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Letter to the editor: William R. Boone

Dear Editor,

Enough is Enough!

Let’s start over – it is a new year!

I love this country and hate to see it torn apart with people’s bickering. Usually I represent the “silent majority” (we think we ought to do something, but we fail to do anything). However, I can no longer sit idly by; so here is my something:

People try to remove my God and His name from their buildings, structure, etc. People try to disrespect my flag. People vandalize or destroy property that belongs to my fellowman or me. I say, “Enough is enough.”

I am a portsider, a southpaw or just plain a left-hander, whatever you would like to call me.

Statistically, people like me comprise approximately 10% of the population. This means we are a minority. However, we do not picket or destroy property or demand steering wheels be placed on the right side of cars so we can shift with our left hand or adjust the radio with our left hand. We do not protest because there are not enough baseball gloves, scissors or power tools made for left-handed people. We simply accept we are a minority and get along with others - we respect the concept of majority rules.

However, just because majority rules, the majority does not have the right to ignore the minority. Everyone involved needs to stop, listen, build trust and move towards compromise.

Many of our leaders, whether they be political or part of an unruly swarm, are not helping the current dissolution that seems to perfuse throughout our United States of America. They become oblivious to words such as “compromise,” “respect,” or even “love” for their fellow man. (I use the word “man” as a universal term and do not think it necessary to specify gender or lack thereof.) These leaders need to “soften” their hearts, to use the term from the Book of Exodus Chapter 7. They need to place their country above their respective parties/organizations or their personal agendas. Unfortunately, rather than compromise, it appears people are diametrically opposed to each other with thoughts of revenge.

Regardless of affiliations or agendas, leaders need to figure out how to communicate peacefully in order to get their point across and their wishes known. To do this, I would suggest they try these rules on for size:

Six Ground Rules for a Meaningful Dialogue

1. Suspend your preconceived ideas

2. Listen and absorb the other side’s point of view

3. Ask questions when necessary, but remember both sides must use neutral language

4. Compromise – ask your opponents for “advice” not their “opinion” (If you ask for “opinions,” this encourage opponents to see themselves as separate from you and thus decreases the odds they will compromise.)

5. Redraft the issue

6. Lighten up – people do not laugh because they think laughter makes them vulnerable. However, you gain so much through vulnerability because you let the other person in and that draws you closer together.

Some Thoughts before You Start the Dialogue

- Start a new habit - remember the good from the past rather than the bad.

- Extend an olive branch with a random act of kindness (a gift).

-Remember what the novelist L. P. Hartley said, “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.”

-Base the discussion around valid facts and not conjectures.

-Direct your anger towards problems – not people. Focus your energies on answers – not excuses.

- Remember the issues may be more complex than you think.

- Set your thoughts and opinions aside and listen to others. This will affirm the dignity of the other person, his/her values and beliefs, and will help to move towards a common goal.

-There is no limit to what can be accomplished if no one cares who gets the credit.

William R. Boone, Ph.D.

Abbeville, South Carolina

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