Conflict is the place where good ideas are born. Problem is, conflict is really hard to manage. Getting to the good ideas requires some level of civility. Well, maybe a bit more than some.
I am wondering if I still have the ability to hear what someone I disagree with is saying, or if I can’t get beyond “my side.” With my varsity letter in debate, it’s no surprise that I am all for a good row of ideas. But it seems that persuasion (or even discussion) has become a binary sport–1 or 0, win or lose.
We have the nuclear option (or is that nucular?) and the filibuster. Neither of which really facilitate a good discussion toward a good decision. It is either I win, or I lose. You lose, and I win. It’s all a big show.
So, do I do the same thing? Or do I look for common ground? Is it always black and white, or can a middle ground be located?
The first time I was in New Orleans, a friend I was visiting called the median in the road “the neutral ground.” Being from the North, I was clueless. He said that local legend has it that the neutral ground got its name from early New Orleans when the French and Spanish could do business between sections of the city standing on the “neutral ground.”
If you found the neutral ground and went there for discussion, do you risk your irate opponent careening up and running you over?