Let’s talk. From the Oxford English Dictionary, talk: verb, intrans. 1. Have or exercise the power of speech; communicate or exchange thoughts, feelings, information, etc. by speaking… Seems simple enough but rarely these days does “Let’s talk” actually mean an exchange of ideas.
“Let’s talk” is code for “shut up and listen to me rant.” Take “talk” radio and the television “discussion” shows for example. When is the last time you actually heard a genuine exchange of ideas on one of these programs? When is the last time someone on one of those shows actually finished a complete sentence? If you agree with the host, you get to talk. If you disagree, you are cut off or hung up on. Does that sound like a civil exchange of thoughts, feelings, information, etc. to you? Me either.
If you are on the Right looking at the left you see feminazis, commie libs, environmentalist wackos, politically correct liberals and so on. If you are on the Left, looking at the Right you see hairy-backed swamp developers, corporate shills, faith based economists, see through fundamentalist bullies, gun fetishists, ninja dittoheads and so on. Most of what we today call genuine, idea exchanges begin with name calling.
When is the last time you met someone new and they introduced themselves as “hi, I’m Joe Blow and I’m a commie lib” or “hi, I’m Josephine Brown and I have a gun fetish?” It doesn’t happen and it does not happen because we are all reasonable people, right? (Of course we are all above average drivers as well, but that is a topic for another time.) And since “we” are so reasonable, why aren’t “they” more reasonable? Just who are “they” anyway? They are your neighbors, coworkers, even your friends <gasp>. Face it, put ten humans in a room, ask a question and you will probably get 12 opinions.
So let us find out what “they” are talking about. Why do they have the opinion they have? Why do we have the opinion we have? Do we really know why? Are our opinions based in fact or just something we heard? This brings me to my usual shameless plug. Guess where you can find tons of different opinions and facts on just about any subject? You got it, your public library. Want to know more about the basis for your opinion or your neighbor’s? Check it out here, at your library. And hey, let’s talk.
Paul Paladino is the Executive Director of the Montrose Regional Library.