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Letter: It's time for some civility in politics

We are all witnessing the dismaying and increasing discord in our country. Instead of viewing those with opposing views as "opponents," fellow citizens are viewed as "enemies." Instead of seeing those who think differently as Americans free to express their views, they are reviled as "un-patriotic." Speakers are shouted down rather than hearing what they have to say.

Instead of looking to the heart of what is said, many are too quick today to twist words to mean something else, and to distort what is meant by trying to claim the "truth" about what the other person really means.

There are also those who deliberately spread misinformation, knowing that most people are too busy or too tired to do the research necessary to disprove the "facts."

Both liberals and conservatives have much to offer. It is liberals who brought us the 8-hour work day, an end to child labor, clean air and clean water. It is conservatives who want to retain what they feel is the best of the past. And within both camps there are degrees of belief as to the best course of action.

Compromise between differing legitimate views is a strength of democracy. There are almost no issues that are totally black and white, leaving no room for the interesting shades of gray between them. Peace can only begin in each of our hearts. But as long as we view "the other guy" as our "enemy," rather than a fellow American with a legitimate outlook, the discord can only grow. It is destroying our country.

U.S. Senator Mark Udall is proposing a small step toward increased national civility and unity. He wants members of both political parties to sit next to each other at this year's State of the Union address set for Jan. 25, instead of using the normal seating pattern, which is divided by party. As one of our political organizations said, "It's past time to remember that we're more than just 'elephants vs. donkeys.'"

Lorelei Kraft

Park Rapids