Richardson: The challenge of the difficult subject
How many of you dared to discuss politics with family over the holidays? Or, have you found yourself avoiding certain conversations for fear of it turning ugly? While we have more to communicate than ever, our ability to do so effectively seems to be diminishing.
It’s becoming increasingly difficult to have thoughtful, informed discussions about complex issues, let alone when there is even a hint of disagreement between the parties. As such, there seems to be fewer and fewer people with the desire, will, and/or courage to utilize their freedom of expression that Americans have valued and protected so fiercely over time.
Personally, I love the challenge of a difficult subject and welcome discussion or debate with all perspectives — provided there is respect and common courtesy. I think fostering this type of dialogue is a critical ingredient to building strong communities.
So, last year, I launched “Meet in the Middle” on KDNK Community Access Radio, a public-affairs show where we discuss complex issues with local thought leaders with differing opinions. The hope is for listeners to gain new perspective and empower freedom of expression.
Another goal of the show is to provide safe space for differing (e.g., unique, unpopular, minority) opinions to be expressed. By doing so, I hope we will model the type of community dialogue I believe is needed to solve complex problems.
If you are a community thought leader or perhaps an aspiring one, please consider this letter an invitation to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with topics, or better yet, to be a guest, provided you have a little courage to share unpopular thoughts, enough intellectual curiosity to gain new perspective, and the discipline to be respectful.