Let’s debate with decency, respect

A letter critical of Charles Krauthammer appeared in The Herald on Dec. 20. (“Columnist lost without Obama.”) In a Dec. 27 response to the letter, “Smart columnist challenges readers,” the writer was somehow led to conclude the following: 1) that the previous criticism was “symptomatic of one of the failings of the public school system.” 2) That “if left-leaning columnists used words like Mr. Krauthammer they would lose their readers, since most of them wouldn’t understand a word they said let alone the thoughts behind them.”

My unfortunate observation has been that there is a growing tendency in this forum to attack the intellect of those with whom we disagree. I doubt that this pattern is symptomatic of failings of yesteryear’s public school system but some people are still clearly struggling to grasp the basic concepts of decency and respect. It seems a reasonable guess that most of us would prefer to be spared the childish squabbling. Other than enabling us to vent our anger, offend fellow readers and make fools of ourselves, it serves little constructive purpose. (Granted, one positive aspect may be an increased appreciation for the many writers who attempt to persuade people to their points of view through reasoned discussion rather than insults and meaningless rhetoric.)

But back now to Charles: his credentials prove that he is indeed an extremely intelligent and capable man. He was also a strong advocate for the Iraq war. In light of that, I do find it remarkable that he is so willing to confidently condemn any opinion he doesn’t share.

Dan Postema

Everett

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