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We must resist pride, find common ground

DEAR EDITOR:

Where does America stand today on the virtue of tolerance? That is, fair, objective and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, beliefs, practices, racial or ethnic origins, etc. differ from one’s own — freedom from bigotry.

Bigotry is defined as obstinate or intolerant devotion to one’s own opinions and prejudices.

It appears, mainly from watching the television news media, that we are much less tolerant of each other today than we were just one generation ago. Why? And what are the consequences of it happening? Is the cause of it that we all have much more pride than we used to have? If that’s the reason, we are in big trouble! Here is what C.S. Lewis said about the sin of pride: “The essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride. … it was through Pride that the devil became the devil.” He also said there is no fault that makes a man more unpopular, and no fault which we are more unconscious of in ourselves. And the more we have it ourselves, the more we dislike it in others. We cannot see our own pride problem. It is almost invisible to us.

Let’s assume greater pride is the cause of Americans’ growing intolerance with each other. What are the consequences? I believe this is causing a rapidly growing rift between liberals and conservatives. It has now reached the point where we cannot even sit down and discuss our differences in a civil manner without name calling, finger pointing and raised voices. If we do not find a way to overcome this problem and reach common ground, I’m afraid America is heading for another civil war.

We desperately need polite, civil discourse between people with vastly different opinions where each side keeps an open mind to what the other is saying and is not just thinking about their immediate response to contradict the other. If we could do this, I believe the outcome will be some movement of conservatives to the left and some movement of liberals to the right, which would help shrink the chasm that now lies between us. Over time, this process, if continued, provides the opportunity to restore America back to “one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

KEITH McCOMBS

Mineral Ridge

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