Hetero, Homo, or Plain Horrific

1008No. This is not a discussion about his or anyone’s sexual orientation. This about living heterogeneous or homogeneous lives and whether there is any room in the political arena for generous listening and respect for someone else’s point of view. This is an inquiry into how we think about life and the world and the current state of our Uncivil society.

A couple of years ago I wrote a blog called “Free Speech: Who’s Listening” in which I pointed to the fact that increasingly we’re only talking to those who agree with us, we listen to ‘our’ TV and Radio stations, rarely have serious conversations or challenge our beliefs and live in our ethnic-ideological silos immune from any ideas that might shake or transform our smug and self-righteous points of view. This is being played out big time in this Presidential primary season.

Donald Trump is the poster boy for this way of being in the world but is by no means alone. With few exceptions all we hear are an avalanche of negative assessments about the ‘others’ spouted as truth with closed-minded certainty and no room for a counter view or even much room or time to think about what has been asserted. To give another the benefit of the doubt is unheard of. And obviously someone is behind the scenes fueling the furor since within hours everyone seems to be using the same talking points and throwing the same mud to the point of using the same language.

While this might be viewed as a spectator sport I think it reveals a much deeper and destructive cultural drift – a cancer that at some point destroys the patient. It is the automatic and addictive commitment we have to the idea that the point of communication is to get AGREEMENT — to HOMOGINIZE everyone’s thinking and points of view into a mash of sameness to the point that there nothing further to say beyond “Heil Donald (or whoever the reigning Czar might be).

What is lost is diversity of thought, creative tension, civil discourse and above all relationship between us. And without relationship, including respect and mutual acknowledgment of the others right to participate in the process whether it is politics or marriage, there can be no common future. There can only be winners and losers.

I am not optimistic that the current acrimony and divisiveness will end any time soon. Usually it is only in times of great threat or crisis or in the presence of a great leader that adversaries come together and begin the messy process of creating a future that can work for and be inclusive of all members of the community.

Most will agree that we have many serious threats to our way of life, to our society and to civilization. Whether the threat is climate change, corruption, terrorism, refugees from the developing world, economic instability, lack of food and water, biodiversity or all of the above, we can be certain that we will either work together to resolve them or our civilization will die as surely as those before us and as sure as each one of us will someday die. At the end the only question is what did we do with our allotted time and whether we lived, learned and loved with a generous spirit and open heart. This is the choice we have each moment of every day.