Project Someone director Vivek Venkatesh recently appeared on Radio Noon Quebec with Shawn Apel to discuss rising levels of anger, violence and polarization in the context of the upcoming federal election and the ongoing pandemic.
On September 8th, Venkatesh spoke with host Leah Hendry about how pandemic-related anxiety has led some to take drastic measures to be heard by their political representatives and fellow citizens, noting that many are willing to put their reputations on the line for their cause.
“They’re crying out for attention, they want to be heard,” Venkatesh said. “Maybe it’s time to say, ok, what do you have to say, beyond the fact that you want to utter swear words and you want to insult the person, what is it that is troubling you the most?”
Venkatesh advocated for the importance of constructive, agonistic dialogue, in which opposing parties make an effort to understand one another’s rationales, rather than relying on ad hominem insults. He noted that too often, we value consensus over healthy debate, which leaves many feeling marginalized and unaccounted for.
According to Venkatesh, we should instead focus on constructing models and platforms that are more conducive to pluralistic dialogue and social education.
Venkatesh appears at 30:24. Listen here.