Friday, February 18, 2011

Discussion, Debate and Persuasion

One of the things that we see and hear going on in Congress can best be described as noise. Each person in the "fight" to solve the United States "problems" defines their goals and terms in their own way. Many of the others in the "fight" are doing the same thing. So when citizens listen to the "noise" they have a strong tendency to hear those that appear to agree with their personal goals. Understandable.

On the other hand, this type of discussion/debate can never be resolved without the concentration of power on a single solution and that solution simply crushes all other solutions. Unfortunately, we've all be taught that might doesn't necessarily make right. And so power isn't as valuable to us as discussion/debate. After all, President Lincoln impressed on us the idea that what we have is ". . .government of the people, by the people, for the people. . ."

Paul Krugman in a piece titled, Willie Sutton Wept, does an excellent job of describing our situation today. Instead, what we appear to have in the United States today is power politics. Krugman wrote, "The bottom line, then, is that while the budget is all over the news, we’re not having a real debate; it’s all sound, fury, and posturing, telling us a lot about the cynicism of politicians but signifying nothing in terms of actual deficit reduction. And we shouldn’t indulge those politicians by pretending otherwise."

We can't fix what they're doing in Congress, but we can resolve not to do the same thing ourselves. We can learn how to conduct civil discourse with the goal in mind of resolving important issues for the best overall outcome for all of us.

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