By Kevin Damato | United States
Recently, I was praised by my one of my peers for my handling of a heated debate with a student on my campus who disagreed with me politically. At first, I was confused and didn’t view myself as doing anything special. But after further analysis, my eyes were finally opened to the extent of our communication problems across the country. We have become inundated with emotion, hatred and flat-out stupidity. My words won’t do justice to how sad it was to realize that it is “enlightening” to write about how to have a conversation with another person.
Political disunity has reached an all-time high in the United States and has fascinated me with normalizing our interactions with one another. I have sought out to write about guns in a two-part series, with one article coming out this week on “the right” and another next week on “the left.” I aim to convince my audience that neither side of the traditional political spectrum is free of blame on these types of issues.
The Problem with the Right Wing’s View of Guns
Those on the “political right” seem bewildered by the recent uptick in support for gun control and their tribalistic response of more political jabs has only led to further polarization. They’re missing the point. Like all other political issues, approaching with a truly open mind without toxic rhetoric goes a long way.
Traditionally, it is “the right” who makes comments on “the left’s” excessive usage of emotion, but in this case, it is actually the other way around.
The largest concern I have with “the right’s” approach on guns is their lack of understanding of “the left’s” position. It seems as if the general population yearns for the disgraceful violence of homicides, police malfeasance, and most importantly mass shootings to end. Some people believe the most reasonable solution to these problems are forms of gun control, whether it be more background checks, magazine limitations, or outright bans. Typical combatants hear the proposed solution and become belligerent, irrationally spewing labels like “gun grabber”, “snowflake”, or “liberal.” This is the wrong reaction.
As an oppositional force in this circumstance, it would be much more effective to:
- First, acknowledge that the end goal is a noble one. We can all agree that these kinds of tragedies are disgusting and ultimately, getting rid of them would be optimal.
- Second, ask how they know forms of gun control work. Press your opponent on providing statistics or evidence to support their point.
- Third, be respectful. You can’t expect everyone to have the same opinion as you, especially prior to having a meaningful conversation. Keep your cool, don’t raise your voice, and give the other person ample time to talk.
The intelligent layman will probably be groaning at these points. “I already do all of these things”, they might say. Perhaps this is the case, and if you do, I commend you. I would point out that, however, you are in the minority.
I implore you to share these basic tips with others as you inevitably stumble upon another foolish argument that only makes the state of affairs in the country worse.
We, as a societal body, are going down the wrong path. We, as a societal body, need to encourage more Socratic, civil discourse. We, as a societal body, can do better.
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