Two Sides to Every Story

By Carol McClain: @carol   _mcclain

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. James 1:19

Good friends and a nephew refused to watch the Super Bowl because NBC or Super Bowl LII denied an ad from veterans asking people to respect the flag. Based on knowledge of our society’s agendas, both conservative and liberal, these good people saw a conspiracy against traditional values. It sounded right.

Feeling a little unpatriotic, I couldn’t miss my Super Bowl party and my favorite sporting event–not to mention the possibility of seeing the cutest quarterback in history get a Super Bowl ring (you figure out to whom I’m referring). While watching, I discovered the probable reason for not running the patriotism ad.

Every commercial was essentially a Kumbaya  event. Ethnic babies–each adorable; a priest, rabbi, iman and Buddhist monk racing in their Toyota to a football game; Budweiser canning water for hurricane victims; and of course, a new slant on a use for Tide Pods–cleaning clothes. The entire event became a celebration of our commonality. It steered clear of ideology and allowed everyone to watch and enjoy and forget the divisive world we live in.

I used to tell my AP students to be sure they read opinions they disagreed with. They would never know the truth–or at least how to dispute false claims–if they didn’t know what the opposition thought.

In Journalism, my students had to offer two view points. They might be writing a column on no-kill animal shelters, but they had to present one expert who disagreed.

We can’t know the whole truth. We cannot reach consensus, or achieve our ideals if we close our minds to other viewpoints. Most of the time, both sides contain facts. Respect heals. We don’t need to agree. We need to honor.


The effects of closed-mindedness:

  1. lack of empathy
  2. polarization
  3. misconceptions
  4. hatred
  5. divisions, violence and wars










1 Comment

  1. John Polly says:

    Very good article Carol. It’s always good to see issues from every angle.

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