If I was raising young children today and I wanted to teach them about respectfully disagreeing with others who may not share their values or opinions, the first thing I would do is unplug the television.
It is distressing to see the depths of uncivil behavior that most TV programming has slipped to. Programs that are supposed to be offering for debate two opposing points of view are often nothing more than shouting matches, with each side interrupting the other, engaging in personal attacks, even slandering the opponent.
Nothing is or can be accomplished when such disrespect and incivility becomes the climate of our society. Where there is no respect there can be no honest, productive engagement between the two sides of an issue. At its worse, it only serves to incite mockery, intolerance and even hatred of those with opposing viewpoints.
I long for the day when I can turn on the TV and see a civil, honest, open and productive debate between people on opposite sides of an issue.
Until then, I'll be far more careful about what I watch and what I listen to. "The mind is a terrible thing to waste", so the familiar line goes, and I'll not waste mine on such babble.
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