The Digital World Forum


A friend, Retired Professor Charles Howell, described the online information world in this way: Digital information is curated for the purpose of consumption, not communal interaction or a thoughtful interchange of ideas.

The sad thing is that we have fewer and fewer opportunities these days to discuss issues in a way that seeks solutions rather than votes, options rather than vilification. Even political or community debates and forums just describe world views rather than seek areas of agreement as a start toward solving real community problems.

The gun control issues is but one example of fixed positions that seem to make people immune to any reasonable compromise or solution. Any suggestion by the left is seen as taking guns away from the right. Any comment from the right is seen by the left as a defense of the mass shooter’s terrible actions. Reasonable solutions that don’t take guns away from people who carefully use them for recreation and hunting and keeping them out of the hands of those who are not responsible owners is not even listened to or discussed dispassionately. Universal background checks, red flag laws, smart guns, limits on military weapons and high capacity magazines are broadly supported and have been found to be effective. But reasonable discussion is missing.

This is just one example of the either/or mentality that our social and mass media have supported. What is needed, here, as well as with other issues, is a discussion of values and beliefs, biases and perceptions, to get agreement on some basic principles from which solutions can be drawn and discussed. The bottom line has to be what will serve the common good and build on the basic social values our country was founded on.

Disagreements will happen. But intelligent and thoughtful discourse is needed, in our living rooms and workplaces and especially our media.

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