Pierce Godwin created the National Conversation Project April 5-13 advocating that we all come together and listen to each other. We have to invite people to join us in conversation. “We don’t listen,” said Michael Steele former head of the GOP. He and others on the panel say we have to learn how to communicate at a time of deep divisions and disagreements assuming the worst about each other. Sarah Stewart Holland and Beth Silver wrote “I Think You are Wrong (But I am Listening)”, a book about how we have withdrawn from conversations, unwilling to listen to different points of view. Godwin is hoping that the focusing this week on in-person and virtual conversations coast to coast we can learn to communicate and revitalize the social fabric of our country.
A topic that came up during the discussion was the use of cell phone, omnipresent nowadays. We are failing to communicate in the era of Internet and social media. We possess the means to talk to each other and to get in touch with people in other continents, but we are failing to talk to each other in meaningful ways. Social media is full of meaningless chatter and hateful remarks, and there is a constant preoccupation with the fact that through it we are losing our privacy and giving space and opportunity for people who are willing to abuse the availability of personal information to profit illegally. There will always be people willing to do that, but the fact remains that the main reason all these means of communication exist is to help us, to create strong networks, to learn and to know more about others. Prejudice is the result of ignorance. It is difficult to hate people that we know and understand. Let’s start a conversation.