THIS IS NOT A WINNING DEBATE STRATEGY…

January 4th, 2018

180102 tom tomorrow this modern world debate tactics

When I first saw this cartoon my mind went to Celeste Headlee’s We Have to Talk. I’ve since finished reading the excellent book and posted all of my notes to my electronic chapbook. I think this bit, as difficult as it will seem to contemplate, applies:

SHOW RESPECT: In order to show respect, you’ll have to view the other person as a human being, deserving of respect. And you’ll need to find a way to empathize with them., in spite of your disagreements. One way to do this is to assume that everyone is trying to bring about some kind of positive result in their lives. p. 69

You can practice your empathy skills by watching a video of a public figure you don’t agree with. [I picked Jim Renacci] Watch a speech given by that person or an interview they’ve done, and focus on seeing that person as someone trying to accomplish something they believe to be good. From their point of view, their end goal is positive and constructive. Try to imagine what that end goal is. Focus on their positive intentions. p. 70

Watching nearly an hour of Jim Renacci at the City Club the first time was painful and nauseating. But I stuck with the task and then repeated the experience. Several times Each time keeping Headlee’s words before me. It took a few times, but now I do see Renacci as someone who sees his point of view, his end goal, as positive and constructive. I still vehemently disagree with him, but I think I’m coming to understand how he got to where he is and where he wants to go.

You should gives this a try.

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