I had the best conversation with an older gentleman this past weekend than I’ve had in a long, long time. It spawned from his reading my column last week regarding us finding our similarities first and then come to a common ground on where we differ.
I was very flattered he had taken my words into consideration and was willing to have a discussion. Totally opposite of our cancel culture we endure every day, he was seeking a conversation and dialogue. He was sincere in his thoughts and from my perspective really looked at things as they are, not as they appear on the surface. As most folks should know, that’s a pretty nifty feat.
One of the other things as we talked that became perfectly clear is that he is an American, and by that I mean he has a true understanding of his own feelings towards his country, but also has an appreciation for others opinions as well. He doesn’t lean in any one direction when it comes to politics, but he had definitive opinions on the state of our country. I have learned over the years that the most informed people I have ever had the great opportunity to talk with have served in our military branches. These men and women have always shown a great depth of knowledge when it comes to current affairs involving our country.
I have to believe that most of that knowledge comes with having served in different parts of the country, if not the world. I think there is a certain perspective gained from having served in our military. I believe it comes from being part of something bigger than any one individual, but it also comes from a regimen of duty, honor and sacrifice.
With all that being said, I also didn’t agree with all of his opinions, or current views. That’s my right too, but in the end I think we fell pretty much in line with many of our beliefs.
We agreed on the right to protest peacefully and push an agenda which opens opportunity to everyone rather than a select few. We also agreed the federal government does not express the “will of the people,” at this current point in our history.
We agreed that the many, many fine women and men who serve as our officers of law are being lumped together in a very unfair way in light of recent actions by a few. We agreed the rumblings of defunding the police departments in our country would be a lethal blow to our way of life. We also agreed justice should be swift and severe for those involved in the recent shootings and incidents involving police officers after legal due process.
Multiple other subjects were discussed including the current Covid-19 pandemic, which by all rights placed this gentleman right in the middle of the age group most affected. He wears a mask when in public, but not at home. He has a feeling of being misled at times during the crisis and felt many media outlets promoted fear, including my newspapers. We disagreed on that point and we discussed how his perspective weighed against mine.
Interestingly, as our discussion continued and I stated my editorial thoughts and he stated his, we again found common ground. Funny, what started as a disagreement on a very divisive subject led to an understanding from both sides of the fence.
As we walked to our respective cars I thanked him for his comments and for the conversation. It was amazing what 20 good minutes of mature conversation can lead too. It’s something that I wish we could do as a country.
And on that, we both agreed.
If you see me, say “Hey!”
Dee McLelland is the Publisher of the Coastal Courier and the Bryan County News. He can be reached at dmclelland@ coastalcourier.com or 876-0156.