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June 2, 2021 · OPINION

The desire to improve the state of our public dialogue

By Sandra Roszel
Leadership Fauquier Executive Director

I immensely enjoyed collaborating with our local Republican and Democratic committees, the Piedmont Dispute Resolution Center and The Open Book in hosting a community reading event.

The selected book, Love Your Enemies, How Decent People Can Save America From the Culture of Contempt by Arthur Brooks, resonated with each person who participated, regardless of political or social perspectives. All those who joined the book discussions shared their thoughts and feelings in a deeply honest and respectful manner.

This event made it abundantly clear that there is an overwhelming desire to improve the current state of public (and private) dialogue.

Here are a few of the treasures we uncovered:

• Acknowledging responsibility for our own role in polarization is key to improving the current climate.

• Relationships with family, friends and colleagues must be valued and preserved.

• Curiosity can lead us out of our bubbles and into more understanding of those with different perspectives.

• Respect must replace stereotyping, labeling and demeaning.

These simple, yet powerful nuggets can easily be put into practice by anyone, immediately.

We encourage each of our community members to consider taking one step towards reducing the culture of contempt. Our small group of collaborators is growing as new and diverse relationships are developing.

Watch for more community events centered around improving dialogue and listening to understand.

The writer leads a nonprofit organization vocused on “Creating a Thriving Community Through Informed and Connected Leaders.”

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