Stop hurling insults, have a true discussion
What is demeaning our national conversation about politics? Here’s my take. Much of the conversation that occurs on Facebook, Twitter, etc., is not true dialogue. It’s diatribe.
I define diatribe as an attempt to win the discussion by insulting and labeling the person we are conversing with. When we use insults – you’re dumb, or an idiot, or worse – we immediately alienate ourselves from the other. Any further discussion will be difficult, if not futile.
The same goes for labeling and stereotyping the other person. When we name one as liberal, conservative, far left, far right, socialist, radical, etc., we again shut off the path to true dialogue and discovering the truth or the best solution for the issue at hand.
True dialogue challenges us first to examine our own beliefs and viewpoints and address the pros and cons. Then we must listen to the other person’s viewpoints by putting ourselves in his or her shoes, empathizing as much as possible.
This, I believe, is a path to real dialogue which, when applied faithfully, will lead us to the truth of the matter. We need to remember this approach every time we have a political, religious or any conversation.
The Rev. Pascal Ipolito
Retired, Buffalo Catholic Diocese