However, like many of you, I am angry about the direction our nation is taking. Whether you share my left-leaning cultural/political outlook or a right-leaning cultural/political outlook, it is a safe bet that anger looms large right now.
The Civility Project acknowledges the anger and asks HOW CAN IT BE CHANNELED INTO PRODUCTIVE CONVERSATIONS AND PRODUCTIVE ACTION?
In my long life, I have witnessed shouting matches, arguments whose only solution was the intervention of law enforcement. I have witnessed angry group pile-ons, reinforcing a learned sense of victimhood. In both these instances, and many others, the issues being fought over were legitimate, they aired real disagreements, but the dialogue was broken and no solution was achieved. The outcomes were incarceration for the first and psychological damage for the latter. Name-calling and "You always..." statements were used as cudgels to harm individuals rather than solve problems.
If we are to solve our nation's problems, much less our personal problems, we need to find a way to channel our legitimate anger in productive, life-giving action. Anger is seductive and easy. It is so personally rewarding to believe yourself right in the face of an argument. It is far too easy, in the heat of the moment, to demonize the other. It is so easy, that it can become habit-forming.
I am taking the Pledge and using my anger instead to fuel cultural and political change through understanding. Daily I remind myself that we humans share the same needs: home, family, safety, food, love and purpose. Where we differ is in how to achieve these ends. About that, we can talk.