As the controversy over civility rages on, I suppose it was only a matter of time until I was forced to contribute my two cents.
It's bad enough to be subjected to negative characterizations for what one has said. It is absurd to be exposed to rebuke for what one has not said. The practice of reading with retention on these pages seems to be declining rather than improving in spite of reminders.
I make only a half-hearted attempt to read News Tribune Opinion pages regularly, so some of these infractions may be even more prevalent than I have noted. I find it bizarre that a well-written letter can be belittled solely for its eloquence and adequate use of language!
I resolutely refuse to defame any of my fellow letter writers here by name and have tried to keep on the high road of ideas. A good argument is as valid in the mouth of a communist as it is in the mouth of a capitalist.
It is unfortunate that one is often forced to disparage public groups or personalities like Barack Obama or Osama bin Laden as people (whom one is required to love as Jesus loved) rather than for their behavior. It is easier to say, " US Attorney General, Eric Holder is a stooge," when you mean "Eric Holder, who is a beloved member of my human family, has been behaving in a manner quite stooge-like." In a similar example, I support individual members of our troops in Iraq, Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan as well as their terrorist brothers who oppose our imperialism, even though I vehemently condemn the behavior of both groups.
It is lamentable that, almost none on the right and few on the left in this country appear able to conduct an objective, idea-driven debate on a public forum or private communication. It is sometimes difficult to read the vitriolic personal attacks on this forum, try to sort out the incredibly sparse refutations of substance and just turn the other cheek to the unwarranted slander.
If this predicament were restricted only to these pages, I would simply look elsewhere for an opportunity to present ideas. Unfortunately this condition is endemic in all our local and national dialogue upon which our vital problem solving depends. The News Tribune letter harangues are only symptomatic of the greater difficulty we face.
We Americans are in big trouble!