Your Turn: Intolerance has poisoned our discourse

Published 6:00 a.m. ET May 25, 2018

Have you tried lately to watch the TV news, or have a civil political conversation with a neighbor lately? It’s not so easy as it once was, and there are clear reasons for the loss of fair-minded exchange of ideas in America.

The roots of the current problem stem from intolerance, and its close relative, extremism. These are the enemies of reason and fairness, and they foster the gridlock that so permeates our political discourse at every level of society today. Washington, D.C., is the best example of what is not working for citizens.

The far right and the far left in our culture eventually employ the same methods — they are first applied to the enemy position politically, but eventually are also applied to our like-minded friends and allies. The result is cultural decline, economic decay and political extremism.

In the same way as the tea party has torn apart one political party, the radicalization of the opposite side threatens to savage the side that has always listened more than it has pontificated. Soon, it will all look and sound the same from the left and from the right.

I am tired of political posturing, hostile tweeting, personal attacks on those we disagree with and, mostly, our cultural fascination with incivility in every venue and corner of our lives. The founding fathers of our nation would not recognize what goes on in Washington, D.C., as “for the people” or “by the people.”

It’s time to change our discourse and return to sanity, civility and reason. Politicians needs to get to work and deal with real issues that affect real, average citizens. Enough with the rule of the cultural and economic elite in our society. Time to change our culture. Time to agree where we can and move forward. We can only win together!

Mike Seifert is an Elmira resident.

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