THE BLOG

Why We Need Fewer Arguments And More Discussions

Different opinions might arise on how to deal with an issue but if one analyses the roots, these often call for the same course of action to be taken.

24/04/2017 03:57 SAST | Updated 24/04/2017 03:57 SAST
Brent Stirton / Getty Images
South African political party the E.F.F (Economic Freedom Fighters) supporters and other opposition activists gather in Pretoria, on April 12, 2017 ahead of a march calling for the ousting of the embattled President Jacob Zuma. President Jacob Zuma is facing pressure to step down following a controversial cabinet reshuffle and mass corruption charges.

A society can only truly progress once a solution to overcome an obstacle is found, and for a solution to be found; that obstacle needs to be recognised as such by all members of society. Obstacles often manifest themselves in various forms, and the nature of some of these forms allow certain groups to continue impervious to the true level of discomfort felt by a society at the hands of said obstacle. The only way said groups can be made aware of the obstacle at hand is for them to be shown the true, devious nature of the obstacle. This awareness can be achieved through a simple, but often underappreciated, method: discussion. Nevertheless, arguments which are inherently counterproductive to a progressing society break out.

Society has for too long been polarised between the proverbial "us" and "them". We are all citizens of South Africa who want our nation to progress in all regards. Divergent groups have descended from this common goal to form different opinions on how this goal can be achieved. These groups are often viewed as being in opposition to one another however, the similarities between the two, or multiple, groups far outnumber the differences.

It is these similarities that must be cultivated into a garden of co-existence, a garden in which the best interests of society can be worked upon. The only way for these similarities to be cultivated is for these groups to be made aware of their similarities. An unhindered discussion between leaders of these polarised groups has the ability to unite the two groups for the common benefit of a society who so desperately requires unity over disunity.

However, groups with opposing views on an issue often resort to arguments. An argument between two, seemingly opposing, groups of society serves no purpose but to further deepen divides within society. These divides will lead to nothing but the continued degradation of a society which once showed so much promise. Arguments tend to increase the perceived importance of differences -- I use the word perceived to point out that differences have no real importance with regards to the progression of a society but rather, the importance is manufactured to justify a group's position on an issue- between the two groups. The incessant need for arguments needs to be removed from the armoury of weapons that one group uses against the other.

Nevertheless, a mixture of doubt and skepticism is bound to be fermenting in the minds of those who read this. Don't we, as a people, share different views on what is best of the country? The answer is simple; no. I admit that different opinions might arise on how to deal with an issue but these opinions, if one analyses the roots, are inherently calling on the same course of action to be taken. Take, for instance, the common question on the minds of the politically inclined; should President Zuma be removed from office?

Many political and civil society members have called on the president to do just that, resign. However, just as many structures of the ANC have come out in support of the president. Political arguments have broken out in the form of anti-Zuma marches, which were countered by smaller pro-Zuma rallies. Or even one high-ranking ANC figure speaking out against the president's decisions countered by another high-ranking ANC member applauding the president's decisions. This has led to a stagnation in formulating a solution to the problem; which is President Zuma.

These political arguments needn't take place if those perpetuating them would simply discuss the issue. These political structures need to identify where their allegiance lies. Does it lie with the Republic (or Party), or with the man who got you your job? A discussion of this caliber would lead to a shift in loyalties from being pro/anti-Zuma to pro/anti-SA. A discussion surrounding the leadership of the country has the potential to solve the current crisis that we face as a nation. The ANC has long been famed for its political leadership during times of adversity. It is time for the ANC to once again prove their leadership qualities and discuss this matter, not argue it out.

An argument serves to determine who is right, whilst a discussion serves to determine what is right. Now, more than ever, society needs to determine what is right, and unite to overcome all obstacles in our path. For our path, once free of obstacles, is glistened with greatness.