I love this verse from Joseph Smith History. It's verse 6:
"A scene of great confusion and bad feeling ensued...so that all their good feelings one for another, if they ever had any, were entirely lost in a strife of words and a contest about opinions."It's so easy to fall into this trap. I have been doing much thinking about how to avoid it, and in the middle of all of these very musings, I sank into the trap myself. I found myself thinking about a candidate for public office, making comments to myself about how untrustworthy he was and how I distrusted him, dwelling on a small lie he had told that I thought showed a lack of character. And then, whammy, I caught myself.
I was a little shocked to discover that I could be WRITING and TALKING about how to be kind and reasonable in our public discourse while internally I was criticizing and labeling.
Pot, kettle, dark color, whatever. It's me, too.
We are to learn to act and not to be acted upon (2 Ne 2:26). It's hard work. We have to be vigilant in our words and even in our minds. It's one thing to note facts and opinions so we can be informed, but another to cast aspersions about people, whether politicians, school officials, neighbors, or family members.
I want to build good feelings, not lose them in a "strife of words and a contest about opinions." It's not as fun as being snarky, but it's a whole lot more rewarding.