Debate, discuss, seek other points of view. No opinion is better or worse than others. Exercising one’s critical spirit is the salt of democracy, an integral part of a free and democratic society in which our uniqueness becomes its strength.
The task that the Roosevelt Movement has set itself since its inception is to unite the truly progressive and democratic forces of society under the banner of the Declaration of Human Rights: an orchestra made up of several instruments, a choir consisting of many voices who sing in unison and praise each person and their dignity.
At last month’s (virtual) meeting of the Roosevelt Movement UK, held for the first time ever online, we discussed the need for everyone to exercise their critical thinking in a particular social situation, such as the one that Covid-19 has thrown up, in which, even more than in the past, citizens are called upon to discern and ‘distill’ the information handed to them by the mass media. We have the need – and the sacred duty – not to let (as it inevitably happens in every time of crisis and social tension) that one’s rights are not trampled on. Our children and future generations will be grateful; it is up to us to observe, understand, question, and to find the truth with the noble intent of taking care of a world that we have (only) borrowed.
Today, even more than yesterday, when the truth seems to be masked behind a charade of mis-told narratives and half truths, tortured by destructive and undemocratic pressures, we must listen to opinions different from our own, discuss and debate day after day, and find common ground between our positions.
People daren’t debate anymore for fear of being shouted down. The first step – which does take bravery – is to start listening to others’ opinions and stop being at each other’s throat, which will not only enrich the very fibres of society but will also decree the defeat of human irrationality.
Take the first step towards this today. Be open to being a listener. This is how we start important conversations. And get debating.