’cause centrists are the only ones who get yelled at by all.

(“Blessed be the peacemakers,” indeed. But again, I digress.)

So, if there’s going to be violence if one side or the other doesn’t get their way, my home state of Wisconsin seems a likely target.

I don’t have any answers, mind you. But I do at least know what the right questions are, and the first one, as I said before, is “Why can’t we communicate?” Learning how to civilly disagree, without violence, used to be the first thing people learned, after all. So why is it that we can’t seem to remember that now?

————

**I do hope that people will stop getting so upset that they can’t even talk with their neighbors and/or friends about the things that matter. Politically, you can disagree with someone, but that doesn’t mean personally, morally, spiritually, or ethically that you disagree…and yet, we’ve become so tribally oriented for some reason, it seems like if you disagree at all, you’re just a non-person.

I find that so upsetting, I don’t have words to describe it. Thus this post.

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4 Responses

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  1. Take care Barb.

    I won’t “add to your pain” (which I understand) by posting here a couple of stories that show the problem you’re describing.

    Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    August 29, 2018 at 8:04 pm

  2. Ahhhh … the answers to your seemingly simple question are varied and complex, but you are right … we are losing our tolerance for those with differing opinions, and civil discourse about things that matter is quickly becoming a dying art. A few of us have tried, with limited success, to start civil conversations, but ultimately it is not sustainable for long. Sigh. Something must change, but … it won’t until we all stop and remember that we are all of the same race, the human race.

    jilldennison

    August 29, 2018 at 9:02 pm

    • Thank you, Jill, for your comment.

      I keep hoping civil discourse will make a comeback. (It’s due for one, isn’t it?)

      I agree with everything you’ve said.

      Barb Caffrey

      September 2, 2018 at 9:24 pm


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