Important issues, such as immigration, Down Syndrome, the national debt, social programs, military spending and religion can be argued by intelligent people. Citing credible sources and studies, reasonable and intelligent people will disagree and that is as it should be.
Significant issues are only narrowly defined by the narrow-minded.
We are a passionate people. Passion can be good, but
unbridled passion needs to be tempered. Apathy never got anyone anywhere. But a
relentless, closed minded passion can also become a great weakness, a powerful
and crippling deficiency that goes misunderstood, or worse, unacknowledged by
those who are drained by it.
One can be certain of their beliefs and still be wise enough
to explore opposing beliefs. We can often find truth and ideas we have not
considered by honestly considering opposing ideas and positions. The exact
opposite is true if we only consider opinions that match our own views. Yet,
this seems to be exactly what many citizens choose to do. How can a closed
minded population be what is best for America?
Believing what is said on MSNBC or FOX News without even
checking the facts leads to this closed mindedness. Imagine that we don’t even
bother to check the facts. A disturbing question arises when considering our
choice of news sources. Do we choose our source because our own beliefs,
prejudices ad opinions are supported by a particular news program or talk radio
To a large degree, we have become a closed-minded citizenry
and a polarized society. There has always been a majority and minority group in
congress. For hundreds of years opposing political parties have managed to
compromise and work together to pass legislation that the serving president
would sign. Today, we seem to be moving into a new type of congress; one where
the majority party and the minority party simply demand ‘my way or the
Congressional gridlock is
one of the casualties of our closed-minds. Surely, most beliefs and opinions
are not so perfect that improvement is impossible. Reasonable people can differ
and can compromise. Can any relationship succeed without compromise? Imagine a marriage
without compromise. Two people joined for life would have to have the exact
same beliefs throughout the duration of a lifetime. (Yes, I know that most
marriages do not last a lifetime. I suspect part of the problem may be a lack
Before we can even consider compromise, we must be willing
to listen with the intent of learning. Most of us only hesitate to speak until
the other party finishes describing their beliefs. In other words, we are
polite and do not interrupt, but instead of listening we are formulating our reply.
Hot button topics like illegal immigration and the Affordable
Care Act bring out the worst in us. Just using the phrases ‘illegal immigration’
and the ‘Affordable Care Act’ are enough to set some people off. They insist we
must use the phrases ‘illegal alien’ and ‘Obamacare’ when explaining our
opinions. How can we be open-minded if the use of a
simple phrase or term creates such hostility? I am not writing about curse
words or racist words. Everyday words and phrases should not cause such anger.
Closed minds are not in our nation’s best interest. In fact,
the free exchange of ideas is a building block of our freedom. We cannot have
an exchange of ideas with closed minds. This does not mean we must surrender our
principles or that our ideas are wrong. It simply means that we honestly try to
understand another viewpoint and consider how our ideas and opinion can merge
with ideas and opinions that we don’t necessarily like.
I have been guilty of this and worsening matters by rolling my eyes.
Oddly, many of these same people object to being criticized for being
politically incorrect and suggest that pushing a person to speak a certain way