Thursday, January 17, 2013

Rocksalot Cottage: Listening

As I go about my day news bombards me.  My mother enjoys listening to talk radio, I scan the papers to catch up on world changes, and the same goes on until 10 PM when I tune it all out as Mom's retires for the evening.  Trust me, no matter what I do, the arguments of the day are inescapable. 

Mom has lived through WWII, Korean, Vietnam, Gulfs I & II, and  Afghanistan.  She knows that keeping abreast of national & world news has a place in life.  Unfortunately, these wars have become a fabric of her 89 years.  She has lived relatively few periods in her life that are free from war.  Now, she senses a different kind of conflict.  An issue in her own country that  upsets her to the point that she openly asks if people are listening to each other.  She'll say, "Did you hear that?  They didn't even answer the question!  Were they listening?"  (Just so you know, she wears two hearing aids, so hears just fine.)

Believe or not, there's a lesson in this for me.  In taking a step back and analyzing these stories one element begins to take shape - no one's listening to each other.  No one.  Both sides cling to their own arguments and clammor to convince, but not to compromise. 

Statemenship requires listening.  Not making noise.  Active listening.  Taking ten deep breaths and sitting down to discuss an issue, not debating. Discussion requires parking their positions and keenly listening someone else's views.  Debating requires winning.  Taking an issue that cuts to the core of who we are as a society to ensure a stronger nation grows from that discussion.  Money, trolling, and using children to further one's argument isn't problem solving.  I believe Fr. Ehrlich hit the nail on the head when he wrote  this article for the Washington Post.  If this noise doesn't settle down (and soon) the future loses.


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