Communication is key to unity, progress

Published 10:08 am Monday, July 20, 2015

I don’t like voicing my opinions on Facebook. It has become the norm, as our nation continues to divide, to shout beliefs and ideas at people through the written word, but that isn’t my cup of tea. Sure, I read all those posts like a masochist. Plenty of times I’ve been tempted to indulge myself in giving them a piece of my mind, but I don’t find it too difficult to just bite my tongue and keep quiet.

Some may say I can’t make a difference if I’m not standing up for my beliefs. They may be right, but I just don’t want to argue. Furiously typing out my point of view isn’t going to change the thoughts of anyone who is already steadfast in their own perspective.

I have to say my own point of view hasn’t changed much over the past few years even after reading and listening to people vehemently make their point.

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What I hope is that other points of view at least make people think. That people at least consider what others have to say.

People might not like what they hear. I know I have read things that made me uncomfortable because I realize they might be on to something I was blind to before.

These thoughts are on my mind after covering the Confederate flag rally Saturday. My thoughts on the flag aside, I spent a good amount of time on both sides of Clay Street where people of opposing view points stood.

What I found was that both sides were incredibly welcoming and kind to me, but neither side was completely aware of the other’s viewpoints. Using pronouns like ‘them’ when referring to people who are supposedly working together doesn’t bring an environment of equality. Both preached unity, but stood divided.

I respect the fact there were no confrontations Saturday.

Maybe everyone was able to assemble peaceably because they didn’t communicate with each other, but that can’t always be the excuse. We have to learn how to talk to each other in a civilized manner.

Communication lines need to be open.  Whether it’s political or racial or any other categorical label that divides us, we have to listen.  We need to work together as equals, and not take for granted that we’re always right. Otherwise, we don’t even know what we are fighting against.

I’ve found sometimes the best options are the ones in the middle. Sometimes compromise leads to producing something that works in no one’s favor, but often extremes make matters worse.

I don’t claim to be an expert on human relations and I know I have been oblivious to things that have happened because I don’t know everything. Maybe that is why I choose not to speak up, but if we don’t come together we’ll continue to fall apart.