We need more civility in our culture.
The national dialog has coarsened to the point that the old rules of politeness aren’t enough to ensure that my opinion will carry the day. Are you doing your part to listen to me and agree with me no matter what?
Sadly, most people aren’t.
In this toxic environment, we can’t even hear each other anymore. And the problem is not that I can’t hear you. The problem is that you can’t hear me. When you can’t hear me, you can’t adopt my view on any given subject as the new standard of truth.
This is unacceptable.
How can we even understand each other and move forward as a society under these circumstances?
Here’s how: Just stop talking, nod slowly, and give me a glazed-over, dead-eyed smile while you do it. Abandon all thought. Whatever baseless opinions, ideas, and cherished beliefs you may have, disregard them. Your irrelevant comments are only getting in the way of a meaningful discussion of the issues that matter. Make my opinions your own. It’s not that hard.
By nodding vacantly and agreeing with me at all times, we can stop the general discourse from descending into demonizing, name-calling and hostility.
I’ll continue to demonize you, of course, and call you plenty of hilarious and belittling names. I’ll be hostile too. I’ll sic my followers on you. But you won’t be able to do any of that to me. You need to do a better job closing your mouth and taking my abuse with pleasure.
You should be thanking me. I’m telling you what you need to hear: my opinion. But whatever you do, thank me silently, with your glassy stare and empty-headed nod. No one needs to hear your voice, least of all me.
For example, if I tell you all polar bears need to be dressed in Little Lord FauntLeroy suits in order to beautify our pristine Arctic lands, you need to nod your head in abject agreement. This is the most important issue of our times, according to me. So, don’t think. Just agree. See? It’s easy!
This is how we’ll begin to find common ground as a society. We must unify around me, around everyone agreeing with me, and around everyone accepting what I say without question.
That’s the kind of society I want to live in, and I’m sure you agree.
If I tell you to jump, just do it. Don’t ask how high. That’s a waste of my time and furthermore it makes me expend energy coming up with a specific jumping distance. That’s asking too much of me, and it’s inconsiderate. Just jump your highest. For my amusement.
Jump, dog! I command it!
Believe it or not, this simple act of decency will put us well on our way to a more harmonious society.
But we have a long way to go. We all need to work harder to pay attention to every word that comes out of my mouth. Wisdom flows like a mighty river from me. But when you talk, it’s like a chimp throwing feces around its zoo enclosure.
Let’s say I’m drunk or talking in my sleep. Should you still slavishly devote yourself to my every utterance?
I think you know the answer. (It’s “yes.”)
Heed my words, enshrine them in law, and wear robes and walk around in unison nodding at me in silence. I guess you can say “om” in low, drawn-out tones, but that’s about as much as I’ll allow.
If I say interstate highway signs are delicious, I expect to see you trying to milk a highway sign and consume its fluids with a dumb smile on your face. If you catch my eye while you’re drinking your “sign milk,” give me a big thumbs-up!
In this modern age, we’re all virtually sequestered in our own worldview, and not enough of these worldviews are centered around adoring me. Everyone, regardless of political affiliation, must be united by the common belief that I am right. Think of me first and yourself last or, better yet, not at all. Worship me. Pledge your eternal loyalty and promise to die rather than disobey me. Only then we can have a constructive dialog.
I’m sure you agree with everything I’ve said here. And you’ll be pleased to know I have more to say. My new book, “Our Polar Bears Need Little Nancy-Boy Suits,” will be distributed free to every home, ward and cell in the country. Look for yours soon! It’s your new Bible. Memorize it, cherish it, and let’s move the national conversation forward.