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Conversation. Not Confrontation.

The key to successfully performing the art of politics lies in convincing those you disagree with of the merits of your argument.

Experts tell us of the power of listening in conversation. When one encounters a particularly brazen antagonist, it can be all too easy to hunker down in our beliefs and dig deeper into our ideological fortresses. But this does nothing to bring about a better common understanding of the problem at hand. When we choose to identify with a certain ideology, we construct the walls of our own ideological prison. This closes us off from new arguments, discourages critical thinking, and divides the world between ‘us’ and ‘them’. In contrast, when we listen to those we disagree with, we learn. When we learn a new perspective, it allows us to find the faults in our arguments and improve them accordingly. To truly hear an opponent in debate is to gain an ally in progress.

According to the Principles of Nonviolent Communication, when engaging in dialogue we should remember to:

  • Clarify what we observe

  • State how we feel

  • What values we want to live by

  • What we need to ask of ourselves and others

  • “No blame, judgment, or confrontation”

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