In this image made from a video provided by Hamilton LLC, actor Brandon Victor Dixon who plays Aaron Burr, the nation’s third vice president, in "Hamilton" speaks from the stage after the curtain call in New York, Friday, Nov. 18, 2016. Vice President-elect Mike Pence is the latest celebrity to attend the Broadway hit "Hamilton," but the first to get a sharp message from a cast member from the stage. (Hamilton LLC via AP)

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We are in a national discourse filled with venom.

No matter who said what, the catcalls are almost always, "Yeah, see..." or "Yeah, but..."

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Jay Greeson

And that, sadly, leaves us with a ton of buts between our shining sees.

If we start there, that every position or viewpoint, regardless of the side of the commentary, is going to be assailed before it gets assessed, where does that leave us?

We are far too quick to tongue lash and far too slow to think.

That said, I am making a concerted effort to find ways to hear more and to listen better.

We have all heard the protests and the pain. It was an emotional election. It affected everyone, even those who didn't vote.

Everyone has a passionate point of view and, believe it or not, that may be as big a reason for positivity moving forward as anything. Maybe those folks — on each side — are ready to get involved and enact change in daily lives in either support or opposition of our current climate.

In terms of the back-and-forth moving forward, though, this question has to be part of the discussion: What is more important, the message or the method?

Think about it, because far too often the former is lost in the details of the latter — be it sports protests or the results of the election.

Sure, people can use the platforms afforded them, and to that end Colin Kaepernick especially got the most bounce for his knee buckling. But is insulting the military and disrespecting the flag really the best way to get your message to the other side?

Again, is it about the message or the method?

That leads us to this weekend, when the star of the Broadway show "Hamilton" chastised Vice President-elect Mike Pence.

The message was about tolerance and acceptance and wanting to be heard. And, the words of that message are fair.

But for a lot of us, delivering that message to a crowd, which led to Pence being booed, completely pushes the message behind the talking points of civility and respect.

Humiliating a man — in front of his family, mind you — is hardly the message of tolerance. Imagine the power of leaving a letter in his seat, even if it didn't get this kind of publicity. But again, is the goal cultural change or popular notoriety?

Pence hopefully can help influence his boss to embrace diversity. Pence can be a better, more tolerant leader, especially in an international job of this importance, and here's hoping this administration takes the high road in finding middle ground.

In fact, can we start with Donald Trump turning in his Twitter? We're all for connectivity. We get Trump wanting to stay connected with the youngsters of today, and there's no denying the reach of social media in this day and age.

But if we are going to examine the message as well as the method on each side, there has to be more to do for the president-elect than sending four Tweets to the "Hamilton" folks demanding an apology. The depth moving forward of Trump's leadership and comments needs to be deeper than 140 characters.

For Pence, though, the bullseye was dropped in his lap at the moment he was with his family, leaving the question clear for the messenger seeking tolerance.

Is humiliation, though, really the best method to encourage that?

Contact Jay Greeson at or 423-757-6343.