Tension is an amazing concept. When running cables, you need tension. But, not too much tension or too little. If you have too much tension, the cable will snap. Too little tension, and the cable will sag. When you have just the right amount of tension, you will have strength and support.
Right now, if you are paying even the slightest attention, we are in a political diatribe that is full of tension. Some sides are giving too much slack, other sides are pulling too taught of a line. When you give too much slack on a topic, your arguments appear weak and unsubstantiated. But, when you are too tight and taught, your argument isn’t going to hold under the pressure and will snap.
The truth is that whether you are sagging or too taught… you are being irresponsible. If a team building a suspension bridge leaves too much sag, the bridge is not safe to cross. If a person tightens the cables too much, the weight of the cars and pedestrians will cause it to snap and give way. It’s not just irresponsible, it is dangerous.
When you are irresponsible and dangerous with your words, you are no longer credible.
So what is the RIGHT tension for conversation? Especially on controversial subjects?
Someone once told me that compromise is when you come to an agreement and no one leaves happy. I believe the right tension in conversation, especially about hot button topics, is when we don’t let emotions bring us to over react nor let defensiveness lead us to down play. We look at facts as they are, and then have a good discourse on what the right options or actions would be.
However, our political climate as of late (and I’m talking the last several elections) has put us on extremes. Everyone is quick to defend their candidate (almost at any cost), quick to lambast the opponent (almost with reckless abandon). One is sagged and lacking any tension, the other too taught. Neither can support the weight of the real issue, and it becomes irresponsible dialogue. You lose your credibility when you are unwilling to call a spade a spade and can’t admit wrongdoing. You lose your credibility when you become so critical that a person can literally do nothing right without you finding a way to spin fault. Without credibility, who is going to listen to you? How are you going to make headway?
Since 1995, I’ve been a third party voter. Every election I have voted outside the R & D lines. I have yet to ever see one of my candidates in office. Yet, I make a choice to have integrity in political conversations. I choose to recognize the good, when it happens. I choose to point out the bad, when it happens. I can celebrate a POTUS’ actions, even when I didn’t vote for him, just as much as I can condemn them when necessary.
This is the RIGHT tension.