It seems to be a trend in today's world that civil discourse is almost a thing of the past. Politics have made things worse as the best thing for the country is sacrificed for the best thing for the party, philosophy, planned restructuring of a system that has worked fairly well for over two hundred years. There seems to be no room left to quietly discuss a topic and agree to either disagree, partially agree, or completely agree. Also the national press seem to take sides and truth takes a hike.
Getting along has taken the road of agree with me and you are reasonable or disagree with me or (pick one) you are a racist, ignorant, unwilling to comprimise, bigoted, homo phobe, religious nut, you get the point.
Try to dispute global warming and you are bent on destroying the earth, inviting aliens to attack, a capitalist pig, or any other insult that can be hurled including rocks now.
I just attended a gathering of people from all walks of life, religious views, political views, urban, rural, suburban. They were public employees, professionals, artists, retired, university presidents and professors, community activists, entertainers, farmers, ranchers, journalists, newspaper owners, and the list goes on.
We spent a weekend discussing topics at random and chosen, and had a frankly, productive and enjoyable time. Politness was the order of the day, nothing was off limits except an attitude and argument. It was wonderful! This very eclectic group came away as friends and may take a different viewpoint home with them, and all looking forward to next year.
I am not going to name the group because the whole idea is complete freedom to speak. Everything is off the record and there is no recordings, pictures or interviews. It was so refreshing to discuss calmly the good, the bad, and the ugly without the shouts of radicalism appearing.
It is a shame that the parents who grew up in the 60's and 70's have forgotten to instill simple politness into their children who are now raising children. The actions we see on the news all over the world would cause most peoples grandparents to wash their mouths out with soap and take a hickory switch to them behind the barn. It is good to know that there are still people in the world that can come together and discuss topics and part as friends.