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Saturday, June 17, 2017


Congress must respectfully tolerate the opinions of the other party.  Polarization brought about by the bitterness and extremism that stem from both the far left and the far right are splitting our country and stirring unhealthy passion and breeding hatred. What is needed is open and fair debate, tolerance for opposing points of view, and compromise. None of this appears evident from the words and actions of the extremes. 

Never in my lifetime have I witnessed such disrespect for the office of the president. While Trump is flawed, he was lawfully elected by our citizenry. The rioting, looting, unlicensed protesting, and other unlawful acts from those that lost the election are unprecedented. These acts are discrediting and under-mining the lawful process for which America selects its leaders. These acts create greater separation and discord and are seeding increased division; stifling the very change that opposing views seek.  The proper form of process should be one of peaceful and respectful opposition and the method for changing the leadership and the system should be via the voting booth, petitioning our leadership and peaceful demonstration, such as that directed by Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi and others, who were effective leaders for change. 

The extreme words and actions of those that control the media and the microphones must use their outlets to stimulate fair debate. They need to set the bar much higher for the manner with which we express our opinions. Violence begets more violence. When the stage and spotlight are used to suggest assassinating our leadership, beheading our president, or encouraging physical resistance and unlawful actions, those sources breed the kind of hatred and uncivilized behavior that we are experiencing across this nation. 

What needs to be done is for Congress to make strong statements and pledges for concerted efforts to find commonality in their positions. They should insist on honest debate, on seeking compromise and on finding the middle-ground.  Leadership starts at the top and this means that politically, our President and our Representatives in Congress, must put America and the laws of our country above themselves and their personal agendas. The agenda must be one biased toward the will of the people and the common good. The outline for our debates should begin with our Constitution and be influenced by our traditions, our fundamental principles and the beliefs under which we were founded and have thrived since inception. 

The media must responsibly report the actual news rather than formulate opinion, sensationalize and editorialize the direct reporting of events. We are all products of our environment and that to which we have been exposed. All spheres of influence have a moral and ethical responsibility to lead, report, speak, and be the examples for peaceful, unselfish and responsible action. We are not witnessing this today.

Bill Hammel

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