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How can we restore civility and the art of listening?

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Message Mary MacElveen
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I have been debating whether or not to write this column. The reason is I do not wish to give power over someone who emailed me concerning my comparative piece of how the Iraqi people must think of President Bush.   

Someone took exception to this comparison and while I will not publish all of his email to me, since most of it contained expletives, it is this part of it that is most disturbing in which he said, “It’s a shame that Cho didn’t kill you” When I read that sentence, it hit me like a ton of bricks.  I was left to wonder if this person does want me dead.  I did not know what to do with this one particular email so I sent it on to a friend and confidant who writes for several major news papers.  His advice to me was do not answer him directly, so I will take his advice. 

But, it got me thinking; has civility gone out the window?  Can’t we have a difference of opinion in this country without wishing others harm?  I do not know about the feedback that other writers get, but there have been two other times in which people who read what I had to say wished me a similar harm. 

Whatever happened to the civility of debate within this country?  Are we long past that?  I seem to remember in high school taking a debate class in which you had to sit down, listen to what the other was saying without reverting to name calling or the use of expletives. 

You may not like the position one person is taking; but can’t we seem to rise above it all and say, you are free to think and take such a position?  Lately, as an exercise I have sat and listened to the views of others from the other side of the political aisle.  I did it for this reason to see if there were any commonalities.  Instead of digging my heels firmly into the ground and without budging, I wanted to see if I could at least listen.  I have found to my surprise it is possible to listen to another point without going nuts.  In fact some of their opinions have made sense to me. 

I have to admit that it does not work all the time. I may not like what Ann Coulter has to say or Rush Limbaugh for that matter and what they have said in the past and in the present still brings the bile up in my throat.  Would I ever think of emailing them a threat or wish of bodily harm?  Would I ever use expletives to drive my point home?  No, my parents raised me better. Also using expletives in a response shows ignorance.  By the way, I have emailed them in the past stating I have felt certain positions taken by them are wrong.  I even challenged Ann Coulter to a debate on the issues through an email.  I still have not heard back.  Cei la vie. 

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Mary MacElveen Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

I am a writer who currently writes pieces for my own blog http://www.mary-macelveen.blogspot.com I have been published by Buzzflash.com, TheLiberalPatriot.org and MikeHersh.com. I was a guest on the Jay Diamond Radio Show on WRKO in Boston and have (more...)
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