Reflecting on the current political situation in the United States, I see a disconnect between intellectuals and the masses. I also see the construction of an ongoing fight between intellectuals and their political systems, particularly, with the dictatorship style of governance. Now, undesired events including the dictatorship style of governance have been occurring in the US. How to respond and what position to take has been the fundamental questions since November 2016.

This opportunity may allow us to construct a coalition of intellectuals in the globe to seek alternative responses to the political regimes who are elected by some but are not serving all people and are not for all people.

Individualistic discourses push us to take positions against the current political regime and encourage us to rebel against them.  Individualistic discourses influence us to fall into ‘us versus them’ dichotomy. Individualistic discourses that place problems in one person/group serve the current political regime’s agendas. They fuel the ideology of divisiveness and put people against one another. If our responses are formed and influenced by these discourses, we are part of this problem as we, too, perpetuate the dominant rhetoric of divisiveness.

However, after years of being influenced by relational poststructural discourses,  we need to learn new ways of responding to this political shift and its consequences in a dialogical way. Dialogical responses do not perpetuate deficit language. Dialogical responses encourage the practice of listening to the other. They encourage people to put ‘differences’ in the middle and relate to one another as humans. Through these vital and lively interactions that are intentional and are, of course, full of tension, we begin to have, what I call, dialogue with one another about the recent undesirable events.

Dialogue is not about reaching agreements. Dialogue is not about having ‘lovey dovey’ talk without any tension. Dialogue is not about pleasing one another or taking an oppositional stance. Dialogue is about listening to the other. Dialogue is sitting with discomfort. Dialogue is seeking alternative ways of relating to one another in order to collaboratively address differences, contradictions, and problems.

Happy possibilities!

Tahereh Barati

 

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