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In Your Opinion: Time To Rediscover The Art Of Dialogue

By Bill Connell, Somerset.

I use this Speak Out forum liberally, sometimes to express an opinion on a matter or sometimes to encourage something like volunteerism. Volunteerism I believe to be the important quiet engine of Franklin, as for opinions, you know what they say about those, we all have one ….

John Felix, my friend, also uses this forum and has a different approach then me. He generally stays on topic and doesn’t make jokes or use sarcasm. I think it’s physically impossible for me to do that. I do this for a couple reasons. These are opinion pieces, not white papers on a topic. Also, I am comfortable with possibly being wrong. It’s more important for me to put the thought out there and let you draw your own conclusions.

A friend recently commented that she read a Speak Out where I quoted Bill Cosby and she stopped reading the rest of the article because I did so. I used it as a device to make a point. A trip to YouTube will get it across better then three paragraphs. Instead she chose to be offended instead of focusing on what I was saying.

Can we stop being offended so easily? Can we step back and let ideas wash over us before we reply? Why do we have to club people like they were seals, just so we can be right? Being right is always better but not at the expense of real dialog and debate.

This antidote is light-hearted but it touched on what really concerns me. There are people out there ignoring the chaos, doing work and making progress. Public policy is decades behind the tidal wave of technology and other things that are heading toward us. I worry we have lost the art of real dialog. …in my opinion.

During the Clinton administration I was aware enough to wonder why people were more concerned about Clinton and Monica Lewinsky then the context of the Embassy bombings or the USS Cole. I could never imagine September 11th but by 9:03 am I comprehended who it was and why. I have that same feeling again, but this time around its hacking and cyber security. Twitter seems counter-productive, now more then ever we need to sit across a table. We have all the old issues and the new issues seem exponentially more complicated.

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