Thursday, Jan. 13, 2011

Frances Townsend

We need to remember: You can disagree without being disagreeable. We must remember that smart, well-informed people can have legitimate policy disagreements. We must be grateful that we are blessed to live in a free and democratic society with a Constitution that protects our freedom of speech and ensures that we can advocate our views openly and forcefully. However, the blessing of freedom requires work and commitment by those who would enjoy it. It requires that we listen. It requires that we challenge ideas with better alternatives and not with force, violence and weapons. The path back to civilized debate requires leadership at all levels of society: political, media, academic and business. Civilized society requires humility to recognize that while I may advocate passionately for those fundamental beliefs I hold most dear, it is possible that I am wrong. No one ever learned anything when they were shouting; we only learn when we listen.