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Failures to Communicate Effectively


The presidential debate between Trump and Biden, which aired September 30, may provide an interesting glimpse into fundamental hurdles to human relationships and reconciliation of differences of opinion. It was characterized by excessive assertiveness, unwillingness to listen, accusations, and argumentation and fell victim to the pace of our time. It was also surely a picture of the fractured stated of the American people of our current age.

I felt depressed as I watched the battles. It really reminded me of arguments between divorced spouses. It seemed to be a battle of two agendas pushing for narrative control in the sense of dominance, rather than a formal discussion amidst fellow human beings. Clearly, Trump was the more aggressive of the two. However, Biden did not exactly reply in an ideal fashion to the assertive behavior; Trump would provoke him, he would get defensive, and then he would provoke Trump. The end result was that things seemed to be too personal. Each man was too caught up in his own agenda and his own self-defense to have a reasonable conversation. To be fair, it was a debate; argumentation is expected, and a strict timeline from a moderating force ensures that arguments are more likely to rise for lack of time. Still, one cannot help but imagine if there was a better way to have a discourse amongst colleagues. For one thing, the subject matter covered in the debate is incredibly complex; Cobid 19 and the great plethora of doctors asserting very different views, the stressful state of the fragile economy in direct correlation to the risks posed from excessive lockdowns, varying accusations of corruption and hidden agendas.


As with just about any matter, there are two extremes one can gravitate between. I think often, total truth is found somewhere between two opposing sides when personal feelings are separated from the narrative. That does not necessarily imply someone can become a totally "unbiased robot" but operating with a higher level of compassion, patience, sensitivity towards the opponent, holding themselves accountable to greater truth, etc. Perhaps a better forum of discussion would be one that would allow for several hours of discussion and multiple debates of that length, with a greater variety of third-party interaction and verification of resources and background researches into those resources. For instance, Trump would accuse Biden of a certain story. Biden would accuse Trump of another story. All that most of us heard was the story; we did not even hear where it came from, nor would most of us know how to validate the facts. What were the sources? Similar problems occur with the Cobid 19 narration. We have doctors like Fauci, then we have doctors like Rashid Buttar with very different opinions, yet both are citing some type of data, and most of us don't know much about them. If we only hear one side of the story, we don't have a lot of information. Typically the best decisions are those made from a view of weighing out the whole body of evidence and not a mere portion from one side of the political spectrum.

It may be good for human culture to stop living as if "today is all that I have" and consider a reformation of the standard political debate platform. Nevertheless, these are the exact same challenges we all face every day in our communications with one another. If our agendas take over, and we are "living in ourselves," we will never have a measure of peace internally. And of course, it is impossible to have external peace or to "solve the problems of the world" if you do not have peace within your own heart.

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