Why do Americans feel the need to tear eachother apart over every issue?
It seems like every important issue that can be divided into sides in this country turns into a verbal assault on one another in online forums. Have Americans really become that blinded by politics, and media that we can no longer have civil discussions that actually lead to solutions?
I think the reason being is because people are so convicted about certain things. Such as God, country, etc. And when someone does start bashing the things we really care about it is very hard not to "take up" for what we so strongly believe in. I know I am guilty of this when I should just let it go. This is a character flaw that I am praying about. God would not be pleased arguing over his word. I know this and am very convicted about it. From now on, I just need to bite my tongue and try and just let things be. It is so hard when people belittle God or my country. But, nothing comes out of debating normally except an argument. Great question. Something I definitely need to stay away from.
JThomp42 we are all guilty of this in some way or another, I think a big part of it has to do with the anonymity of the internet. It's easy to hurt someone's feelings and not care when they are just a profile.
I was surprised when during the Christmas Holidays my family got into the fray. We love each other, but argued for 5 straight hours about our own positions on healthcare and who voted for whom and why. My sister actually burst into tears which made us all step back and say whoa! For some reason we have all grown more passionate on what we believe and what we think is the right direction for the future… and a lot louder too.
I am sure it is because in the last three elections where battled out with use of the internet and more media, and not a day or even an hour passes that we do not know what is going on in Washington and what is going wrong and we are often fed half truths, unresearched opinions and downright lies and we probably now are on overload and spew when the right catch phrase comes along that pushes our own personal button.
Politics is really one of the nastiest webs of conversation to get reeled in to. That does remind me of how I tried to deal with it in the election season, your sister breaking down did just that, humanised the conversation.
I'm sorry your sister had to go through that. A friend of mine called up family members before Thanksgiving and asked them not to bring politics to the dinner table. It worked. And he's willing to talk politics one-on-one, where people can be civil.
I think this kind of “verbal assault” has always existed but it was mostly carried out in private conversations. If you wanted to make a public statement, you had to write a letter and mail it to the newspaper. That took some serious effort and the newspaper was free to edit or reject your letter if they found it offensive. Thus most public discourse seemed civil most of the time. Now anyone can say almost anything with the click of mouse. I find it interesting that people feel they can say the most outrageous things on-line (sometimes hiding behind a username and sometimes not). This is stuff that was previous reserved for a few like-minded ears at the local diner, bar, barbershop or water cooler (no real harm done no matter what was said because few heard it). Now we all get to hear everything that everyone is thinking – and what many are thinking, though not all, is pathetic. A lot of commenters act like children – they say the first thing that pops into their head – without any self-editing or self-control. I hope that some kind of internet etiquette will evolve over time, but I’m not optimistic.
As for me, I have stopped commenting all together and don’t read very many of the comments either. I don’t really want to be part of all of that useless noise; except, of course, for places like Hub Pages, where I am a member of the community.
It is probably all nationalities, not just those from the many countries of the two continents of America. It is probably because many people have some sort of satisfaction in changing another's opinion, perhaps it makes them feel they are right This desire is often so great that any debate may become aggresive..
unethical and immorl leadership has created a deranged society where attacking others is promoted as liberty.
the civility of society has been replaced by radicalization within media where all truth and logic has been replaced with amoral messages
You don't have to go any further than the attack adds that dominate politics in America for both candidates and issues.
Exactly people seem to crave fear and division, but those are not productive aspects of any social animal, our sense of community has severly diminished, and we need to get it back.
The problem here is, in my view, deep. It has been developing over decades,a nd it has roots in every aspect of our society - not just politics, but also education, television and media, how we raise our children, and more.
There are two excellent books on the subject. Daniel Goleman's work, Emotional Intelligence, shows how our ability to be a civil society has gone down every 10 years for the last fifty years. Deborah Tannen's work The Argument Culture looks at root causes of the issue.
On a personal level, I think that the key is that most people these days, before we listen or speak, are already entrenched in a defensive perspective. We are likely to mis-hear what is said to us and feel attacked. And we are likely to to speak in attacking, disrespectful ways. The best tools I know of for changign that are Stephen Covey's the 7 Habits of highly effective people. I've written nine hubs about them, including one on Habit Five: Seek First to Understand, and Then to Be Understood. You might check these out.
Life is wonderful when we stay out of the argument and enjoy respectful conversation where we truly learn from one another.
I think everyone believes they are more informed about the issues of the day, than they were 20 years ago or when their parents were young. We are dealing with information overload, and we are still developing the mental filters that help us to separate fact from opinions. Years ago, newspapers did that for us. Opinions were on the editorial page, and the "Facts" were on the news pages--some opinions did creep into the news back then. Today, separating fact from opinion is becoming more difficult, thus when we form our own views, we are using a combination of facts and the opinions of others. Separating the two and forming our individual view becomes more difficult. Thus, people cease to debate the facts but end of debating the opinions of others, which are not black and white, yes or no concepts. Opinions include a lot of supposition which only serve to enrage the ire of other people.
I believe the information age we are in will be going through another cycle in the next few years when people will demand that fact and opinions be separated. When that happens, I think the rest of us will be able to discuss issues among ourselves without all the anger we see today.
With that said, I admit that 98 percent of the above is my opinion, based on my career as a newspaper reporter and public relations director and today, a sales associate in a department store.
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