This article appeared in the December 21, 2020 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 12/21 edition

For 2021: Moving past blame, honoring perspectives

Hannah McKay/Reuters
A walker passes by the Round Pond in Kensington Palace Gardens as the sun rises in London on Dec. 17, 2020. Days start growing longer in the Northern Hemisphere as winter officially begins on Dec. 21.
Clayton Collins
Director of Editorial Innovation

After today, sunlight starts to linger longer in the Northern Hemisphere. 

It may be hard to find solace in more light. New threats flare around global public health, the U.S. political transition, cybersecurity. There’s blame and broken discourse. 

It can be tempting to assemble facts and just keep slinging them.

“But facts aren’t reliably corrective in and of themselves,” writes Whitney Phillips, who teaches media and culture at Syracuse University, “especially when believers occupy a totally different ideological paradigm as the debunker.”

Addressing journalists for the media-watcher Nieman Lab, Dr. Phillips calls for coming to terms through listening, not just outputting. It’s a constructive formula for shifting thought.

“We develop our beliefs through our feelings, not our brains,” writes Amanda Abrams in Yes! magazine. “And that’s how we’re changed as well: by connecting with others and having an emotional experience.” Ways to get there include wider contact, earned trust, and storytelling.

Can this thinking trickle down? Politico’s Tim Alberta got 20 Americans to describe their thinking about the election. This isn’t dish-and-dash vox pop. Built from recurring chats, his story is an exploration of complexity over caricature. It may even help show a way out of the darkness.

“We just need leaders with the courage to honestly listen to all sides and try to lead a unified country, rather than push an agenda supported by less than half the country,” a California man told Mr. Alberta. “I do have confidence that we can work it out.”

This article appeared in the December 21, 2020 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 12/21 edition
You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.