2017-06-22 / Editorial

Maybe, civil discord is on the upswing

As 2016 ended, we wrote about our New Year’s wish for our fellow Jamestowners. It focused on reassessing how we look at each other and trying to re-establish a civil tone when discussing matters — even where there is a genuine, principled disagreement.

While we sometimes have veered off course during the six months since, there seems to be some positive signs along the road. This especially is true on social media, often a bastion for ad hominem attacks and escalating rhetoric that serve little useful purpose.

Even in the very divisive world of Washington, D.C., there were signs of unity after the horrendous shooting last week at a Republican softball practice. People in the past who had peddled in the currency of hateful speech finally seemed to acknowledge that words do have consequences – oftentimes deadly.

We need to reengage with others of differing views on civil terms without being defensive or dismissive of opposing ideas. While being committed to an ideology can be noble, being an ideologue can be dangerous and inhibiting. We grow and learn by being receptive to new information. Take the time to listen and process what others are saying. While you may not be able to empathize with their view, perhaps you can at least sympathize with the person who holds it.

This open mindedness is going to be important in the next two months as we help choose our next state senator. The Jamestown Press and League of Voters will be hosting a candidates’ forum July 13 at the recreation center. All seven candidates (four Democrats, a Republican, a Green Party member and an independent) have been invited to participate. We encourage everyone to attend with an open mind and hear what they have to say. We also encourage you to send us potential questions for the candidates to news@jamestownpress.com with the subject line “forum question.” We will try and ask as many of your questions as possible.

Our island provides us with myriad opportunities to bond with others while supporting local events and activities. So, again, we ask that we spend the rest of 2017 focusing on the aspects of life WE can connect with our fellow man rather than the items that separate US from THEM.

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