Civil political discussion is hard to find these days, and that’s a problem. When people associate politics with extreme positions, false promises, personal remarks and scandal mongering, many choose to avoid politics altogether. In the face of all the problems in our society, we can’t afford to exclude anyone’s ideas. And people can’t afford to be excluded from political discussions, even if they’re voluntarily excluding themselves from conversations they find distasteful. There must be a better way.
For this reason, I’m looking forward to Jim Leach’s perspectives on the subject Friday at Intersections, a local forum devoted to creating civil dialogue on issues. Political civility was a hallmark of Leach’s congressional career, to which I can personally attest. Some years ago, as I introduced him at Coe College, I in a lame attempt at humor made a snide comment about one of his political opponents. Deftly, and without raising his voice, he began his talk by defending the opponent and explaining his position. Then he went on to his prepared remarks.
To disagree with the old saying that in polite company you should avoid discussing either religion or politics, we need more political dialogue, not less. We need political dialogue that strives for mutual respect, understanding, cooperation and the common good.
The Intersections luncheon will be held 11:45 a.m. Friday at First Presbyterian Church, Cedar Rapids. Cost is $10. Reservations are due by Tuesday. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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