Opinion: Divisive discourse


The world is filled with people who care too little. They fail to inform themselves well enough to vote. They don’t invest in their careers, families, or futures. They ignore the suffering around them. They are disinterested in others to the point of neglect. We all know them. The world also is filled with people who care too much. They are voracious consumers of media and become polarized to the point of activism. They fixate on their careers, families, or next steps. They obsess over negative realities inure to the human condition. They control others to the point of oppression. We all know them.

These poles illustrate the absurdity of absolutism. Still, would the world keep spinning were it not for the axis upon which it must revolve? Is the most temperate climate always at the equator? Is it the purview of only the remarkable among us to find and maintain a sublime balance? Or is the duty levied upon each of us to love and support just as passionately as we provoke and challenge?

Most who have been called to lead know the burden of disagreement. It is considerably easier to accommodate than to expect better. Handing out candy is easier than teaching the lesson of rotten teeth. The arm is not in challenging those we love but in ignoring them. Yet if we never give candy, especially if we have a full basket of it, do we foment resentment? With maturity, most of us figure out where the guardrails are. Do we have disagreements in our lives that we imagine annoyances instead of gestures of love? We carefully choose those with whom we engage in deep and ardent discourse. The risk is too great and the effort too significant to endure with those whom we do not hold dear.