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Letter: Listen to opposing voices, aim for civility

To the editor, The shooting of U.S. Rep. Scalise has again shown a light on the rancor and incivility of our times. Several pairs, one from each party of senators and representatives, have come forward to be interviewed. They have expressed the d...

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To the editor,

The shooting of U.S. Rep. Scalise has again shown a light on the rancor and incivility of our times. Several pairs, one from each party of senators and representatives, have come forward to be interviewed. They have expressed the desire to foster more civility and compromise. They emphasize that we must be able to disagree without being disagreeable.

As citizens we are frustrated that our representatives can't get anything done because of the hyper-partisanship that exists in Washington. However, how much of this are we, as citizens, responsible for? Many of us feel licensed by high government officials who practice it, to demonize and and berate those who have opinions contrary to ours. But how can we expect that mood in Washington to change if we perpetuate it in our own day-to-day interactions?

If we continue to only listen to the voices that espouse our positions and demonize the opposition, nothing will change. Washington is only mirroring our incivility.

It's time to get out of our comfort zones and listen and watch programs that present positions opposed to ours. If we do, we will realize the major issues of our time, i.e. health care, tax reform and infrastructure improvements, are not the black-and-white issues that those who champion our positions try to make them out to be.

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These issues are gray, and they need input from all perspectives.

So if you listen only to the far right or far left, I challenge you to spend at least 25 percent of your time listening to opposing voices. Yes, it is uncomfortable, but I think you will find that there are some good ideas there that should be considered. Let's work toward civility and compromise. Let's turn our backs on those who champion intolerance and divisiveness.

Lee Murdock

Grand Forks

Related Topics: LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
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