I disagree with Hightower.

What you will find here is: a centrist's view of current events;
a collection of thoughts, arguments, and observations
that I have found appealing and/or amusing over the years;
and, if you choose, your civil contributions which will make it into a conversation.

He not busy bein' born, is busy dyin'. - Bob Dylan

Please refer to participants only by their designated identities.

suggestion for US citizens: When a form asks for your race, write in: -- American

Monday, January 10, 2011

Dear President Obama,

I do not believe that the nature of our political discussion was the cause of the carnage in Arizona. However, many people will say that it is and I expect that you will feel obligated to say something about it. Since the nature of our national dialogue is in such a disastrous state, I would like to ask you to help us, all Americans of good will, to raise ourselves up to the challenge of beginning a new day in our national debate.

You, who have been the object of more than your fair share of hysterical and malicious rhetoric, are uniquely positioned to call for an end to this obscene level of discourse. You could begin by pointing to some things by both sides that have contributed to the degradation of our continuing national conversation in the past. However, perhaps it would work better if you took the really high ground. You might point to one or two of your own remarks which have fallen short of the civility test. For example, perhaps you should have exhorted the Hispanic Americans to recognize who their “opponents” (not their “enemies”) were.

To be successful, this effort would have to condemn all those who have staked out the extremes of our disastrous national squabble. In each of the questions we consider there are those, on each side, who try to argue their case on its merits. But there are the others, on each side, who do not. They are absolutely confident that they are right. Therefore, they are certain that anyone who opposes them must be doing so because of motivations that will not stand the light of day. From there, they slide into the mud.

Perhaps there is another class that has even baser motivations than these, but it is not necessary to postulate them. In fact, it is probably best to not even take note of them.

Thank you for reading this and I hope you find some merit in it.

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