Michelle Mann

With the March 3 primary elections zooming towards us and the municipal elections looming in August, there is a cartoon that I think should be required reading.

In the center of the one frame drawing is the number six horizontally on the ground.

There are two stick figures in the drawing, one on each end of the horizontal numeral, both staring at their end of the number intently.

One stick figure is standing at the rounded bottom part of the numeral and says he clearly sees the number six lying on the ground. The second stick figure is standing at the long straight part of the number and says he definitely sees a number nine lying on the ground.

The caption below it reads: “Just because you are right does not mean that I am wrong. You just haven’t seen life from my side.”

As the eldest of six children who grew up in countries not my own, I learned early that disagreements happen but that agreeing to disagree is an “okay” solution.

Living in a highly polarized time, it is not difficult to find differences in opinion. Listening to a number of political candidates vying for elected office it’s clear that most have strong opinions on a variety of topics.

The thing about opinions is that they do not have to be based on logic or facts. Opinions can be based on emotions, personal preferences or personal experiences. So disagreeing about an issue does not make one person right and the other person wrong.

Agreeing to disagree doesn’t mean you relinquish your opinion. It simply means you keep your opinion, recognize others’ right to have a different opinion and agree not to argue about it.

As the elections approach here’s hoping the actual issues will stay front and center and that we stay focused on the primary goal of moving our respective municipalities and our country forward.

“Listen and learn” is a life lesson taught in preschool. Listening shows respect for others’ views and lets them know you care about them enough to listen. Don’t put down others’ ideas and disagree with respect.

In “All I really need to know I learned in Kindergarten,” Robert Fulghum offers some thoughts worth pondering. Here are a few: Play fair; don’t hit people; say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody; when you go out in to the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together.”

Practice patience and take the time to appreciate a point of view different from our own. When all else fails, we can always agree to disagree.

An informed voter is the best voter. The late great Walter Cronkite once said, “In seeking truth you have to bet both sides of a story.” With all due respect to the longtime CBS Evening News anchor, there are often more than two sides to a story.

A transparent government and integrity are central issues at election time.

But, ultimately, it is up to voters to decide whether a transparent government and integrity are important to them or not.

Michelle Mann is a staff writer for The Southeast Sun and Daleville Sun-Courier. The opinions of this writer are her own and not the opinion of the paper. She can be reached at (334) 393-2969 or by email at mmann@southeastsun.com.

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