An “agenda” often refers to the underlying intentions and motives of a person or group. Nothing wrong with that. Unless, of course, that agenda colors ALL discussion, context, and debate. We see people casting votes based soley on a single agenda item (abortion, environmentalism, immigration, gun control, unions, charter schools) despite the ability of a candidate to serve well in that office in a variety of areas. We tend to demonize the oppostiion—who tend to be people just like us who happen to have a differing set of beliefs.
I’m pretty sure F. Scott Fitzgerald said that “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” The notion that simply because some people don’t agree with us makes them inferior in intelligence is a concept so noxious that I don’t know where to begin with it. Over time my own values have changed in some of the areas I noted above. That’s because I kept trying to understand the other point of view, not destroy it. I don’t feel threatened by other viewpoints, whether I disagree with them or not.
Strong views are healthy in a democracy. Passion is to be praised. However, it’s impossible to have an annealing process without allowing the requisite cooling period to strenghten the disperate elements. Things can get much too hot if we merely keep throwing wood on the fire.
Neurosis is the inability to tolerate ambiguity.
– Sigmund Freud
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