2.16.2017

The Obligation and Privilege of Seeing Both Sides

You know I am a "on the one hand, on the other hand" sort of a guy.  That when everyone is arguing for something, my inclination is to take a step back and see if there isn't any validity for the opposite perspective.  And that I value greatly that all sides have a right to exist and be heard.

These things are important even and especially when times are rancorous and divisive, when the news updates are flowing fast and furious, and when it is not assumed that what you read is the whole story or even remotely truthful.  Indeed, part of the venom against Donald Trump is on account of his creative license with and at times utter disdain for the truth.  And while I find this highly inappropriate and utterly abhorrent behavior from our president, I also find it ironic and annoying that some of his opposition is fueled by information that is also not totally or even partially true.  So I will continue to try to see both sides and encourage others to do the same.

But I realize that there is a posture of privilege contained from such a perspective.  It is as if I am not on the field itself, but can observe it from a distance as a detached referee or evaluator.  But many who are protesting are not detached from the consequences of President Trump's actions and words, but rather are personally and deeply affected by them in ways that my privilege shields me from.

So which is it?  When is seeing both sides or being neutral what our discourse needs, and when is it a mark of privilege to be able to walk away without condemning a position?  Please consider...
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