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Agreeing to Disagree

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of UTW or it's parent affiliates.

By Gabriel Costilla, UTW Vice President, West High Teacher

In what feels like a particularly divisive time to be an American, we find ourselves increasingly digging into our own respective corners to defend our ideals from real threats and imagined ones, battling on Facebook and on the streets, sheltering in our homes and in our well constructed social circles.

For many, the answer to our cultural divide, is to return to a mythical time of civil and polite discourse. For others, the answer is to rip off any vestiges of political correctness in favor of blunt and unapologetic debate. 

Neither option seems like much of a real choice. 

Civil discourse, if it ever actually existed, lends itself to underhanded cynicism and ineffectual statements that move the needle of progress only so far as to add another talking point for politicians and lobbyists.

Debate, the loud and sometimes crude version we see on TV and on our social media feeds, makes wide swipes at policy and values leaving bystanders and useful criticism as collateral damage in its wake. 

In light of all this, it may seem like the ever so proud (but not too proud) Aristotelian Moderates should chime in at this point with an argument for meeting in the middle.

But what does that look like? Should we feel free to curse at each other, but stick to evidence based arguments? Do we grab some chalk, make a large circle, and say what is said in here stays here (fight club style)? Do we keep our arguments face to face instead of online in order to better see the creases of disdain on our opponent’s forehead?

If you’ve come this far, I suppose you think I’m going to give you what I think is the answer, but sorry--

I don’t think there is one. 

I think we’re going to bend until we break. Something’s got to give. And until it does, we’re just going to have to agree to disagree.

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