Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Civil Discourse

The January 15 Press Democrat editorial commented on how people in Sonoma County are expressing their opposition to the war in Iraq. Those who attend “old-fashioned rallies” were favored over the group “demanding the president’s impeachment.”

In the editors’ opinion, all of us who support impeachment deserve the following description: “But don’t expect the zealots to change. Only they are blessed with the true faith.”

In the early 70’s when I was co-chair of the Warm Springs Dam Task Force fighting construction of the Warm Springs Dam, the Press Democrat editors constantly vilified dam opponents.

I had hoped that 30 years later, the editors would have decided to take the lead in civil discourse. I recommend they take ten minutes to watch Professor Richard Dreyfuss give a lesson in civics.

Richard Dreyfuss' message is that we have confused incivility with how public issues are discussed. He describes civics as the learning of the tools of maintaining a republican democracy. He goes on to state that we need to learn to use these tools with reason, logic, clarity, civility, and debate.

Surely the Press Democrat editors could set an example for all of us.

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