Letter of the Day (Nov. 17): Political discourse

  • Updated: November 16, 2013 - 4:23 PM

It doesn’t help if you avoid conflict, because that just give the wrong people the podium.

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The constant campaigner: the last one left at a party after the other guests have grown weary of the preaching and urgent speeches. The extremist: around whom we walk on eggshells, and tiptoe around issues for fear of ending up in a shouting match. These communication styles have permeated our local and national discussions and are impeding progress at every level. Then there are the rest of us, calm and reasonable. When it comes to impeding progress, we are the guiltiest of all.

We can only stand to listen to the constant campaigner for so long before we start to believe we can’t make a difference in saving the environment and it becomes exhausting to politely smile through another speech about food regulations. In an effort to appease the extremists, we do our best to sidestep disagreements about the minimum wage and cringe at the thought of bringing up the Affordable Care Act.

The last thing that a calm and reasonable person would do is aspire to a life in politics. Instead, we have allowed the most important discussions of our time to be placed in the hands of the unwaveringly closed-minded. In light of the filibusters and the compromises that will never be made, it’s worth it for us to examine how it could be different. Those who find the political atmosphere unreasonable have a reason to change it.

ZOE ILLIES, St. Louis Park

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