‘The Dying Art of Disagreement’

"To say, I disagree; I refuse; you’re wrong;...these are the words that define our individuality, give us our freedom, enjoin our tolerance, enlarge our perspectives, seize our attention, energize our progress, make our democracies real, and give hope and courage to oppressed people everywhere...And the problem, as I see it, is that we’re failing at... Continue Reading →

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Social Media Is Hurting Democracy

Liberals and conservatives have one thing in common: zero interest in learning how and what those they disagree with actually think. Click. "Talking past each other is deeply unhealthy for our entire political system. A functioning democracy requires that citizens make informed choices — which voters can’t do if their information sources are ideologically monochromatic.... Continue Reading →

In Praise of Hypocrisy

Everybody is a hypocrite to some extent. Pointing out others' hypocrisy while not recognizing your own is in fact quite hypocritical. In online debates, I often see examples of "the pot calling the kettle black." Masha Gessen had a good reflection on hypocrisy in the NYT. Trump "made his first public concession to political expectations...to norms,... Continue Reading →

Americans Must Learn to Argue Better, Serve Together

With the rising climate of contempt in America, bridge-building and reconciliation activities, "to repair the social fabric, to restore trust and civility" will be necessary. This was clear before the end of the 2016 election, because it was easy to predict that at least 40 percent of the electorate would have felt "despondent, disgusted, betrayed"... Continue Reading →

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‘Our New Age of Contempt’

Contempt for others has become mainstream in America. Contempt is a bipartisan problem, and contempt begats contempt. Doesn't matter "who started it," as our parents used to say. We have to come to some understandings. Face to face interactions over meals with people who have a different political perspective should be a goal of people concerned... Continue Reading →

Bring Back the Lawyers and Politicians

"The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers,'' Dick the Butcher declares in Shakespeare's Henry VI. I am a journalist, not a lawyer by training, and have had my differences with lawyers who tend to make communication with the public too complicated, who parse the meaning of every word in a statement, and... Continue Reading →

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