Monday, May 03, 2010

The Practice of Listening

Food for thought:

" ... if you’re somebody who only reads the editorial page of The New York Times, try glancing at the page of The Wall Street Journal once in a while. If you’re a fan of Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh, try reading a few columns on the Huffington Post website. It may make your blood boil; your mind may not be changed. But the practice of listening to opposing views is essential for effective citizenship. It is essential for our democracy.

And so, too, is the practice of engaging in different experiences with different kinds of people. I look out at this class and I realize for four years at Michigan you have been exposed to diverse thinkers and scholars, professors and students. Don’t narrow that broad intellectual exposure just because you’re leaving here. Instead, seek to expand it. If you grew up in a big city, spend some time with somebody who grew up in a rural town. If you find yourself only hanging around with people of your own race or ethnicity or religion, include people in your circle who have different backgrounds and life experiences. You’ll learn what it’s like to walk in somebody else’s shoes, and in the process, you will help to make this democracy work. ... "

- The POTUS, from a commencement address Saturday at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

Hat-tip: Sully

1 comment:

claire said...

Ah, The Wall Street Journal vs The New York Times, vs. The National Catholic Reporter...

Thank you for reminding me. I nurture my peace of mind by avoiding what I do not like; maybe I should practice my peace of mind by going there.