More effort needed to see the other side

We say: We’re not very respectful of differing points of view

We’re curious where the anger comes from and how deeply rooted it is.

We’re talking about the palpable distaste, even disdain that surfaces in public discourse for “left wingers” or “right wingers,” to the point where the phrases are tossed around like epithets.

In the media business it crops up regularly, usually in the context of someone finding an easy way to dismiss someone else’s idea or opinion. And we wonder: how can this be fixed? Because it needs to be fixed.

Certainly part of it can be chalked up to the media and its penchant for framing stories as conflict. Certainly it has to do with our electoral system and the way it segregates people into camps then pits them against each other in a dogfight for power. When you are invested in a battle of any kind, it is human nature to think the worst of your opponent.

But we aren’t sure this quality always represents the best of human nature. And much of the responsibility for these adversarial relationships also needs to be placed on the shoulders of individuals.

How guilty are we of equating the distasteful words and actions of a single “leftie” or “rightie” to the default mindset of an entire group of people? How respectful are we of other points of view? How much of an effort are we making to see things from other people’s perspective?

Rational thinking demands an open mind. Civil discourse demands civility.

These should be things we actively aspire to. To do otherwise seems contrary to our Canadian nature.

– Black Press