Seeking a more harmonious America
I thought Kathleen McGlade’s letter “A 2021 American idea: Listening better” was a great start to the year. We all have a stake in improving relations between different elements of our very divided country, and listening to one another is critical to accomplishing that. As Archbishop Desmond Tutu once said, “If you want peace, you don’t talk to your friends … you talk to your enemies.”
We had two big conflicts this year, the BLM riots resulting from the death of George Floyd and the storming of the Capitol resulting from a disputed election. Resolving these issues requires acknowledging and addressing the problems rather than ignoring them. Failure to do so will result in continued conflict, a disaster for the country. To quote James Madison, “No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.” Perhaps the introduction of national minimum policing and voting standards might be a good place to start resolving both issues.
Our technology and media companies are fanning the flames rather than helping solve the problem. Silencing opinions they disagree with only breeds resentment, especially if it is always directed at one side. It is almost always better to have more speech rather than less, and we should encourage that. Our politicians should be legislating the protection of free speech rather than sitting idly by while speech is stifled in schools and the media. If it requires breaking up the big tech companies or removing some of their protections to accomplish that, so be it. The stakes are simply too high to continue to ignore it.
We all need to put pressure on our elected officials to solve this problem; we can no longer remain silent. To quote Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “We must be firemen…Let us not stand by and watch the house burn.”