From Ty’s prompt here, written in 12 minutes.
“These sort of things just polarize the group more, that’s all I’m saying, Anna. And it doesn’t seem like a good idea.”
“But having a debate is a calm, rational way to work out differences over an issue.” Anna sat on the kitchen counter and kicked her feet despondently, half-heatedly peeling carrots while Cassie seared one of their last slabs of meat. “I don’t see what the problem is.”
“The problem is that you’re expecting humans to act calm and rational. That only works now and then in the best of circumstances, and, really, hon, you can’t say this is the best of circumstances. Are you done with the carrots yet?”
“No, Mom.” She peeled the carrots with more alacrity, stashing all of the peels in their compost bin before moving on to slicing the potatoes. “I don’t get it, though. Back in school, they were really big on ‘man is a rational, thinking being.’ So why can’t we act like it? Why do you and Aunt Sarah and Uncle Todd seem to think that we’re all going to turn into ravening monsters is we sit down and discuss an issue?”
“Well, because ‘thinking being’ is all well and fine, but are you telling me you’ve never seen an argument boil over?” She pinched some hoarded spices into the pot.
“I guess, yeah, but, like, kids. Or, I guess, Uncle Jack and Dad after they’d been drinking. Or you and…”
“So yes,” Cassie cut her off. “People argue. Tempers flare. And when it’s an issue like this… well, everyone’s invested, aren’t they? This isn’t like your high school debates, Anna, where the subject really didn’t mean all that much to anyone. This is life or death for every person here.”
“Which is why I think we ought to actually discuss it! Not leave it up to the mayor. Not just do some secret ballot. But actually sit down and talk about it and figure out, between all of us, what the best option is.”
“Honey, it’s not going to happen like that. I’m sorry, but this isn’t the sort of situation where people are going to calmly go over their options; everyone already has an opinion.The bunker is already divided pretty clearly; staying quiet about it is all that lets people live this close to one another. If you bring it out in the open, if you polarize it, then everyone has to live with the fact, actually face up to it, that they disagree fundamentally with someone living three feet away from them.”
“But it’s all so complicated! Open the door or don’t. Send one person through the lock, don’t send anyone, we all go. How do we know what the right answer is if we don’t talk about it?”
“Honey,” Cassie sighed, “debate doesn’t tell you who’s right. It just tells you who’s loudest.”
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