By Jo Shroyer
Can We Talk?
Moreover, can we disagree with each other without using words as weapons?
A political argument once injured one of my oldest friendships. A discussion on my Facebook wall took a sudden, angry turn when a "friend" whom I'd never met face-to-face joined in on a conversation and let loose political invective against a true friend I've known all my life. I tried to divert the discussion away from the heated rhetoric, but they kept at it. My lifelong friend — whose son has served several tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan — could not tolerate being called un-American. She blamed me for not adequately defending her and this incident became a litmus test of our friendship. She and I have been as close as sisters and have much in common, but our political views have drifted far apart over the years. Now, we are finding our way back from this experience, because we both know that some things simply transcend politics.
So, I ask you — how do we remain open to the complexities of truth, to the heartfelt concerns of others whose ideas differ from ours? And how do we get anything done as citizens or solve serious problems, if we are so opposed to each other's views that we can't even listen?
These questions touch on the very core of Saint Mary's educational mission and inform the writing in this issue of our magazine.
The Saint Mary's ethos is grounded in the idea that diversity of thought, brought together in the discussion of great books and challenging ideas, is central to a mind-expanding education.
This is a risky venture, throwing open the doors to a complicated world. Assumptions are challenged. but the journey allows our students to understand and embrace their spiritual identities, navigate choppy waters, contribute to answers instead of discord, and approach the world with an open, listening heart.