Amanda Cade

Worth It! (Things to try, read, watch, hear, and discuss)

The other day, I had a great conversation with my friend Brad, who I’ve known for going on thirty years. Brad is one of my favorite people, and also happens to be one of the smartest people I’ve ever met. Since high school, we’ve routinely engaged in discussions about political and social issues, and 90% of the time, we disagree. You see, while neither of us are “far right” or “far left”, we’re about the same distance from the center, but on opposite sides. 

ListenIf you’re wondering whether I’m the right-leaning or left-leaning person in my conversations with Brad, I’m afraid that’s not a question I’m going to answer. When I started this blog, I decided that I wasn’t going to talk politics. Maybe that will change someday, but today is not that day. What I want to talk about today isn’t my opinions on political or social issues, but rather some thoughts on political and social discourse. The point I’m hoping to make is that there’s a benefit to considering messages (conversational and otherwise) from people who don’t share your views.

Here in the United States, in addition to all of the other stressors involved in COVID-19, the crisis has intensified the already polarized nature of news media, social media, and culture wars. And it’s never been easier to stay in your echo chamber, because not only can we choose to limit our news programs, Twitter feeds, etc. based on our existing opinions, but we’re also much more constrained in terms of the people we encounter and speak with in our day to day lives.

All this makes me think about something Aaron Sorkin wrote (several times, because of his tendency to reuse dialogue): 

Smart People Who Disagree With You

This past October, John Baldoni published an article in Forbes where he addressed this very topic. He explains that listening to opposing viewpoints, with an open mind, allows us to examine our own beliefs, seek common ground, and work towards solutions. Personally, I believe that the first step to bringing people together is to confront the things that have kept us divided.

news flashI watch CNN and Fox News. I read National Review and The New York Times. In forming my opinions, I consider information, and analysis, from a variety of perspectives, and once those opinions are formed, I do my best to stay open to changing them. I cherish my conversations with Brad, not only because he’s a dear friend, but also because they help me examine and refine what I believe. Sometimes, despite our drastically different leanings, one of us changes the other’s mind. No matter what, we both walk away from those conversations better informed, more thoughtful, and more engaged.

There’s a lot to unpack here, and I’m planning to return to this topic soon. For now, I’d like to encourage you to seek out a variety of viewpoints and perspectives, whether it’s in the media or in your social and family circles. I firmly believe that what we need right now is an informed, open-minded public, and an elevated level of discourse. We can all choose to be part of that.

Let's Discuss 2

 

27 thoughts on “Smart People Who Disagree With You

  1. kagould17 says:

    Totally agree. During my working career, I had a motto that I tried to live by. Fix the problem, don’t affix the blame. If we all stand still looking for scapegoats, the problems are never solved. These are real world problems and we have to stop looking for scapegoats. Stay well Amanda. Allan

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      That’s a great motto! I’m going to remember that one. 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Edhie says:

    It is always good to agree to disagree. Thank you for bringing up the topic.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      I think it’s so important to stay informed and open minded. Thanks for reading and commenting. Stay well.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Excellent words of advice. Great post.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      Thank you. There’s so much polarization right now, and it really has me concerned.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Me too. I am very concerned because no one wants to listen to opposing or new ideas. That’s how we learn and grow and progress. Thank you for sharing this.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Lara/Trace says:

    We wrote our wedding vows in 2004 and said we agree to disagree, Amanda. You are so good to keep an open mind with all of us.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      That’s a great vow. I think everyone should include it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Lara/Trace says:

        It was my husband’s idea – and since we are not kids, it seemed so important to include.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. citizen1024 says:

    Hi Amanda,

    I always look at your posts through my email, but do not comment. This time I must. Thank you for reinforcing that we must consider things from multiple viewpoints, in order to form an opinion. We must agree to disagree on some things and realize that, that is what makes the world go round. We must embrace who we are, but not put down others for being who they are. Let’s try to understand why someone came to the opinion that they have and fill in the blanks, if we feel that they were not completely informed of the all the facts in the matter.

    Again, Thank you.

    CitizenS1024

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      Thank you so much for reading, and for your comment today. I love how you put that: “try to understand why someone came to the opinion they have”. That’s such a critical part of true discourse. Stay well.

      Like

      1. fakeflamenco says:

        Thanks for this excellent post! I think being open to talking with people who disagree with our views leads to dialogue, which is something we need in our lives and politics. Cheers, Rebecca

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Amanda Cade says:

        Definitely. There’s too little of it right now.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. My pleasure, followed you 💕

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I strongly agree with what you have said. Seeing both sides and different points of view stimulates the intellect.
    The problem arises when people start to become intolerant of opposing views.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      Agreed. Refusing to consider multiple perspectives and keep an open mind not only harms discourse, but also the ability to be a well-informed, reasonable person.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Kingston Lim says:

    It’s been made a point to surround yourself with people that are smarter then you, it’ll challenge you to do better

    Liked by 1 person

  8. What an important piece of advice for these tumultuous times! May we recapture that fine art of conversation….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      When I wrote this post, I of course had no idea of how much the problem was about to intensify. This past week, I’ve engaged in several very difficult conversations about George Floyd, protests, race, and public policy. At times I’ve had to strongly fight the impulse to change the subject to something more comfortable, but I firmly believe that would be the worst possible choice, because conversations that make us uncomfortable are often the ones that are critical.

      Like

  9. sunisanthosh says:

    Great article 👍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amanda Cade says:

      Thank you. 🙂

      Like

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