Community Issues

I'm Sorry. Why I Need to Apologize (and Maybe You, Too).

Sometimes we're more at fault for what we haven't done. It's a good thing we still have a chance to change that.

So, I'm sorry. There, I've said it. And, to be honest, it's been something that I've been thinking about doing for a while now. Here's why I have to apologize, and what I'm going to do now to make things right:

Now that I've apologized, I plan on writing more. Speaking more. Appearing more. Debating more.

Here was my problem. It just seemed that the word more is really less these days. As in, the more people we have, giving their "points of view," the less we're getting in real dialogue, honest debate, and momentum to move our communities and our nation in the right direction . I guess a lot of that comes from the fact that the more comes from the loudest .

So, I figured, if more is less, perhaps the inverse might be true: less might be more. The less I interact, the more I can help cool down the hot tensions we see in our interactions these days. And not just politics. We bicker about race, jobs, religion, education. So I stopped posting on Facebook and Twitter, stopped engaging in debate.

Then someone said something to me that was a wake up call. He said: "My man, you can fish in every pond - that's a great gift to have."

He was reminding me of the times when I've been able to debate fiercely but nobly with people on various sides of the political spectrum, sometimes on national television, and usually while they were trying to insult me in the process. More often than not, those initial interactions ended up yielding mutual admiration, if not genuine friendships.

What I'm saying is: at a time when we need more people to spread some love and respect for all people across America's diversity, why would someone like me stop engaging folks? Why cede the high road in debating tough issues to people that want to drag our communities into the gutter?

EVERYONE has a voice - a valid voice as Americans and contributors to our civic fabric. These days, the loudest voices are the ones with the most divisive perspectives. If the rest of us, those who are willing to debate without hate, discuss without yelling, and dissect an issue without disrespecting others, speak up a little more, perhaps we can finally get back to some decorum and peace in our communities.

It's on us, folks. We can fix this. I'm starting today. I hope you join me.

At a recent PA Senate hearing, keeping my promise to speak up.

Lenny McAllister is a Sparkt contributor and political commentator featured on BCN network launching November 15. He is a former television and radio show host in Pittsburgh.

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