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I’m Right and You’re an Idiot


 Dear Friends,    I’m Right and You’re an Idiot    7/20/17
  The political left and right are saying and thinking this about each other these days. Thus we find ourselves paralyzed stuck in gridlock not talking to each other.  There’s a wall between us.

 James Haggan’s book by this name seeks to face this dilemma head on as he draws on the ideas of 22 others one in each chapter.  He interviews most of them.
Each is very deeply concerned for our life together. They include Pope Francis, Thich Nhat Hanh, Dali Lama, Karen Armstrong, and Noam Chomsky.

Some of the wisdom Haggan reaped from them is things like “rather than highlighting our differences, we   should be working toward finding common ground.”  “We need to speak the truth but not to punish the other.” “We need to have respect for the other and always keeping in mind that the other might be right and we might be wrong, be open.”  “Self-righteous attitudes get in the way of good dialogue.” “To be persuasive we must appeal to people’s values and speak from a moral and an emotional position, rather than more data and statistics.”  “Focus on what really matters to people.” “Conversation should be to encourage participation not to crush the opposition.” “We need to regain the conviction we need each other.” “Speaking from the heart, with frankness, ethical conviction and reasonableness, allows people to connect.”

 I think both left and right need to incorporate these ideas into their thinking and conversation.  Coming from the progressive left I know the left needs them. Tearing down the wall is of utmost importance for us all.

 Pray I can work these ideas into my dialogs at the Bureau County Fair 8/23-8/27.
 Shalom, to you,
 Jim


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