In recent years, it is becoming more and more clear that we have lost the ability to debate, discuss and compromise. As a society, it feels more like we have settled into our own ideals, accept only the information that proves those and reject anything that might have us think about another side.
To see evidence of how bad this has gotten, you need to look no further than the Douglas County School Board. On Feb. 4, I sat through the more than three-hour meeting where board members dug in their heels, not accepting any responsibility for the events that have transpired and doing nothing but trying to make it clear why the other side was wrong.
In reality, there is plenty of blame to go around for both the minority and majority members.
To the majority, with the deciding votes in hand, you really could not just wait and hold public hearings? You really could not just give it some time to sort out?
To the minority, can you really tell yourselves the Jan. 31 meeting was not a publicity stunt? In what world did you think that tactic was going to help a superintendent fighting for his job?
Either way, both sides voiced their opinions and showed that good debate and compromise are not going to happen.
As with most elected boards across the country, decisions are made solely by whichever side holds the majority at the moment. How can good, common-sense rules and legislation be made when our elected officials fail to compromise and listen to each other?
No wonder election cycles keep bringing in new majorities. People get tired of what’s going on and decide they’ll vote in the other side in the next election. The following election, they are still tired and vote for another side.
It is not just elected officials either. Look at how citizens are behaving. For some reason, social media has given us all this massive ego where we are not afraid to say and do whatever it takes to make our point. We watch only the news station that validates our viewpoints.
When someone comes back with another point-of-view, the go-to reaction is to attack, call names and be as mean as possible.
For proof of this, look no further than the Littleton School District. How in the world does someone think a death threat is warranted over a vaccine clinic? Why does a superintendent need to threatened for doing what he believes is best for his students?
When did we lose the ability to see another point-of-view?
For those of us who try hard to see the middle, it becomes harder and harder to dig through the rhetoric and form an opinion based on facts. How do we know what the facts are when so much information is spewed out there everywhere? How can we truly know facts when we only look to find the information that proves our viewpoints are valid?
To stop the cycle, I challenge you to start considering the other side. Even when it is hard, think about another viewpoint. Or start watching a news channel you generally disagree with. I started doing this last year and have been impressed with the amount of information I would not have considered had I not considered another side.
Thelma Grimes is the South Metro Editor for Colorado Community Media.