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Letters to the Editor

Sun., March 28, 2010

Errors of comity

Too many letters to the editor fail in clarity and charity. Let’s try to show more respect for those with whom we disagree. Brawlers build no bridges. Even when an argument seems loudly overwhelming, take comfort in remembering the debaters’ dictum: “What is freely asserted is freely denied.”

We have an undeniable right to express our individual, social and political views but should be ready to offer them without insults and derogations. Shout-downs are clearly detrimental to productive accords.

Our right to our opinion doesn’t assure the rightness of our opinion. Our political perspectives reflect a bias when they are evidently premised on myopic notions of self-interest.

Self-interest, in a primal sense, may well prompt us, but most persons have broader intents and worthier purposes. Let’s listen for those.

While first attracted or when too quickly turning away, we might miss underlying considerations. Our facile, simplistic responses can exacerbate personal and communal challenges. They also make self-governance a problem.

Having survived a grinding 15-hour Sunday C-SPAN viewing of federal lawmaking, I write to reject demagoguery and “South Park”-level diatribes. We’ve a need for comity.

Tom Westbrook

Spokane



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