Civility Suggestions: How to Argue Gracefully



I do say, dear chap...

The rules of engagement on the battlefield are no different than the rules of engagement in the blogosphere (I apologize to those who hate that word as much as I do).  Really, the main difference is, “boom sticks and mortars can break my bones, but words will stick in my craw.”

Ecclesiastes says that there is a time and place for everything under the sun.  A time to heal, and a time to kill; a time to gather stones, and a time to cast stones away.  Consider this piece my ‘time to heal’.

Something amazing has been going on here at AWD.  We have had some much needed conversation and some heated debate.  Where we run into trouble is our free spirit.  We aren’t the mindless water carriers that populate the left.  We are free thinkers, innovators, lovers of liberty and haters of injustice.  This makes each of us unique, and rugged individuals with our own opinions.

It is the possession of this character that makes us PATRIOTS.  We don’t take s**t from anybody.   The spirit of this is personified on the Gadsden Flag.  “Don’t Tread On Me”, with ‘me’ being represented by our fearsome avatar, the Timber Rattler.

‘If you don’t mess with me, then I won’t mess with you.’  That is the unspoken motto of the rattlesnake.  So how can we engage in civil debate?   Basically, we want to make our point without alienating or angering our extremely independent brethren, who also have opinions of their own.

The first, and most important, thing we have to learn how to do is disagree as gentlemen/women.  While we may agree on most issues, there will inevitably be an issue that some will agree with and some will disagree with.

While not every method will work for every person, one thing that will work is to remind yourself that everybody on this website has more in common with each other, than we do with the pinko communist left.  Ergo, who would you rather spend time with?  Just keeping that thought in your head can vastly change your responses; not the content, mind you, but the way the content is delivered and the tone that is conveyed in your argument.

Tone is something that is an issue.  Part of the problem with textual communication is the lack of emotion conveyed when writing.  I can’t read your post and look at your face or hear the tone of your voice; therefore, you could be writing sarcastically and I might not be able to tell.  Consider using emoticons or italics when writing sarcastically.  This could cut down on misunderstandings 🙂

The second (or third, depending on how you are interpreting this article) thing we need to learn to do is take criticism.  Every time someone criticizes me, I personally try to take a step back and look at the merits of the comment (I don’t always succeed or remember, mind you).  If I can’t look at it objectively, I will ask the opinion of a trusted friend.  Very often, I change my opinion slightly, or at least come back with a civil and well thought out response.   Every time our opinion is challenged, our proverbial sword is sharpened and hardened.  This is a gift.  Let’s not waste it!

Don’t think that I am trying to squelch healthy debate.  I am just trying to streamline the debate process so we can get more out of it.  Basically, we get very little accomplished when we quarrel constantly.  All we do, is more deeply divide our already partitioned party.

I hope this article doesn’t come off as highfalutin or pretentious.  I just saw a problem, had an opinion, and wrote a response.  Feel free to debate me!






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