Influencing others and achieving party unity

You cannot influence people who you summarily reject. Rejecting their fallacious argument is one thing, not agreeing with their opinion as well. But if you invalidate their very existence, you render yourself useless in any effort to persuade them of their incorrect thinking or opinions.

Unity is not about being in perfect agreement, if it were, then no one group of individuals, no matter how similar they were, would be able to unify.

Unity is about accepting people for who they are and where they are in life and in their own attitudes and beliefs. And appreciating their good traits and contributions along with their failings and less helpful actions or words.  We must truly listen to each other with OPEN EARS and OPEN HEARTS and OPEN MINDS ( taken from the United Methodist slogan).  From there, you can develop a relationship and try to improve each other’s arguments with respectful dissent.

I have heard almost every one say something I considered supremely stupid or inane at one time or another — including myself. We are human. But, if we expect others to give us some slack when we fall short, we earn that privilege by offering to others first.

You earn respect by showing respect. If you find an opinion you find offensive, attack that opinion with facts and solid argument. Allow your opponent to focus on the facts and let the facts speak for themselves. To do this, you must restrain yourself, remain objective and, first, actually objectively read and think about what they say and why they are saying it from the distance of objective eyes. You do not have to agree with someone to understand them or accept where they are coming from.

I suggest that this judgmental sense is not going to work to unify our party. Nor will it change anyone’s mind.  Much less will it contribute to solving the issues we discuss.  Let’s keep talking respectfully and really listen to each other.

After all, our party is about the people.  Our party is about love and acceptance.  Our party is about accomplishing the greater good.

Another thought to keep in mind about the definition of LOVE:

Love is not what you do when it is easy or convenient or when you feel like it.  It is CHOOSING to do the loving thing when it isn’t easy and when it isn’t convenient and when you don’t feel like it — when, in fact, it requires significant sacrifice from you.

Let’s CHOOSE to do the loving thing, here.  That means accepting people for who they are and where they are and working to build a relationship from there, not judging them for where we think they ought to be or what we think they ought to be thinking about or feeling.  Invalidating someone does not influence them positively.

We want to change hearts and minds.  And if we can’t change the hearts and minds of our own, how can we expect to change the hearts and minds of others who have far less in common with us?  Let’s look for the areas of commonality and work from there.


About Laura Schneider

Retired IT consultant (disabled), musician and animal lover. I support the constitutional concept of Right of Privacy and no discrimination against any person based on race, religion, ideology, gender, sexual preference or disability. I am very concerned about the erosion of our constitutional rights and protections under GWB (and even this administration). I strongly oppose torture, rendition or illegal search and/or seizure (without a warrant) and warrantless wiretapping. I believe that education is our best hope of a bright future for our children. Knowledge is power, and that's the kind of authority (Biblically speaking) that our children must have in order to be successful in a 21st century world.
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