There was one quote that really resonated within me in this week’s issue of High Plains Reader and it was part of C.S. Hagen’s “Voting Methods” story. Jed Limke, the man behind the Approval Voting Army said,“...in recent years a certain apathy has seemed to hover over local elections with low voter turnout. Too many people feel their votes don’t count.”
These sentiments echoed through more than the local elections, look at the current state of the nation. It’s easy to feel powerless and even voiceless in a room where everyone is screaming. One person alone can’t make a difference, but if we combine these voices and work together rather than against each other they become heard and they become more than noise. They become distinguishable.
Why else does a march or protest cause visibility? Voices and like minds united for a cause spreading what they feel the good word is. Though I feel there’s another step that we’re missing. We can spew facts to our like-minded comrades until we’re blue in the face but we don’t really leave our comfort zone. Where’s the civil debate? Has the art of the friendly persuasive argument been lost? Do we all need to rewatch “12 Angry Men?”
I say yes. Arm yourself with some cold hard facts and evidence. After all we all want the same thing right? At the core of our political arguments we as the people want what’s right for the people, or at least I hope we do. How does lining the pockets of the fat cats benefit our farmers, factory workers, and blue collar denizens?
Listening seems to hold a certain amount of power in itself as well. I like to think of it as passing the conversation ball back and forth. Listening and relating to each other’s experiences, perspectives, and maybe even biases serves to help us understand each other a little better. It especially helps us better relate as humans. Plus providing a listening ear may even aid in easing some of those biases.
Though the friendly “agree to disagree” debate can have its own repercussions; but that usually is the result of someone not upholding their end of their agreement.
Not too long ago I had one of those conversations. I was essentially told that the commies were taking food from the people’s mouths with their social programs and public art displays and now all of the immigrants were going to take our jobs.
He then continued to rhapsodize about the founding fathers and what a good bunch of Christians they were to found such a great Christian nation. I gently tried to correct him that they themselves were a bunch of immigrants and their intent was to create a nation that upheld the idea of freedom of religion but that went over about as well as a conversation with Foghorn Leghorn.
With that I thought to myself--listen up son you might learn something and I politely asked him if he knew anything about North Dakota history.
Informing this gentleman that North Dakota politics started out with quasi socialist leanings went over like a lead balloon. I’m pretty sure I hit a nerve with the word “Socialist.” He didn’t want to hear about the origins of the state-owned mill or our State Bank or a woman correcting him for that matter.
With that, I was told that I hated America. It’s not every day a tall girl in funny glasses drifts off the beaten path and ruins your day...if you’re lucky. The other lesson to be learned here is that the louder you squawk doesn’t make you right or establish credibility.
I think I may have lost a five minute friend during that conversation but there comes a point to where you can’t listen to any more regurgitated Fox News malarkey and alternative facts and histories. It’s toxic and solidifies that a reliable news and information source is imperative.
It’s sad how history can get lost and so distorted. If people remembered the origins of the NPL, the New Deal and the trustbusters of the last century maybe we really could make America great again but then again I don’t think it ever really stopped being great. It just got a little cloudy. Be sure to vote and be an informed voter. Be a part of the conversation rather than the problem and if you’re going to squawk for the love of liberty know what you’re squawking about.
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