Judge Samuel Alito spent most of this week in confirmation hearings with
the U.S. Senate. Though Democrats asked many questions, very few seemed
to actually “hear” the nominee’s answers.
Joe Raedle / Getty Images
wife breaks down when the hearings turn into personal attacks.
Senator Ted Kennedy appeared to have very little interest in allowing
the judge to share his heart on important judicial issues. Instead, the
Massachusetts politician worked very hard to smear the president’s
selection for the Supreme Court. He and a few others, like New York’s
Charles Schumer, acted as if the hearings were actually their chance to
be heard by their ideological and financial supporters.
I doubt that either Senator has the slightest idea of who Judge Alito is
as a person, despite their face-to-face conversations. Like far too many
people, especially those in positions of power, they do not listen. They
speak, but they do not hear. To them, listening is simply the part of
the conversation in which they ponder what to say next.
This breakdown in simple communication prevents peace and progress,
wherever it is found, because it undermines trust. Without trust, people
cannot work together. Whether it occurs in “talks” between Jews and
Arabs, Republicans and Democrats, or even husband and wife, two parties
cannot come together without some level of trust.
Trust only comes when we learn to hear each other’s heart. It has been
said that God gave us two ears and one mouth so that we would listen
twice as much as we talk. Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear, let him
But we live in a world of deaf people. They have ears, but do not know
how to listen. Because of this, they resort to prejudicially labeling
people. “He’s a right-winger.” “She’s a feminist.” “That reporter’s a
part of the liberal media.” “Bush hates black people.”
There is no trust. There is only ignorance, bigotry and animosity.
Once these labels are out, people’s minds are closed and their ears are
shut. Subsequent dialogue results in exactly what we have witnessed this
week in Washington, D.C. People ask questions, others answer, and nobody
hears. Private agendas are served; the public is not.
If people can learn to listen, then they can hear their enemy’s heart.
In most cases, this will build bridges toward understanding and lead to
greater cooperation for the common good. In some cases, however, hearing
can lead to a terrifying understanding of the evil that controls an
individual. I have heard the heart of people such as bin Laden and al-Zarqawi,
which is why I understand the importance of defeating their ideas and
destroying their plans. But in most cases, as in our Senate,
understanding the heart of another will develop trust and respect for
that person, despite ideological differences.
Trust and respect break down barriers and enable progress. Without them,
we cannot reach the full potential of our family, our community, our
country or our world. Let’s all make an effort to open our ears to those
around us so that we can learn, understand and truly hear.
Author: James Robison
Word Count: 505
About the author: James Robison is the founder and president of LIFE
Outreach International, an international humanitarian aid ministry; host
of the television program, Life
Today; and author of The
Media Contact: Randy Robison, editor at jamesrobison.net
Photo available upon request. Reprint rights granted with attribution for
complete, unedited article. Revisions allowed only with approval.