May 19, 2011
by Chris Feeney
What if we were better at admitting when we are wrong? Now I'm not saying I was wrong, but... Granted it's not a technique we want to get a lot of on-the-job training in. So how do we get better at it?
Seems like a good first step is at least acknowledging the other side of the argument. That doesn't mean you cannot stick to your guns, but what can be hurt by at least listening to the dissenting view point? Better yet, try hearing that discussion.
Have you ever watched a debate, when the other guy or gal is chomping at the bit to voice an opinion, so much so that it is obvious they are paying no attention to what the other person is saying, instead only waiting for them to take a breath or form some other slight pause to allow them to interrupt and blurt in their rebuttal. Passion for your cause is great, but not at the expense of drowning out logical debate.
Believe it or not, that is what most of this editorial space is dedicated to, an attempt to engage readers in the sharing of thoughts and opinions. Who really wants to hear what the editor thinks every week?
Last week's editorial on the increasing prevalence of first-person political speeches drew some interesting responses.
I had more than one reader point out to me that when things go wrong, the president is the first person to get blamed, so why shouldn't he get some of the credit when things go right?
Would this have been a big deal if this was my president? Probably not. I had to agree with one debater, that I could easily see myself penning a rebuttal to someone's letter to the editor if they had blasted a more conservative leader for doing the same thing.
It was explained to me that since Obama was not my choice, I likely am quicker to find fault in him. I can't argue that point either.
While not everyone wants to write a letter to the editor, it is refreshing that folks are willing to stop in to share a word or two. Sure it's great when they agree and tell you good job, but for me it's equally pleasing when they disagree and they choose to engage in a productive discussion, offering counter points and varying perspectives on the topic.
Of course that's not always the case.
Wonder how many defense attorneys out there would start their closing argument by telling jurors how stupid they are? Probably not the best strategy if you have any hopes of convincing them of changing their mind.
So why does that seem to be the prevailing sentiment in many of today's public disagreements? If you truly want to change someone's mind on a difference of opinion, does it seem like a sound strategy to start off the conversation with an insult?
I always try to ask if I am stupid and wrong; stupid for being wrong; wrong because I'm stupid; or all of the above.
And for all of those that didn't care for the bible verses, am I a stupid Christian, stupid for being a Christian or a Christian because I'm stupid?
This is way over simplified, but would you rather be stupid for believing in God and having it not be true, or stupid for not believing and reaping those consequences?
Seems like a no brainer to this simpleton.