As heated debate continues not just in my state of Wisconsin, but across the United States on whether unions are great or not, I find myself intensely affected by how the debate is performed. The debate it seems has not become so much about discussing ones points but rather how to viscously take a dig at ones opponent in order to belittle them. Even the governor takes part in this as he continues to criticize and demonize the 14 democratic senators that fled the state. I have been on the receiving end of this as well and have therefore limited my real life dicussions as well as my online ones. And yet, those actively participating in the belittling seem to genuinely think that their methods for discussion is spurring healthy critical thinking and debate rather than seeing it for what it is; simply being critical.
Being critical is much easier than being engaged in critical thinking. Rather than debate anyone using facts or statistics, one can just dismiss the opposing opponent as being a communist or a thug. Rather than educate oneself on the actual issues at hand, one can just repeat the rhetoric being presented by whichever side. Being critical simply saves time, brain power, and energy. Why debate when one can simply destroy?
It is time for critical thinking to be used again. Education and then disseminating the information is a method for moving forward in any situation, whether it be political or not. How are we supposed to build a stronger society when all we do is tear each other down? This applies in every aspect of my life. Think of the regular education discussion with colleagues; are we thinking critical thoughts or are we using critical thinking skills? There is a massive difference. Are we open to new ideas, or do we dismiss them immediately? If we shut ourselves out simply because we do not like the person who is delivering the message, or prior experiences we have had with something similar, then we are not being reformers.
It is time to put the thinking back in critical thinking.