America is nervous. This is how you get involved in a better future. – Greeley Tribune

A sense of fear and apprehension surrounds us.

Name one topic in 2022 and everyone we know will get their blood boiling. Abortion, guns, gay rights, Supreme Court rulings, race, immigration, free speech, elections (the next and the last), the January 6 riot, the congressional hearings, gas prices, inflation, supply chain issues, the possibility of a recession and the war in Europe.

Read the public comments on a publishing website (don’t) or read your friend’s political post on Facebook or Twitter (should you do less) and the country seems hopelessly torn apart, snoring with rage, rancor and mean sniperism. Talking Heads on Opinion News 24 Hours? Oops!

A few simple suggestions.

1) Don’t get involved any angry debate. Let the acrimonious partisans quarrel among themselves.

2) Don’t watch the angry debate that often. Turn off the TV, put down the newspaper (sorry Denver Post), and turn off your phone and computer.

3) Choose to be effectively engaged rather than being a passive commentator or observer.

hard to do? Not really, as millions of citizens do every day. Most of our friends have seen the joy in their families and in their faith. They have hobbies and go on vacation. They have also seen the pain of injury, illness, tragedy, and the death of loved ones and friends. They have matured to understand that not every battle needs to be fought every day. Extremes are not what satisfy most mature citizens.

Most citizens spend their days doing meaningful work or volunteering. Hike, read a book, meet up with neighbors or friends, and enjoy a Colorado sunset. Some learn a new hobby or revive an old passion. Most effective citizens get involved, but they do so wisely.

When the ideas market is full of hate or anger, we think that’s the new norm. When we then culturally leave the discussions to others, we begin to misunderstand what is really going on in our society. We need to do more, not less, just to gain allies and friends to our cause.

If you decide to engage a friend on a topic of the day (never argue with a stranger online), keep these tips in mind: Never question someone’s motives or integrity. View their conversations and comments in the most favorable and charitable light. Expect and demand the same in return. giving and receiving grace. Then find areas of shared connectedness and areas of some agreement.

We seem to have forgotten that we and others can modify and change our views on an issue. Rarely, if ever, do we change because of threats or insults, or when we are pressured. We change because we have gained new insight from someone we respect or love.

A note on social media. We find what we are looking for. If your feed is full of politics, it’s because you want it to be full of politics. The same applies to anger and meanness. If you engage with a post, you will get more of these types of posts.

Culturally, if we want problems to be solved instead of endlessly arguing about them, if we want our elected officials to focus on solving problems instead of seeking the limelight, then we need to shine the light on what we do Looking for. We as citizens need to focus on what we love, not what we hate.

Love is a powerful tool if we use it, but it takes time. Hate is quick and easy for most of us, and keeping that flame burning is often rewarding. For a full life we ​​should seek and give love in our vocation and passions for public policy.

Over the next few months, I intend to write down my thoughts on a variety of subjects, including in the first paragraph. I want these thoughts to be a beginning rather than an end to the conversation, and I encourage you to join me.

I do not intend to particularly change any opinions on any controversial issues of the day.

I intend to be a more engaged and thoughtful citizen and I applaud your partnership in this endeavor. Our communities, our state and our nation deserve this. Want to join me?

– John Brackney is a former elected official, army officer, lifelong Coloradan and business leader. He hosts a weekly discussion on contemporary public policy with US history professor Stephen Tootle live on Facebook and posted to YouTube. Contact him at America is nervous. This is how you get involved in a better future. – Greeley Tribune

James Brien

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