Agreeably Disagreeing

I like the way that this image (click on it to enlarge it) shows how discussions and debates can sometimes degenerate. I think that no one wins when discussions go this way.. for sure one party may "win" but the cost of their victory is often the destruction of trust and the undermining of future communications. Here are a few notable quotes about disagreements:

If you have learned how to disagree without being disagreeable, then you have discovered the secret of getting along -- whether it be business, family relations, or life itself. -Bernard Meltzer

Guard against the prestige of great names; see that your judgments are your own; and do not shrink from disagreement; no trusting without testing. -John Dalberg Acton

Honest disagreement is often a good sign of progress. -Mahatma Gandhi

Just as war is freedom's cost, disagreement is freedom's privilege. -Bill Clinton

When we are debating an issue, loyalty means giving me your honest opinion, whether you think I'll like it or not. Disagreement, at this stage, stimulates me. But once a decision has been made, the debate ends. From that point on, loyalty means executing the decision as if it were your own. -Colin Powell
I am hoping that our country can move forward and find a way to disagree without being disagreeable.. but I don't see much evidence of it.. both sides are calling folks liars and seem comfortable operating on the bottom level of the triangle.


  1. There are at least 6 different parties participating in the Health Care Reform debate.

    (1) The politicians who support the Obama proposal.
    (2) The politicians who oppose the Obama proposal.
    (3) The pundits who support the Obama proposal.
    (4) The pundits who oppose the Obama proposal.
    (5) The citizens who support the Obama proposal.
    (6) The citizens who oppose the Obama proposal.

    For the most part, the politicians have avoided name calling. Exageration and lying, however, is fundamental.

    The rest of the debaters will never agree or compromise. They are calling each other names, exaggerating and lying. However, these debaters influence the outcome of the legislative process. The pundits use exaggeration and lies to influence the citizens. The politicians, many who face re-election next year, have to satisfy their political parties and their commitments to the lobbyists that contribute to their campaign financing, while appearing to their constituents that they are representing their best interests when they are only trying to get their votes.

    This is no simple matter.


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