My mother told me never play with fire. She also said, never discuss politics, religion, or sex. But, then she and a few others did – vigorously. It never went well – and nobody ever changed their mind, especially as the words heated up.
Words that change people’s minds are precious and rare.
Given that we are the only species that share the attribute of language, it’s sad that our words can drive us farther apart, confounding communication.
You might not guess it from the tone of the angry words assaulting our ears and eyes, but nothing new happened in the past few days. Although the daily reports may shock, people behaving badly and boasting about it isn’t new. But angry words lead to sickening actions: I think about Charles Sumner.
What is new is that we can hear about, and respond to those angry words at warp speed. As an old Trekkie, I think some of us have set our “phasers” a few notches beyond “stun.”
I am not immune from wanting to weaponize my words, especially when I can marshal facts to support my argument. Thinking I am fighting fire with fire* off I go, opening my mouth without engaging my brain, or my heart. ( I have a Right to Be Rude, Right?)
When I am tempted to fight fire with fire (debate current events — A.K.A. politics, religion or sex ) may I remember my father’s advice, from Mark Twain:
It’s better to keep your mouth shout, and have people think you a fool, than open it and remove all doubt.
When my opinion – about anything – is looming large, I am grateful for advice columnists
The trouble with talking too fast is you may say something you haven’t thought of yet. ~Ann Landers
When I do venture into the deep and murky waters of current events, here are Five Features of [Making] Better Arguments. I hope they help you engage with my arguments! (Thank you Pastor Patrick Lafferty for the link!) And I hope I remember a former psychiatrist’s analysis of current events.
Whenever you’re faced with an explanation of what’s going on in Washington, the choice between incompetence and conspiracy, always choose incompetence. ~ Charles Krauthammer
It’s a good thing God hasn’t resigned no matter how some are prone to impeach Him!
* Real World Experiences
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