YOUR OPINION: Debate produces ‘common good’

Dear Editor:

If permitted, I would like to complete my thoughts on the attempted assassination of Congresswoman Giffords, D-Ariz.

In my first letter I pointed out three instances in which I thought the public discourse had ventured into a realm that contributes nothing to the common good or the resolution of the issues we confront. Lost in the reading of that letter which attempts to expose egregious examples of offering violence as an alternative are words that equally expose the core of what is so precious about our system and the good will that it depends upon.

Words like “the common good” and “practical solution” are the bedrock upon which we will succeed and thrive or we will shatter that bedrock and fail in the splintered ideological geographies that will destroy President Reagan’s “shining city on a hill.”

We must have vigorous debate to resolve the multitude of issues facing us. That debate is essential. However, we must also recognize that our disagreement on any issue does not compel us to consider the opposition as some demonic force. We are not enemies because we disagree. We can only become enemies by allowing our fears, prejudices and misconceptions to define those who disagree as meriting that label.

Sometimes solutions are neither simple nor are they achieved in an acceptably short time frame. Perhaps resolution is where it has always been in that courage of character we possess. Perhaps the clear message of our two centuries is that despite all of our differences and internal struggles, we have largely determined that we are “One nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all ...”

Some would prefer that we do shatter, that we do resolve ourselves into a number of separate political units; governed by whatever ideological master that convinces us of his wisdom. I reject this. I believe that we are stronger in our unity than we ever could be as our constituent elements.

If the words United States of America do not cause you to remember that simple phrase the “common good,” I feel you may have missed the whole point of who we are. Our individual personalities, nationalities and histories are a thread in the quilt of this nation. They are not to be disregarded but they find true beauty as part of the great experiment that our founding fathers set on its course more than two centuries ago.

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