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Just Two Words

What does it take to reach compromise, win votes or capture hearts?

I don’t cling to my beliefs on behalf of a party. I am conservative in some ways and liberal in others, so it is discouraging to see so much time wasted, and so much energy used for no good result. Over the last year, several of my friends and I talked about Sequestration. We discussed what it would mean to our community. We tried to hail a warning to officials. We attempted to get other friends to believe it and plan for it. Now that it is upon us, it is too late. Of course, it has already been too late for a long time, even farther back than the last year.

The Washington Post had an excellent article by Chris Cizzilla on Friday.  Chris attempted to explain some of the manipulations, misunderstandings and miscommunication that got us where we are today. The comments were the same mix of Democrat/Republican/Liberal comments I read on every blog. Everyone has an opinion and no one is really listening to anyone else.

These very same people, ready to come to blows, may be members of the ASPCA. Some of the most strident, rude and obnoxious comments may be exchanged by members of the same fraternal organization like the Elks.  The hatred and vitriol may be between members of the same church. The lack of understanding and inability to compromise is destroying our country, but it is the unwillingness to even listen that prevents progress on any level.

No wonder we don’t want to listen! We’re lambasted with rudeness. Remarks made anonymously are particularly venomous because those people feel safe to say anything and you’ll never know who they are. Surely it’s not a neighbor or your friend who spouted that vile remark!

How long before that type of dialog becomes prevalent in every day communication? Isn’t it slipping in already? Haven’t you heard remarks made, derisive terms used, and denigrating comments about our President? How many times have you heard simply “Obama”?  It is a sign of respect to call the President by his title. He is, after all, the elected leader of the United States. I don’t agree with many of the decisions that come from that oval office, but never once would I dream of using a disrespectful term.

I attended a public function recently in a crowded room. A gentleman over six feet tall stood in front of me. He kept shifting from side to side in a sort of rocking motion, and I couldn’t see unless I shifted at the same time he did. I finally put my hand on his arm and whispered his name. He did try to stop what I think was an involuntary movement, but I wondered if he had just considered asking me if I (at 5’3”) might like to step in front of him? Wouldn’t we both have been happy, then? I glanced to my right and saw two young men seated in comfortable chairs while many elders stood and I wondered why those young men didn’t offer their seats to someone else.

Is it really so difficult to reach an agreement? What is actually required of us? I think courtesy and respect are required for compromise. I think the lack of courtesy and respect is the heart of our problems, whether political discussion, Sequestration, living in a neighborhood or even crime.  

You can disagree with me, respectfully and I understand your point of view, but if you disagree with me by yelling, using obscenities, or any other rude behavior, I stop listening. Then, it no longer matters what you say. You’ve lost the opportunity to change my mind.

I’m fairly certain I am not the only one who thinks like this, feels like this. For aspiring politicians and for established politicians, I think it important that you take note:
Don’t try to win my vote by trashing your opponent.  Stand on your own merit. Treat your opponent with courtesy and respect. Tell me what you can do to improve life for us, not what your opponent has done wrong. Those are the things that win my loyalty, my support and my vote.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Rich Anderson February 25, 2013 at 01:35 PM
Connie: You have nailed it! In our public discourse, it's crucial that we listen to each other, especially those who offer a differing viewpoint. Despite the challenges of legislating in Richmond, members of both parties deal with one another with a refreshing civility that is dramatically different from what we see in Washington. Thank you for highlighting this issue for us all...you are a great community leader! Del. Rich Anderson 51st House District Virginia General Assembly
Connie Moser February 25, 2013 at 01:40 PM
Thank you so much Rich. You are the benchmark for courtesy and respect...much appreciated and greatly admired. Thanks for reading and for your comment. Connie
Wanda Carter February 25, 2013 at 02:25 PM
Great article. 'Courtesy,and Respect' are supposed to be taught in the home, and at school. How many forget 'watch your manners'.

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