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I know that I haven't been around much of late. This new temporary assignment of mine has kept me busy and I haven't been able to leave as many comments or write as many diaries as I would like. But seriously, have we had so many people TTFNing that kos has had to ban the practice?

There is one thing I have always hated about politics. Well, there's actually two things. I hate that Republicans can be so damn pig-headed that they don't listen to a well thought out critical argument and that Democrats flee at confrontation. Yes, I'm stereotyping but I'm finally beginning to realize that those things I hated aren't as politically partisan as I once thought. Obviously, there are Democrats that are so damn pig-headed that they don't listen to a well thought out critical argument and there are Democrats that flee at confrontation. I have yet to see a Republican run away from an argument though I have seen them run in circles trying to find a way out of one.

Probably one of the first lessons I learned at DailyKos was not to convince someone through logic that they were wrong - especially in the comment section of their very own diary. Now, I'll ask lots of questions to highlight those areas where I think their powers of critical thinking might be on the slim side, but to just blatantly tell someone they're wrong? Then why bother? They're not going to listen and no one is really going to read that comment thread.

Better to ask the questions, read the responses, ask some more questions, and so on. That comment thread is more likely to be read by people who are really trying to figure out what's going on, those undecided readers that lurk in the background. Sometimes I might find that it is my mind that has been changed - you always have to open to that. But more often, I find that the conversation that comes from the questions is worth reading. It really isn't that different from what we should be doing on a national stage - sway the populace by changing the way they think, not by changing what they think.

Change happens when we engage those brains and force people to question their own ideaology. Change usually happens slowly but sometimes there is a catalyst - like a shooting in a small town that leaves 20 children dead. People on the far left and the far right don't change how they think because of that catalyst but folks in the middle, those are the ones that are now open to changing their minds. They find themselves pulled hard in one direction or the other. And it makes those on the far left and far right pull harder than ever to hold on to any new ground or grab fast to pull it back. It's a time of extreme anxiety for everyone because the political outcome is so unsure. It puts many of us on edge.

When folks TTFN, they remove valuable voices from the conversation. This isn't just true for DailyKos - it's true in political conversations everywhere I've lived, from California to Texas, from Washington DC to Alaska. I wish we could give these folks a pill to help them see that they shouldn't worry so much about the people that outright disagree with them - that they should continue the conversation not for the pig-headed guy who isn't listening but for that lurking reader trying to place just one more piece in the puzzle to figure out where they should lean in the end.

Originally posted to MOT - Morning Open Thread on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 03:30 AM PST.

Also republished by Courtesy Kos.

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