Virginia’s Community Colleges
We need to learn to listen better to each other, but that’s so much easier said than done. We seem to find that anything that challenges our own school of thought is something that needs to be feared, and therefore something that needs to be countered, rather than lowering the temperature by saying, let me listen, what might I gain by listening and growing in my understanding of seeing another side to what I have understood previously. We’re all creatures of habit. So, what I think the public needs to do right now is get out of your comfort zone. Just the same way I tell the police, get out of your comfort zone. Go visit a church of a different denomination, see how they do things. Go visit a different church of a different race. See how they do things. Talk to a neighbor of a different race and have an honest conversation. Don’t just blow ‘em off. If this person is saying this is how I feel, listen to them. I think the most important thing that each of us needs to do to improve public discourse is to be willing to get outside of our own echo chambers. I think it’s become far too easy through traditional media, through social media, through our interactions with our friends and neighbors to put ourselves in a position where we’re only hearing viewpoints that affirm or reinforce what we already think. And I think that the more we can make ourselves uncomfortable and we can expose ourselves to other points of view, the better our public discourse will be.