Yesterday and today, I had an interesting conversation with one of my Facebook friends. I made a rare politically-oriented post noting that I had signed the petition to designate the Westboro Baptist Church as an “officially recognized” hate group. One of my friends (to be honest, a classmate from high school whom I haven’t seen face to face in oh-my-god-can-it-really-be-25-years?) asked what the petition was supposed to accomplish.
It would be very easy to get confrontational about a question like this. It would be easy to interpret the question as an attack and respond defensively, or sarcastically, or dismissively. Instead, I gave the question, and my subsequent response, some thought, and it helped refine my own thinking. Arguably, it was one of the reasons I decided to start keeping a daily gratitude journal.
So, I’m grateful for civil discourse on uncomfortable topics. When people make an effort to try to understand one another, instead of resorting to easy conversational gambits, everybody involved comes away feeling like they’ve spent a little worthwhile time.