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On Civil Discourse

Mark Tobola

On Civil Discourse

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3 mins
January 12, 2021

I am grateful for the friends I've made in this area. Many of them are not only a lot of fun, but they are extremely helpful at helping me cut through confusion and get to the heart of the matter. They often also help me cut through times when things have me uncertain and I'm not sure what to think.  

I was reminded about how things have been going since November today. And I was reminded that today's discussions must have been a whole lot closer to the way things were discussed back when the Colonies were fighting for their independence. There is much to be discussed! And much to be pondered! And much to question!  BUT when all of that is said and done, there is another duty that is part of being an American. That duty is to bear with one another in respect, decency, honor, and grace.  

John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were known to have rather excited arguments over differences of opinion and view; but afterwards, they would have a drink together, have a meal together, and name off the strengths that their friend brought to bear on the task at hand. The founders of the United States of America had numerous situations where individuals would battle each other mightily on the debate floor, only to sit side by side as friends afterwards. They were mature enough to know that debate is not a problem, and due respect to each other was critical, even if your opinions were wildly different.

I admit fully that I have my own thoughts and opinions on a great number of topics. I also find that I am 100% alright with people who come in and share their thoughts and opinions about topics of their choice. As I discussed at lunch with a friend today, that is part of due honor and respect that should be given to everyone, period, end of sentence. We must, in any and every encounter, remember that in the end we are friends, neighbors, and or fellow community members, and we need to stay on good terms with each other first. That is duty number one

That doesn't mean we cannot disagree.  Or maybe it means we agree on an end goal but disagree on how we get to said end goal.  But when we are done visiting, we need to be able to sit down over a lovely beverage and chat about other things going on and be on good terms.  NOTHING else is as important as unity despite adversity or in spite of adversity. That Unity in the defiance of things that could tear our unity asunder is a prime requirement of being a citizen of the United States of America. That Unity is why we won our independence from Britain. That Unity has kept this nation together for over 200 years.

I feel it important to remind us all right now to not allow our Unity as a Nation to falter right now. I don't feel that it means any of us have to drop a battle we may be waging, but rather to step back and find a new avenue in which to properly carry forth that battle. There is nothing wrong with asking questions, nor is there anything wrong with taking a stand for a cause which you find dear. But as soon as that means you treat someone with dishonor, disrespect, it may be time to stop and consider an approach that leaves those options out of the mix.


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Mark Tobola

Mark Tobola is a resident of Thorp and weekly columnist.

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