Tuesday, August 9, 2011

But I'm nothing like them...

"Do unto others as you'd have done unto you."

One of the main ideas behind the idea of civility is that one ought treat with kindness and gentleness even those you are opposed to. Even if you think a person has the most foolish, hurtful, wrongheaded, and dangerous ideas or plans - still show civility... and hope that they show civility to you as well.

We have moved away from this in discussion today. Today the law of the land seems to be to vilify and mock your opponents - to call them names (terrorist seems to go around a lot in political circles -- heretic is always tried and... um, sometimes true in theological circles) -- not because the names are accurate, but to shame or scare people away from listening to them.

It's just rude, for one thing. But it also backfires. While you might see your opponent and see nothing but how they are crude and horrid and terrible (and publicly shout so)... other people are going to see similarities... or even have different thoughts... so when the mud gets slung back your way... well, it will stick.

We tend to think we are nothing like our opponents. We may not be in terms of position... but if we act like animals, grunting and growling in our discourse, those who are as of yet undecided will see how similar you and your opponent are.

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