Regarding Budget Cuts, a letter to the editor from the April 16, 2014, issue:
The letter regarding the budget passed by the US House of Representatives is disturbing. The disturbance arises not from the points made, but the tone used by the writer in making the points. The letter is filled with vitriolic comments from start to finish, directed at the House GOP, and Paul Ryan in particular. If the writer’s words were meant to be persuasive, they did not persuade me. I give little credence to comments that disparage, for disparagement’s sake, someone with whom we disagree.
In my opinion, our Congress is held in low esteem because many of its members speak of the other side in just the tone expressed by this writer. I have political opinions that vary from those of our Congressional and Executive leaders, but I respect their right to hold opinions different from mine. I believe political discourse is necessary to write the laws that govern our nation, and respect is an important aspect in that discourse. If we cannot accept others’ opinions as being sincerely held, if we believe that anyone who disagrees with us is an idiot (the writer’s word, not mine), then we have the gridlock that grips our Congress and Executive today.
The writer faults the House GOP, but should remember that the House is made up of members elected by our nation’s voters. The voters saw fit to give us divided government in 2010, and retained that division in 2012, a circumstance likely to remain after 2014. The writer believes the House GOP has lost touch with real issues faced by real people. However, a majority of real people chose GOP candidates, so to criticize the House GOP is to criticize the majority of real people who elected them.
We should remember the words of President Obama speaking in Tucson, Arizona, on January 12, 2011, after the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. “At a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized, at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who think differently than we do,” he said, “it’s important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds.” The writer of the April 16 letter uses wounding words, not healing words.
Let’s do better.