Recently a couple of people mentioned that conversationally I like to “throw things out there” and/or “mix it up”. The comments surprised me because I often feel like I’m holding back by raising “hot button” current event topics very selectively and only within small circles of close friends or trusted relatives. Given the gravity of many current events, I feel a desperate need to understand what others think, especially when they have a different perspective. I want to discuss and debate the issues, consider various perspectives, and test my ideas within a safe space where people understand my intentions.
Occasionally people will say things like "Why talk about this? None of us are going to change our minds.” But I beg to differ. I change my mind all of the time. If you take the time to educate yourself and/or engage in meaningful discussions with smart people, how can you not change your mind? If you’re not changing your mind about important issues, are you fully informed? Are you listening? Are you thinking?
Having raised two kids under pretty similar conditions, I’ve concluded that some people are wired to enjoy discussing controversial issues and others aren’t. Some prefer tackling issues in solitude, and others seem to avoid thinking about them at all. I get that each of us has different strengths and interests, and I suppose it's why we’re likely to find a caretaker around when we’re sick, a protector around when we’re scared, and a party planner around when it's time to celebrate. (i.e. If we're lucky.) Each of us plays a different role as we strive to hold our society together.
One of the great things about social media is that it can illuminate issues and perspectives we might not encounter otherwise. Conversely, it can also wall you off from certain perspectives. If a friend posts an article, I know that issue is very important to them, and I try to read and acknowledge it. This is a great use of technology (IMHO), but one Tech Frustration that arises is that sometimes, even though I’m troubled and concerned, I literally don’t know how to help. I want to help, I’m just not sure what I can or should be doing to make things better. Thanks to technology, those of you who care so much about these issues can give me some suggestions.
When it comes to the scary and hateful political rhetoric, I think we can all help to be sure that reasonable debates remain productive by striving to keep them fact-based and respectful. De-escalation is usually more productive that escalation. But there are other issues that concern me, and I am literally feeling stuck. As my friends figuratively scream about their concerns, I am listening and thinking, but the answers to these problems aren't clear to me. Or maybe it's more accurate to say that I'm just not sure what I can do to help. You have my attention, but not my involvement. I need more guidance. Below is a list of issues that concern me, but I'm unsure about what I could be doing to help resolve them in a meaningful way.
Ideally I'd like to help eliminate the need to work on these issues completely, but in the meantime, I want to invest some time and energy to at least help to reduce their severity. If you have ideas about how I can help, please pass them along in a comment or private email message.
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