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Shouting is not a solution

Aug. 17, 2009

by Ivan Raconteur

There seems to be an ever-increasing number of fatheads among us who are bucking the trend of evolution.

I am referring, in this case, to the cerebrally-challenged individuals who act as though the only way to cope with ideas with which they disagree is to try to out-shout anyone who expresses such opinions.

Recently, town hall meetings concerning health care reform have become a magnet for creatures like this.

They lumber out of their caves and utter their mantras at the top of their voices, drowning out any meaningful discussion of issues.

It makes no difference whether the subject is health care or something else. One thing that is certain is that simple-minded shouting is not going to solve any problems.

We are facing some extremely important challenges today, and now, more than ever, we need to work together and share ideas in order to find solutions.

We can, and should consider a variety of perspectives as we work through these problems, but bleating like a psychotic sheep every time someone else tries to speak is not the same as engaging in a civilized discussion.

It is a bit like some of those quasi-news programs on television where a group of people with widely different political views are gathered around a table in the guise of discussing current events. Some of these shows are moderated and include legitimate discussions, which can be very informative.

Others, though, are nothing more than contests to see who can yell the loudest. There is no thoughtful debate or exchange of ideas, and the shows are often useless in terms of furthering the discussion about the subject at hand.

During some of the town hall meetings that have taken place recently, tension between members of the audience and the protesters has been increasing.

This is hardly surprising. If a person who is concerned about his family’s future, goes out to a meeting to hear a speaker talk about issues that affect that future, only to have some knucklehead in the crowd rear up on his hind legs and shout to prevent the audience from hearing the speaker, one can see how the audience might feel compelled to pound the stuffing out of the loudmouthed protester.

One would not advocate violence, no matter what the provocation, but if people abandon all semblance of civility and act like cave-dwellers, they should not be surprised if the response is also less than civilized.

The problem, of course, is that when we abandon legitimate discussion of issues, nothing gets resolved.

It is a bit like the old political tactic called the filibuster, where politicians get up and talk for an extended period with the specific purpose of preventing anything from getting done.

With regard to the protesters who bellow like animals any time someone else tries to speak, it is not that difficult to see why they do it.

No doubt it is much easier to tear things down and jump all over someone else’s ideas than it is to come up with a plan of one’s own.

By spewing half-truths (or flat out lies), the protesters can disrupt the process without having to do any real work themselves.

Every citizen is entitled to his own opinion, but we would all be better off if people would grow up and discuss things like adults instead of disrupting meetings like spoiled children having tantrums.

Whether the issue is health care or any other challenge, it would be much more useful if those who do not agree with what is proposed would come forward with their own proposals, so that we can eventually reach consensus and move ahead.

Shouting to get our way is a problem, not a solution, and this is a lesson most of us learned at a young age.

Each of us needs to make a choice as to whether we are going to be part of the problem or part of the solution. Those who choose not to be part of the solution should at least have the courtesy to shut their enormous gobs and get out of the way.