These days we all talk about political correctness. Political correctness makes us more aware of what we say but political correctness misses the mark because it often stops an idea from being expressed.
The worst political outcome is when two opposing sides are unable to talk. Sadly, political correctness has been used as a weapon in order to gag opposing ideas.
So let us talk about emotional correctness.
Political debate, especially in Australia, but no doubt across many societies, has seen the gradual decline in respect for another person who holds a different opinion to our own. The best way to combat this is through a focus on emotional correctness.
As Mayor I hold various opinions and argue for various causes. This puts me in direct opposition to people who want to see a different outcome. This opposition is a very good thing. Thankfully I have never been 100% correct 100% of the time. Often, my position will evolve as a direct result of speaking to those who hold another point of view. This works both ways (I like to think more often than not). Ultimately though, the end game is that the decisions made are best not for me, not for someone else, but for the many people who will be affected by the changes that eventuate.
We don’t want to live in a society in which we gag one another by claiming that a person is politically incorrect. We want to focus on emotional correctness. We want to focus on respect.
Some of my best friends hold very different opinions on almost every issue we discuss. The reason we are friends is because we have wonderful hearts and I know that they would drop what they are doing in order to help me out if I was in trouble, sick or distressed, these people would do what they could to alleviate my suffering.
Indeed there are some people I am idealistically the same as but because of the vitriolic attitudes they take in expressing their opinions I simply could not count on them. I wouldn’t feel confident in asking them for guidance because I know they would lead me down a very narrow path.
Perhaps sport can be used as a good analogy. There are people you enjoy playing a game of tennis against even though they win 90% of the time. You respect them. There are other quality players you know would make a great tennis doubles partner but who playing with would make you cringe because of the way they would contest decisions unnecessarily.
If we are to find our way back to a decent democracy the focus must be placed on the way we talk with our children about political issues. These are the conversations that will determine how they will in turn approach political issues with their friends. These early conversations are the birth place of our future leaders’ attitudes, temperaments and characters.