For the past several months those wonderful neighbours to our south in the USA have once again been engaged in a contentious debate on a topic that sadly makes headlines around the world several times each year, always following an event of horrendous tragedy.
I am referring to the issue of gun control and what caught my attention earlier this week, while watching TV, was the obvious anger and frustration portrayed by a proponent of stricter gun control and more in-depth background testing, who repeatedly expressed his puzzlement over why people on the other side of the debate “just don’t get it.”
Rather than using his available airtime to put forth his case in a manner that might win some converts over to his way of thinking, he used the occasion to berate those opposed to his viewpoint and to belittle them, and to repeatedly proclaim how dumbfounded he is at their inability to grasp the obvious.
Clearly this man, in his quest to cause his opponents to “see the obvious” is himself completely incapable of seeing the obvious.
What is obvious is that there is no clear winner in this debate. What is obvious is that all of the “facts” presented by both sides in this matter are, in fact, not facts at all, but rather expressions of their beliefs that they happily wave around as if they were indeed irrefutable, indisputable facts.
Many times in these pages over the past years we have discussed the “fact” that everything we believe to be true is true, and that the only “facts” that exist are simply those very things that we individually believe to be facts.
Not for a moment am I suggesting that either side in this debate is wrong. What I am saying, and where they fail to find common ground, is the very fact that the reason they are unable to reach any points of agreement is because they have, on both side of the debate, confused their opinions – those things they believe to be true – with true fact.
To me a fact is a fact. It is provable beyond dispute and agreed upon by everyone. There are no divergent viewpoints.
Any contentious issue – abortion, capital punishment, global warming – provides us with decades of debatable material because there are no facts that can conclusively – to the satisfaction of all – prove any point on one side of the debate or the other.
In our personal lives many of us bring friction into our lives by believing that the opinions we present as statements of fact are, in fact, true facts when, in fact, for the most part, they are nothing more than points of view – opinions/perspectives – that we uniquely and individually believe to be true.
I have long maintained that only one thing divides or unites us as human beings – it is what we individually, uniquely and separately believe to be true. I have also often wondered how much more peaceful our lives could become on those occasions when we find ourselves embroiled in heated argument and, indeed, conflict with others over differences of opinion, if we could simply remind ourselves that those differences are caused not by provable, irrefutable indisputable fact but rather by opposing points of view.
It doesn’t mean that my opinion (or yours) is right. It doesn’t mean it is wrong either.
If we all agreed on everything then most of us wouldn’t be necessary.
Opposing viewpoints are healthy. They cause us to examine our beliefs and to exercise our creativity in presenting counterarguments.
I don’t know if our friends in the US will ever resolve their differences because, in my opinion, people on both of this debate are quite extreme in their arguments.
A win-win approach to any situation can only occur when, and if, the leaders on both sides agree to seek a solution that will allow both sides to walk away feeling satisfied.
I fear this may never happen because, as I have watched this debate roaring back and forth for many years, the only common theme that I have noticed is that people on both sides have come to the debating table determined to be right.
And as we all know, and as we have discussed many times, in order for one side to be right, the other side has to be wrong.
It’s called win-lose debating and is guaranteed to ensure that resolution is never reached.
And that, my friends, is a fact.
Till we read again.
P.S. I am very excited to share with you that my book Life Sinks or Soars – the Choice is Yours now has its very own website. Please visit us at www.lifesinksorsoars.com and let me know what you think.
A very special “Thank you” to Condredge Dole of Sweet Little Websites for his terrific creativity in designing the site; to Kelly Martin of My Social Media Bridge for all her ideas and suggestions, and to both of them for their remarkable patience in keeping me as a client.
P.P.S. I had the privilege of doing my first ever radio interview yesterday. The topic of the interview was my book, Life Sinks or Soars – the Choice is Yours. Here is a link to my interview. I would love to hear your thoughts, ideas or suggestions once you have listened to it. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and share your thoughts.