Respect for others key to civil debate

It seems many opinions held by Americans today are typecast into two buckets – conservative and liberal – with an occasional sprinkle of moderate ideas. We’ve become a divided nation, with each side denigrating the other, more interested in promoting the philosophy of “the ends justify the means,” that the exercise of political power and the imposition of our will upon others is the chosen method of change. Who cares what’s true or false as long as it serves our purpose?

I implore your readers to look to those who follow a very simple idea: “It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.” They may be liberal, conservative or moderate. They point to that which is good, sometimes sacrifice what they want, so that greater things can be accomplished. It’s not so much the promotion of their ideals as it is the attraction of a genuine desire to foster brotherhood, patriotism and a deep sense of belonging to this family, which is our great country.

Democracy is about the exchange of ideals, sometimes “hard-nosed,” sometimes compromise, but always seeking unity and inclusiveness. How open are we to respect another’s opinion? Or are we in “lock step” with our ideology, willing to feed on hatred, ignorance, political tripe and the pompous belief that only we have the answers and that the “other team” is our enemy? I’ve got news for you, the guy on the other team is your brother.

Stephen Thorsen


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