The State of Conversation is Strong
Despite the stupid stuff we keep saying
My fellow humans, the state of our conversation is strong—though “strong” may not the first word that comes to mind.
I’ve spent the last few weeks in a funk. Given Trump’s call for banning Muslim entry into the U.S, and Franklin Graham’s approval of that plan (never mind that Graham’s inherited salvation-industry hinges on reaching out to the very people he wants to ban, which is bad for his business model); and given Jerry Falwell Jr.’s call to arm his student body; and given what seems to be tacit agreement with these lunacies by a too-large percentage of my nation’s population, it seems the voices calling us to act on fear are winning.
But here are two hopeful signs:
- A poll out today suggests that the majority of Americans do not agree with Trump’s fear-mongering.
- An open letter from Wheaton College students to Jerry Falwell Jr. rejecting his strange twist on Christianity and reminding him that the religion he espouses has little in common with the hostility he voices.
Beyond those signs, the inflammatory rhetoric flying about can at times serve to stimulate solid conversation. For me those conversations have come out of a pit of despair, but they can still be productive. Just saying aloud what we really think can be like draining the pus from a wound: ugly but necessary. Maybe our conversations can start a long-term suturing that can help us heal. But we’ll need to listen to each other and not respond out of our instinctual fear.
All this fear-rhetoric is pivoting me away from the rabid voices and back toward seeking conversations with people who are different. At our best we welcome people even as we trust. We start by engaging in conversation.
Fie on the fear-mongerers.
Image credit: Kirk Livingston