In Support of the Open forum

 

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I like an open discussion or debate.I’m not adverse to listening to positions that I may not agree with or even may find reprehensible. That’s the purpose of an open forum, to allow everyone a platform to discuss their ideas, and others to challenge them. I know there will be some that find it strange a conservative would hold may hold this view, but I think there are more of us that believe this than may be thought. Of course there are those that are very close minded, but I think that’s true no matter the political orientation. For every conservative anyone may name, I know I can counter with a liberal or progressive.

Ideas are just that, and nothing else. They’re not policy, and rarely do they become proposals for policy no matter where it originates, from either side of the political spectrum. It seems, from my perspective, and I do not believe I’m alone here, that there is a purposeful attempt to  disqualify ideas  disliked from that same public forum. Instead of discussion and debate, we’ve devolved reasoned conversation into epithets, accusations of  bad faith, often decrying that these ideas have any purchase in the public forum while at the same time, reversing the argument when are own are treated the same way.

Why is it that there are those unwilling to listen to an idea that may be counter to what they believe? Is it possible they are afraid that they may change their mind? Or better yet, that the idea(s) presented may actually make them stop and think, if only for a few minutes (how horrid!). I can’t imagine a world where competing ideas are not allowed. Well, maybe I can as I see the slow, ever accedence to groupthink over take not only society, but impinge on culture as well.

Ideas come and go, good or bad. We shouldn’t be afraid of the ideas themselves as much as those that would prevent  us from hearing those ideas and debating them honestly and more importantly, publicly. In fact, it’s those that would prevent the public debate we should mortally fear. A lot of people today causally throw around the noun. fascist to describe anyone or any group with whom they disagree. But the real fascists are those that would prevent any opposing idea or opinion from entering the public forum.

No matter the political or social ideology, we should all be respectful of this idea: that whether or not we agree with another should not be a basis for silencing that person or group.

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