I deal in hope : Carolyn R Scheidies

Blog Politics Tolerance should always be in fashion

I almost don’t want to get on the Facebook pages of our representatives at any level of government. The vitriol is almost unreal. It is as though, for many Americans, tolerance and basic decency aren’t part of their thought processes or behavior.

For example, what many individuals say on Representative Adrian Smith’s public page should make them hang their heads in shame. Many express opinions with name-calling, accusations, and absolutely no tolerance for someone with another point of view.

This has been building for years as our culture of respect and tolerance has disintegrated. It became especially nasty with those whose hatred for President Trump became almost pathological. Didn’t help when certain Representatives and Senators egged this on by encouraging the public to get in the faces of those in the Trump administration to the point some were accosted on the streets or run out of restaurants. Have Americans become little more than an angry mob with no sense of looking for facts beyond rumors before reacting? This goes for too many media outlets that spread little more than inuendoes and half-baked assumptions instead of fact-based news.

Such behavior certainly does not speak well for us as citizens. Liking or disliking a president should not lead to such hatred. Even though I really saw Obama and now Bidden as destroying our Constitutional Republic, I refuse to hate them. I may seek to change things, but never with name-calling, threats, or the spewing I see and read constantly now—behavior that is anything but tolerant. Such behavior changes nothing. Want to make a difference? Get involved and make changes in a positive way. One way is to get involved with the candidates you like. Another way is to communicate with those who’ve been elected. But there is a right and a wrong way to do so. It starts with letting go of irrational fury which freezes rational thought.

I have written articles, shared at conferences, and included in my book “Especially For the Christian Writer” how to communicate in a way to be “heard”—in a way others won’t turn you off. This includes letters to businesses, government representatives, and letters to the editor.

If you wish to be taken seriously, make sure you have the facts, let go of the anger that stops rational thinking, write with passion, but with respect, without name-calling, intimidation, or nastiness. Why should anyone listen to an angry rant that is full of emotion but devoid of facts? Consider how you want to be approached or treated. Think tolerance. In other words, communicate with respect for the office if not for the other person. If you would not spew garbage to the person face-to-face, then it is certainly not appropriate in print where everyone sees you at your irrational worst.

Ask. What do you really wish to convey? What is the best way to do that in order to be taken seriously? How will I feel about this rant five, ten, and more years down the road? Is this what I wish to teach my kids? Respect and thoughtfulness will get you much further than spewing anger. Wish to communicate? Calm down, think beyond your anger, and consider long-term consequences. Then communicate in a way to gain a listening ear.

Remember tolerance should always be in fashion.

© 2021 Carolyn R Scheidies

My column published in the Kearney Hub 4/26/2021

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