columnBy J. Andrew Lablah
Some people often lack the ability to converse about subjects that matter deeply to them without getting into a dispute.
As a result, public discourse about divisive issues is often characterized by destructive argument that can lead to strife and violence.
How long have we muscled strength to avenge our anger on someone? Those vengeful attitudes have brought us no good but destructions and severe setback.
In the absence of a civilized culture violence had been the rule of the game. With the emergence of a new political life dialogue rather than violence in disputes is the mark of a civilized person(s) anywhere in the world. Violence begets violence. Learning to avoid war methods in expressing our grievances is important to our personal development and towards the improvement of our political culture.
Dialogue means we sit and talk with each other, especially those with whom we may think we have the greatest differences.
However, talking together all too often means debating, discussing with a view to convincing the other, arguing for our point of view, examining pro's and con's. In dialogue, the intention is not to advocate but to inquire; not to argue but to explore; not to convince but to discover. It seeks to inform and learn rather than to persuade.
Dialogue is a conversation animated by a search for understanding rather than for agreements or solutions. One is concerned not only about oneself and one's own position, but also about the other party and the position that that party advances. It has no fixed goal or predetermined agenda. The emphasis is not on resolving disputes, but rather on improving the way in which people with significant differences relate to each other. The broad aim is to promote respectful inquiry, and to stimulate a new sort of conversation that allows important issues to surface freely.
In the coming year and the years after, much is required of Liberians in the development of our political culture while we envision VISION 2030 and engender National Reconciliation.
For us to attain such, we should no longer bury our hurts and scheme evils. We have to be candid to bring to the table those issues considered by us as the major impediment to the development of our MOTHERLAND and advance those decisions we foresee as threat to the future of Liberia and our generations. We must put Liberia first being our national pride. For too long we have not been actually speaking to each other but rather we have been mouthing words at each other. This coming year we have to resolve to do better. We can do no worse than begin to engage in a serious dialogue with each other in our homes, communities, and political lives. Take note, the most civilized approach in addressing our differences is through solemn dialogue.