Band together

By By Clayton Norlen

By Clayton Norlen

When I was 8 years old, I solved a problem by throwing a dirt clod into a peer’s mouth before immediately realizing there was a more humane way to do things. In the time I’ve been around since, I’ve noticed the best way to solve a problem is through discourse.

But in today’s political climate, publicly proclaiming your political leanings may be enough to warrant tar-and-feathering in many places. So how are we supposed to discus the issues of the day when no one is willing to hear us out?

Introducing OrangeBand-an initiative dedicated to promoting respectful conversation. OrangeBand is a nonprofit organization that promotes exploration of the issues you deem important-whatever you deem important. Be it education, gay rights or global warming, no matter what stance, it is yours to discuss. OrangeBand is nonpartisan, but it encourages you to take a stance on issues and voice your opinions.

Now, before you grab an OrangeBand and start screaming that your peers will burn in hell if they don’t support you, I’d like to stress the most important attribute of OrangeBand: These conversations are meant to be constructive and create a better understanding of different viewpoints. Try listening and maybe you’ll learn why someone believes something so strongly. You don’t have to agree, just learn.

Too often, we get caught up in the technicalities of an argument, be it religious predispositions, economic standing or ethnicity-we all approach each argument with predetermined viewpoints. OrangeBand offers us an opportunity to set our dispositions aside and learn why others feel the way they do.

I wrote “federally funded stem cell research” on my OrangeBand. A religiously active friend asked why I was wearing such a politically charged statement on my sleeve, and I took the opportunity to explain the OrangeBand initiative and why I feel the way I did about stem cell research. It’s so easy it is to incorporate OrangeBand into everyday life. My friend and I parted ways, still friends, but with a better understanding of why the other thinks the way he or she does.

Maybe you believe more needs to be done concerning immigration reform, or perhaps you are furious about social security. Do you want our troops sent home today? Or do you think America needs to finish the job? Health care got you worried?

Grab a band and let everyone know what you think and why you think it.

Currently, the right and the left of the political spectrum have been pushed to such extremes that it is getting harder and harder to find middle ground on which we can all stand united to resolve our society’s ills. OrangeBand provides that common ground.

For those of you who have registered with OrangeBand, check your e-mails for upcoming forums and speakers in the future. Let’s give constructive conversation a try and see what we can learn.