Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Dismissive Behavior-Perspective is Critical to Understanding Another’s Point of View

GS Don Morris, P.H.D.

Social media is used by so many around the world. Allow me a disclaimer from the top: I am not not social media savvy nor do I use it much. I do recognize it as a communication tool that seems to influence individuals’ points of view. These last couple of months I have increased my FB participation, basically in the form of reading others’ posts. From time to time I engaged in some political banter and not always with positive results. Certainly so many feel so “free” to express themselves and that brings me to the topic of this post.

Everyone is entitled to his/her opinion. Attempting to honor multiple peoples’ plea for civility I noticed how quickly after the election my Democratic “friends” moved to position themselves as the moral authority when it came to any attempted discussion regarding the results. The civil and polite term I use is dismissive. When one cared enough to write a position different from their point of view their words or regrettably, they, themselves were dismissed from either being one who practiced veracity or one who simply held a contrary point of view. This was and is to this day followed up with a stern reprimand or disingenuous statement about the said position. In other words, the post and/or the person were dismissed. Yet, these same individuals demanded both in language and tone of their language that we must now move away from our long held beliefs and values and move towards their point of view-of course, employing, “for the sake of the country”. After all, they now had a mandate.

Let us examine some numbers to see if the preceding is accurate. I can only use the numbers available to me as of the writing of this post so please focus upon the main concept. Here are the popular vote totals for both parties:

R=48% plus         46%(2008 vote)
D=51%         53%(2008 vote)
3,258,999-vote difference

Now follows my interpretation. It appears that Mr. Obama won by slightly less than 3% of the vote; I’ll not squabble over new data. It is true that the Republicans increased their share of the popular vote compared to 2008 and the Democrat decreased their popular vote share compared to 2008. Terms like “resounding” used to mean enormous, huge, or colossal. You might imagine when I realize that over 120,500,000 votes were cast and the difference was 3.2 million votes I had difficulty accepting the adjectives describing the outcome. We can discuss this but please to suggest that the American people have endorsed, authorized or indicated ratification of his policies is to accept the concept of “majority rules.” It is more accurate to suggest that a little over half of the nation supports the President and just under half of the nation does not support his policies. Careful, if you dismiss this point of view does this mean no discussion or bi-partisan cooperation is possible?

I marvel at other data interpretations-keeping the House in the hands of the Republicans (change occurred in 2010) and this “change” didn’t work (no explanation provided individuals making said pronouncement) and in 2012 the Congress remains basically the same, some interpret this as we are all in agreement, legislators should return and get back to business. Business as defined by whom and by what criteria-are these two questions not useful to discuss?? What is the meaning beneath this arcane statement? What can we all agree to? How about addressing the coming financial cliff, might everyone involved put in the time, effort and perseverance it will take to resolve this before January 1?

Remember school elections-did you participate in any? Can you imagine how you might respond when you know 100 students were eligible to participate in the class president election and after the election you discovered that the “other kid” received over 100 votes and you received 30 of the votes.  Clearly you lost but does the math add up? Might you want an explanation?

Hopefully you can at least understand why some of us had a reaction that went something like this: “How in the world can that be? In Ms. James math class last week we learned this was not possible.” You are therefore not surprised when we hear the following, you might expect we would be a bit suspicious:

Obama Won %108 of Registered Voters in Ohio County


Energy is also a major concern for our nation especially as we attempt to increase jobs in this country.  So when we hear: Obama administration seeks to drastically limit oil shale development on western lands

You can imagine we might suggest that this is not a prudent energy move right now.

Even though you may think it is not necessary to prove your identity when you vote for the President of the USA and yet you willingly show your picture id when you go to the airport to travel to …  or to cash a check, you can imagine our interests were peaked when we read Crooked Politics: Obama Lost in Every State With Photo ID Law

Wait, you get to practice your non-dismissive civil behavior right now. When this entire voter picture id issue came up boy did it cause a stir? Any of us who dared to suggest that this is fair and consistent with public policy in so many of our daily lives, we were dismissed as racists, bigots and other unseemly names. I noted that by using this word tactic you wanted to close down my point of view and even ascribe negative characteristics to it and to me. Why the fear in having a dialogue about this sensitive issue?

Certainly human rights are important for all peoples-yes? This is true more now than ever before.  The Middle East is awash with thousands of women being either raped, murdered, attacked or denied basic rights; one of our greatest enemies, Iran, continues to move rapidly toward acquiring nuclear bombs; thousands of people are slaughtered in northern Africa; Europe’s economy is on the brink of collapse, we hope Germany will fund those going bankrupt; our economy is stagnate at all time lows; recession is predicted for 2013; 23 million Americans are out of work and you know the other horrific economic data points. Can you imagine our upset when instead of focusing on these issues; a “war on women” became a major theme of this election? Imagine our surprise when we heard As Andrew Stiles of The Washington Free Beacon reported on May 24, "of the five senators who participated in Wednesday’s press conference—Barbara Mikulski (D., Md.), Patty Murray (D., Wash.), Debbie Stabenow (D., Mich.), Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) And Barbara Boxer (D., Calif.)—Three pay their female staff members significantly less than male staffers." Perhaps any thoughtful, caring person might then ask critical questions about who has “women’s’ backs.

As a father of a highly successful daughter involved in a major business in the USA I have always been concerned about her rights, her opportunities and together with her mother we did our best to ensure she had every possibility made available to her-she however did the work and on her own efforts has made her way. Has it been easy-ask her. Is life meant to be easy, ah, a question for another post. My point is this, as important as this topic is to individuals, to use it as a wedge issue (a Democrat introduced this phrase ) intentionally to alienate a gender is … For the sake of civility I shall not complete the sentence. We had and still have major economic and security concerns. We have a dysfunctional legislative group and our international reputation has changed-I know, I live in the Middle East and hear it, read it and see it every day. By the way it is not what you may think or believe.  It seems that both sides operate from different perspectives. It does the nation no good to berate and negate one another’s positions. This human situation requires leadership that operates with an ability to listen and hear what the two parties say. This nation deserves individuals willing to put country first.  Rather than dismissing this final statement how about sitting down for a coffee and beginning a new narrative-one void of political sound bites?

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