The Advantages of Civil Conversation

This week, Concordia had the privelege of hosting two well-known political minds, Mary Matelin and James Carville, for an evening of debate and discussion. Of course, any “political awareness” event at Concordia tends to come with its share of opinions from a variety of third-party sources, and this event was no exception. But regardless of what is said about the featured guests, the moderator, or the sponsorship of the event, we can probably learn something from the spirit of civil debate that the event embodied.

It’s no secret that political polarization is a major force in the current domestic political scene. Ironically, while it seems to drive most people crazy, it hasn’t really gone away. Most likely, with an election only a year away, it won’t go away for a while. And yet, simply talking through differences without raising our voices is a fantastic way to move forward and find common ground.

That shouldn’t have to result in the sacrifice of values or the dilution of ideas. In fact, we should still ask hard questions of those with whom we disagree, examine every topic vigorously and argue passionately for those things we believe to be true. But people can still cling steadfastly to their opinions while engaging in cordial dialogue.

The Matelin/Carville event has generated its fair share of criticism, and this, too, is part of the civil exchange of opinions. Those conversations should continue and evoke further questions about our current political climate.

For that matter, why let the conversations stop with the political climate? Civil conversation is a fantastic way to get anything done. Do you want changes in DS? They’ll listen if you talk to them. Do you think that drivers should be allowed to turn right on red at the 8th Street/12th Avenue intersection? Have a discussion about it with the city planners of Moorhead. There may not be any guarantee of change, but it never hurts to talk it out politely; it’s amazing how much can be accomplished.

Word to your mother,

Mary Beenken, Editor-in-Chief

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