Un-Civil Discourse: Have We Forgotten How to Agree to Disagree? by Kristan Wager

Opinion Relationships
3 months ago
Un-Civil Discourse: Have We Forgotten How to Agree to Disagree?

Our country was founded on the idea that there are certain rights for all people. In our Constitution, the First Amendment assures us that the "Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech." However, in our 24-hour opinion-driven news cycle, we seem to have forgotten this freedom.

Have you tried to disagree with public opinion lately? It seems as though the only opinions that matter are the ones that shout the loudest. Disagree with a Facebook post and be unfriended, or 'trolled', the new phenomena where bots create disagreement in the comments.

Our history also contains proud examples of editorials, debates and town hall meetings where ideas are challenged and debated. Some of our finest speeches come from dissent. Think "I have a dream" by Martin Luther King or Abraham Lincoln: "America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."

We cannot tear each other down and expect peace. Civil discourse allows debate and discussion and germinates policy and social change. Angry epitaphs and curses do not promote change. Respect, facts and civility are the change agents.

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Anna Kline
It has gotten to the point where I purposely do not express my opinion in public...ever. The very rare chance I do now is with people I tend to agree with in general. Whenever I have a general comment about something contraversial or a distaste for popular opinion, I am attacked as a person. The attempt appears to be to make me feel and/or look stupid somehow. Attacks on character are first. It seems that when an unpopular opinion is posted it will be discouraged so that the more politically correct one endures. There is no more freedom in speech. There is a huge push to get everyone to think alike despite religion, cultural background and personal values. How is that freedom?

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