Honest discourse difficult. But essential.

If I am wrong about something, tell me but do not dismiss my meanings by complaining about my style of discourse. The message may be at least as important as the messenger. That said, I will say this about democratic discourse and politeness. Politeness is, too often, an enemy of vital truths, politeness of the kind where one agrees so as not to offend those who might disagree, those who might be offended by another’s truths. Truth is what gets lost in the overly polite and accommodating discourse.To be truthful, when I say something I do believe that I am right. Otherwise I would not say it. Too, if I disagree with something someone else says, I always have reason for disagreeing, my signaling such an invitation for arguments to be put forth to move toward agreement based on actual agreement.I write this because I am fearful. I am fearful that the notion that if everyone says what he or she things and what is said is accepted nicely, there is no direction in the discourse, no chance of it moving participants to truths and, as the discourse in my circles has been directed too often by those who insist on enforcing a politeness that makes conversation impotent, without the possibility of guiding meaningful action.I will continue to write and engage in conversation with anyone who wished to do so with me, with hope that we might do to one another what meaningful democratic discourse does, make one another think so much through discussion of our disagreement that we think our way to truths that lead to meaningful action.

By lafered

Retired professor of education concerned with thoughtfulness

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