How We Broke Democracy (But Not in the Way You Think)
Tobias Rose-Stockwell
2.9K270

This was so well done, and so true. I credit an old high school (now Facebook) friend of mine for opening my eyes, about 2 1/2 years ago. I was reposting articles I received in my own feed. I had never been someone who watched the evening news, so really, I didn’t have a huge history to compare the news I was getting now to, and I had just been taking it all at face value.

He challenged me, and I don’t back down from a challenge. Also, i didn’t like hearing that I was being single-minded and one-dimensional in my thinking. I started making a focused effort to investigate both sides of anything I found interesting. I stopped trusting news that confirmed my own feelings until I had looked at the viewpoint that contradicted them.

I realized I had been wrong about a lot of things. I realized that those guys maybe had a point.

I also realized, after being swatted down like a fly, that no one wanted to hear that from me. They didn’t want their eyes opened. They weren’t interested in listening to, and honestly considering the merits of, the other guy’s arguments.

Even my mom…I would try to have a conversation with her that would challenge her perspective on a subject and after about 30 seconds I would have to QUICKLY change the subject to avoid someone hanging up on the other person in a rage.

Eventually, I gave up. I wasn’t strong enough to stand up in the middle and say, HEY!!! YOU ARE BOTH RIGHT, AND YOU ARE BOTH WRONG!!!

I’m getting a little better at it. It takes a very delicate touch. And it may never do another person a lick of good. But that Facebook friend absolutely changed my entire human experience, because now I’m compelled to look at every issue from the other guy’s perspective and see where he might have valid concerns.

It makes me seem wishy-washy, I know. But I don’t care. It’s not that I don’t have strong feelings about things, it’s just that I know that my feelings aren’t the only ones in this mess that matter.

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.