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Letter: Always try to see other side of story, not judge


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Note: The statements, views, and opinions contained in this letter to the editor are those of the author and are not endorsed by, nor do they necessarily reflect, the opinions of The Republic.

From: Danny Burton

Columbus

Received: July 10

Two friends fell into a discussion about the weather. Naturally they disagreed. It was the month of May, and the recent weather had been wet and quite cool for May.

The first friend proclaimed global warming a hoax. Two months before he had switched on his air conditioner.

The second friend lectured his buddy about rising average temperatures. Never mind that three months later this friend will fire up his furnace at night.

A mutual friend came along and joined the conversation. He listened to what was said, with both offering their version of truth disguised as fact. Finally he offered to them something that they could live with.

The friend suggested that these turbulent occurrences be called climate change. Haven’t the past several springs brought us cool and wet weather? Haven’t icebergs been melting and summers hotter? Could both of you be partly right?

The two friends looked at this person then at each other and grinned. A new argument commenced, but this was about the Reds calling up the outfielder who is tearing them up at Louisville.

The above didn’t happen. This letter isn’t about global warming. It’s about people looking at things in a different way. It’s about people acknowledging that, while disagreeing, at least they can see the other side of a story. It’s about helping people see what they have in common.

Turn to any media outlet and you can predict what stance will be taken on a given issue. All pundits seem to be talking past each other. Can’t we have more dialogue and fewer monologues? Can’t there be merit in opposing viewpoints? Can’t we begin to celebrate character and respect rather than hyper-partisanship and personality? Can’t there be a change in the attitude that speed, not accuracy, rules when disasters and tragedies occur? Is it any wonder that the percentage of voters droops like a dying flower?

The tendency in this day of instant everything is to rush to judgment, substitute opinion for fact and tear down whatever is elevated. This is nothing new; only the speed and manner that news travels are different. The scapegoat is as old as biblical times, as is the desire to have or create one whom we can blame for each misstep, disaster or tragedy.

In any society tolerating placement of celebrities over the celebrated, character will be sacrificed for personality. In any society tolerating monologues over honest debate, truth will be elusive and clouded. In any society ignoring or denigrating our cherished myths and our reality, we invite mediocrity and a shunning of the qualities that we should hold important.

Compromise isn’t a dirty word. Those of us who are married know that. At this house we may disagree with each other; however, we do unfailingly support each other. Remember that the next time you criticize any of our leaders (who are a reflection of those who vote for them). Compromise has its place.

As we have passed the 150th anniversary of what I believe to be the most crucial military battle in our history, let us ponder the consequences of refusing to listen to other views, drawing lines in the sand and etching opinions in stone. Let us seek what is possible to get things accomplished, where neither side gets their way, but both can claim victory. If we don’t, then we can count on more strife, loud and incoherent voices, and mountains of misinformation masquerading as truth.

We pray that our leaders recognize the need to change their ways.

In the meantime, let us enjoy the weather, no matter what it is.

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