Tuesday, October 14, 2014


In this intense political season the term "values" is easily bantered about without much clarification, usually referring to one or two volatile public issues.  I would like to offer a specific "value" that I think is overlooked and/or ignored in our public discourse.


The New Oxford American Dictionary defines thoughtfulness as: absorbed in or involving thought, showing consideration for the needs of other people, and showing careful consideration or attention.

Sadly, thoughtful expressions of beliefs and policies have given way to toxic diatribe and name calling, where substance is replaced by emotional and often inflammatory exclamations.  Anyone paying even the slightest attention to public media has experienced this in the growing division in so many areas of our culture.  We are now “at war”: there is a “war on women”, a “war on God”, a ”war on the 2nd Bill of Rights”, and more.  What thoughtful dialog that does exist is drowned out by the noise of the extremists whose only concerns seem to be to discredit the opposition and rally their “base”, rather than present a well-reasoned narrative explaining their position and supporting it with facts.  The losers in this climate are truth, understanding, and we the people,

I am not proposing that we ignore our differences; that would be neither possible nor desirable.  On the contrary, we should, learn from one another by embracing them and selecting the best that each has to offer.  And this cannot happen until we learn to respect opposing viewpoints, and replace diatribe with thoughtfulness.  A Democracy representing over 300 million people cannot survive without reaching for a compromise on political, fiscal, and religious differences. 

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