Agree? Disagree? When to Walk Away….
If you have wondered if the time and effort you put into League activities and your own personal civic engagement make a difference in the community, the answer is a resounding YES.
Feedback from various local groups, governmental entities or their staff, and the public on some of our LWVLC activities shows they uniformly respect us and our work and appreciate our commitment to making democracy work for all. Just last week, I was told by two sources that they have noticed that elected officials listen when League speaks at public meetings because our comments are informed, well thought out, generally balanced and presented cogently.
Our Larimer County LWV’s respect has been hard earned and nurtured over many decades by the discipline and high-quality work of our LWVLC members and leaders. So, please give a big thank you to our longstanding members – and then give yourself an attaboy or attagirl for continuing to maintain these exacting standards in our work.
Even though we’re respected, there are some who disagree – some strongly — with our positions or our persons.
Our speaker at Back to League, Martin Carcasson, shared great insights into how to deal with this toxic dynamic. Withapologies to Martin, I’ve heard it expressed in another setting as “just because someone is being a jerk doesn’t mean that you need to go there, too.” Martin recommends: pivot and genuinely try to understand where the other person is coming from rather than engaging in debate about the merits of his/her thinking. Perhaps you both will discover that there are some aspects of an issue that you view similarly – or that you can both acknowledge that you understand differing viewpoints — even if your conclusions remain at odds. If the other person continues to rant, go high and say something like, “I hear you what you’re saying. I see it differently. So we’ll just have to agree to disagree,” and walk away.
I am so excited that LWVLC is kicking off its neighborhood zip code meetings this month! We can relax, enjoy getting to know each other better and talk about issues we care about in a smaller, more intimate setting. For those new to town or just exploring the notion of civic engagement, it’s a no-pressure way to learn other people’s stories about becoming engaged. You will likely discover that you’ve been more to make democracy work than you’ve given yourself credit for –writing a letter to your representatives or the editor, attending school/city/county informational events, reading up on ballot issues, etc.
To each and every one of you, thank you for everything you do to make our democracy work.