Civil Discourse Is Dead. Let’s Revive It.

James Lakin | CHICAGO

Outside of Trump Tower sat Rabbi Mira Rivera of Harlem Hevruta on Monday to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Sukkah and protest Donald Trump’s immigration ban. In protest, Rivera and nearly a dozen other Rabbis constructed a bamboo hut outside of the tower, which they state is both intended to remind Americans of the susceptibility of everybody and protest the “opulent and excessive lifestyle” of President Trump.


Rabbi Ronaldo Matalon stated, “Nobody’s safe, particularly here. If we are surrounded by big buildings and gold-plated statues and economic strength and power, it doesn’t mean we are a strong society.”

These Rabbis, like so many Americans, are demurring what they deem to be unjust. A commendable action which epitomizes the basis upon which our democracy was constructed. Unfortunately, the utilization of the right to expression seems to be the only bipartisan activity within our nation, therefore we know that democracy is alive and well, but the question must be begged for those on both sides, which is where did our nation’s civil discourse go?

Liberals protest what they deem to be the poor leadership of this administration whilst Conservatives protest what they deem to be a threat to their rights to bear arms and exercise free speech; but will either side be capable of changing the minds of millions through burning American flags and accosting protestors or are they another party culpable of acceding to the erroneous notion that dividing Americans will unite them?


So many Americans believe that their actions will be to no avail. However, many Liberals and Conservatives continually perpetuate dogmatic notions and rhetoric because those who lead our society have a great deal to benefit off of this practice.

Politicians gain greater political control and are able to appease their bases with ease through pandering to their emotions. As a result, Liberals fear Trump will drive our nation into an apocalyptic state whilst Conservatives believe that Liberals are attempting to rescind their rights.

Moreover, celebrities increase their ratings by subscribing to their base, take Jimmy Kimmel, whose recent plea for gun control garnered nearly 10 million views on YouTube. Like so many in Hollywood, Kimmel succumbs to the allure of better ratings and views rather than utilizing comedy, something which has proven to unite peoples for generations, to better the relations between Americans.

This demonstrates the notions of media in general, many news networks have also utilized the same tactics as Kimmel to garner increased viewership. Take, for example, Fox News, in the last 10 years this network has been able to grow its viewership by nearly 400 million views a week, a feat which would cease to be accomplished without our nation being so divided.


With such practices pitting friends, neighbors, and families against each other our nation requires a solution. The solution is you. If everybody suppresses their urges to subscribe to bipartisan notions perhaps we can see a day when everybody can discuss politics at the dinner table. And yes, this starts with you, the reader of this article. I encourage you to have a discussion with a Liberal or Conservative friend to truly understand their doctrines in an open and productive manner.

Admittedly, I, at times, fail to notice the consequences of perception. When I assert my political opinion I let it become me. This is inherently a mistake because as a result there is a preconceived notion upon which I subscribe to, which states that to question our politics is to question my being.

Any reasonable person would know this to be absurd, something I am aware of, but in the moment I, like so many, am seldom focused on the societal consequences of my actions.

To counteract this I truly listen to the opinions of my peers, engage in a discussion, and inquire to better understand their policy. In fact, my opinions have changed on several issues as a result of this bipartisan discussion. In high school, I supported closed borders, but after listening to a compelling contention provided to me by a former teacher I learned to respect and understand the notion that refugees possess many benefits.

Listening is inherently the best medium to promote civil discourse. And it sounds so simple, but it is a skill which so many of us lack. In the coming weeks, I encourage you to review your sources of information and carefully review the means by which you choose to opine. Doing so is an arduous task, but the results which incur are positive for you, your friends, and society.

So many yearn for a day when we are truly free. Free of rhetoric and political animosity and such yearning can prove to be a reality if we can change our ways.

NOTE: The views of this editorial do not necessarily coincide with those of 71 Republic, LLC or its proprietors.


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