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National Conversation

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Kerby Andersonnever miss viewpoints

One of the standard clichés surfacing these days when a controversial topic is mentioned, is that we need to have a national conversation about (fill in the blank). Christian Schneider instead says, “We Need a National Conversation about National Conversations.” He is correct.

An article in the New York Times years ago noted that the term “national conversation” was already being used three times as much as in previous years. My quick Google search of the phrase brought up 1.5 billion hits.

Christian Schneider reminds us in his article why I have come to dislike the cliché. The call for a national conversation isn’t intended to provoke an actual conversation. It’s an excuse to have you sit while someone lectures you about guns, race, abortion, transgenderism, the environment, or a multitude of other topics.

And calls for a national conversation often are used to divert the conversation from the actual issue. A senator from Pennsylvania is dealing with depression and other mental issues. The topic should be whether he should have been running for office or whether he should still stay in office given the circumstances. But we are instead told we need to have a national conversation about mental health.

When candidate Kamala Harris was asked during the presidential campaign whether America should allow murderers and terrorists to vote while sitting in prison, she proposed that we have a national conversation about the issue.

Perhaps what we really need are millions of personal conversations with family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers about real issues that we can do something about in our neighborhoods, schools, and places of work. We are more likely to identify real problems and find practical solutions instead of just having a national conversation.viewpoints new web version

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