The sequence is inevitable, as routinely as denial follows accusation. Mark Cuban could tell you as much.
A single event — as consequential, perhaps, as a death or as tiny as a tweet — shakes us from our inertia. It prods us to think, to feel, to wonder. With our hearts in the right place, we believe some good can come from something.
Appealing to others’ better interests, their reasonableness, must be preferable to dicta from anyone. So we call, to the point of exasperation, for a national conversation on this or a public dialogue on that. It’s an American instinct. This newspaper has done it; public officials do it, from the mayor of Dallas to the attorney general of the United States.
To close the sequence, then, we talk a bit, our guard fully engaged, and then we move on with our lives.
How can this be? Shouldn’t people of good intent be able to accomplish more? Isn’t conversation effective, dialogue positive?
And, too often, that leads to this answer: Conversation should demand the exchange of ideas, employing the disparate skills of talking and listening; dialogue and monologue are different.
Examples abound, but we need look no further than what befell the owner of our professional basketball franchise.