An Alternative Conversation Project

The last few weeks have been dominated by the United States political process.  We have watched as individuals launch into scorching tirades about the candidates and their positions. We’ve then been subjected to those who opine about the stupidity of those who launch into scorching tirades — thus, becoming as offensive as the original commentators.

We have witnessed the phenomenon of escalation as people’s hands hover over the “REACT” button — always seeking to be one-up or smarter or cuter or, even, more hateful.

Then there are the multitudes of people, including me, who ask people to be considerate. To some extent, our efforts simply add to the escalation. Others don’t want me telling them how to behave. The “REACT” button gets punched again.

So, why don’t others listen to rationale, well-meaning people like me?

Simple. I don’t really offer them anything positive in return.

What if we did offer something?

I’m convinced that people can talk civilly about issues and interests without attacking each other. The question is, “How is that best done?”

I am collecting ideas on an alternative conversation project — a different way to talk when we have diverse opinions and even beliefs. We trust that this could be a safe forum for sharing interests, explaining positions, and generating possible solutions.

What do you think? What would this look like? How could be be involved?

We want to hear from you. Please send your ideas to copej@acu.edu. I’ll be sharing these ideas on PeaceBytes.org and through the Duncum Center for Conflict Resolution at Abilene Christian University.

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