Stephen Measure

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How to Decrease Divisiveness and Increase Civility in Our Society
July 23, 2018

Our society is being torn apart by bitter divisiveness and raging incivility. Politics, now the center of our lives, has filled our hearts, its toxic unending demand for change—always more change!—as ubiquitous as the air we breathe. And our political opponents? We dehumanize them into mere obstacles, nothing more than road bumps impeding society's progress toward our vision of utopia. "The ends justify the means," we self-righteously tell ourselves as we wage wars of personal destruction. And anger and rancor escalate and escalate and escalate.

But it doesn't have to be this way. Politics doesn't have to cloud every interaction in our lives. Civility doesn't have to be taboo. People can be people, not always divided into political allies or foes, but simply people. And some means can be rejected, their cost too great to justify or to ever actually lead us to the ends we desire. But to achieve this, to decrease the divisiveness and to increase civility in our society, we cannot continue as we have been. We need to make room for those who disagree with us, room to live, room to breathe, room to remain human despite different opinions of life and its meaning. Here are three steps you can take to provide others that room:

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I oppose wrong beliefs and ideologies, not people. Had I walked in another's shoes, I might believe and do as they believe and do. I don't oppose people. I seek to persuade them. Wrong beliefs and ideologies are forever wrong, but a wrong person can choose to become right.

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