The last year has made clear that Americans have stopped listening to one another.
Sure, we can hear lots of talking. But most often the conversations involve people speaking breathlessly to others who fervently agree.
It has become common to see people walking away from friends, avoiding family, and blocking followers. We tell stories about the evil people we find impossible to understand, and we declare our affinity solely to #MAGA or #Resister.
I propose a simple 1-2-3 challenge to help us rediscover a sliver of the humanity that exists in one another:
(1) Listen to one hour of “the other side,”
(2) Hear one idea from the other side that “makes some sense,” and
(3) Tell that one idea on our Facebook, Twitter, Gab, Tik Tok, Instagram, blog, podcast, or other communication channel, explaining why it makes sense.
Listening could involve a conversation with someone on the “other side,” watching video of the “other side’s case” from the 2nd impeachment trial, listening to an hour of the “other side’s news,” or reading an article from a representative of the “other side.”
Hearing means understanding. There is almost always something that “makes sense” about some of our crazy neighbor’s assertions. Occasionally we agree with a single point of policy. More often we share a sentiment, sympathize with some suffering, relate to a resentment, or recognize that we have similar hopes and dreams for our children. There is almost always something to hear.
Telling could be through any method: writing, video, or voice. It could involve a social media channel, facebook, twitter, instagram, tik tok, or gab, a website, a newsletter, or a blog.
It might even be most heartfelt if said to a former friend or relative:
“I know we’ve disagreed in the past. Listening to you now, I understand that there are things we can agree upon, including ________. Perhaps we can start a conversation. Let’s focus first on how we agree, rather than dwelling only on how we disagree.”