When I saw a comparison between a 2012 election panels and a 2016 election panel group, what I noticed different between them was that while the 2012 panel group was willing to listen, the 2016 version’s participants were all trying to out-talk each other. I wanted to sound an air horn just to get them all to shut up. But here’s the thing: if you want to use an extremely loud sound machine designed for the outside indoors, in my book, you have gone from decency into the ridiculous. And that’s the trouble: we’ve now gotten ridiculous in talking, and absolutely no listening. We act as if we’ve got two mouths and no ears, when in reality we’ve got two ears and one mouth. Besides, some of the best points I have picked up have actually come from listening.
My sympathy towards the Black Lives Matter movement, for example, came from the fact that calming down and giving the black person the consideration one would a white person … is entirely reasonable. Sure, I’m pro-cop. But I’m also pro-equality, pro-compassion and pro-reason. Plus, if you actually believe all lives matter like I do – and not just saying that because you feel left out because you are white – then Black Lives Matter is simply another truth. But I digress. We are talking about listening and not just talking.
Talking without listening is just blabber. A bridge can be traveled two ways. Considering the 2016 focus group, the trouble with all the talking and not listening is this: I did not hear any particular viewpoint. All I heard was this mass of noise which tangled and paralyzed every viewpoint inside it. It was like there was too much noise, too much static to hear anyone. If everyone talks and no one listens, you cannot really hear a person speak. One has to listen as well as speak. What I see with all the talking and no one listening is that everybody seems to be afraid of not being heard and not being understood. The trouble is, with all the cacophony of all talk and no listen, is that I did not hear, and I did not understand. It was too much for my ears to take in.