What We Have Here Is a Failure to Communicate!

Some people tell me that we have a cultural divide in the United States and that the ugliness of our political discussions results from a failure of the people on the two sides to communicate. In other words, “what we have here is a failure to communicate”:

Some people think that discussions of political issues are inevitably ugly. I disagree. I think that political discussions can be enlightening and enjoyable. Political discussions get ugly when people start using ugly debating tactics. They often use ugly tactics out of frustration when their efforts to persuade other people don’t work.

Photo by classic film scans

Political Discussions Don’t Have to Be Ugly

Some people think that discussions of some topics are always ugly. They think that the best way to avoid this ugliness is simply to avoid talking about politics, religion, money, or sex. But if you can’t talk about religion, then you can’t talk about what you think is true and what you think is right. If you can’t talk about money or sex, then you can’t talk about what you want. If you can’t talk about politics, then you can’t talk about what you think should happen. Worse yet, you would have no way to work with others to make the good things happen.

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