Civil Discourse

by Andrew Miner

Does it seem to you, the reader, that in the reach for solutions to today’s problems the discourse we see and hear on a daily basis often bypasses early and middle stages of civil discussion? By that I mean printed commentary and web content alike seem to jump to rhetorical conclusions characterized by innuendo and a rush to judgment. This seems to me especially notable in the comments offered at the end of web articles where hyper-opinion often dominates and where open-minded analysis is missing. It is time to tone down the rhetoric and be civil about it.

What is missing in such rhetoric are the rudimentary steps to civil discourse, including listening, talking, and joint problem solving. These are the attributes that lead to effective mediation of inter-personal problems and conflict resolutions. Perfecting these skills is one thing that Mediation Services of Adams County teaches in its training courses. Employing these skills is what mediators do on regular basis.

MSAC is a resource available to parties in an active dispute who are willing to sit down with an independent mediator and address disputes based on a process of listening, learning, talking and joint problem-solving. Parties get to talk without interruption. Effective problem solving can’t happen unless all parties can participate without interruption in civil discourse. Having a trained independent mediator enables the process to work as intended.

Anyone in the community can call the MSAC Help Line at 334-7312 and leave a message for the Mediation Services Intake Coordinator, who will get back to you to schedule a mediation session.

Andrew Miner is retired from the New York State Department of Corrections where he worked as a Deputy Superintendent of Administration in various NYS prisons. Andrew currently serves on the Board of Mediation Services of Adams County.