A select group in Congress has formed to " investigate, study, make findings, hold public hearings, and develop recommendations to make Congress more effective, efficient, and transparent on behalf of the American people." Called the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress, this group recently held a hearing that can be watched on YouTube.

I found it deeply encouraging. In the hearing, various experts and members of the committee discussed how to move from "high conflict," characterized by humiliation, contempt, and paralyzed positioning, to "regular conflict," characterized by disagreement and even anger, but where resolution is possible and even exhilarating.

Guess what triggers escalation to high conflict? Public humiliation on social media. Calling people names or imputing to them malevolent motives. Even gangs have "rules of the game" so that when high conflict threatens on social media, there are agreed-upon steps to de-escalate. No such rules exist in our Congress — yet.

Congress has pressing issues to deal with. Record heat and drought in our country and in Minnesota are current reminders that however far we have come in our national conversation about climate change, the specific national actions that need to take place to solve the problem are largely in our future — hopefully the very near future.

In the hearing, experts encouraged the committee members to start with manageable issues and work their way up. Has this process begun? The Growing Climate Solutions Act sailed through the Senate in late June. While this act only begins to accomplish what is needed, the 98-2 vote should be praised from the housetops of every home in this country. Can it be signalling a trend back toward "regular conflict?"

Newsletter signup for email alerts

Katya Gordon

Two Harbors




Readers' View and Local Views

Letters are limited to 300 words, must be the original work of the author and must be exclusive to the News Tribune. Letters are edited for style, space, accuracy and civility.

Letter writers are limited to one published submission every 30 days.

With rare exceptions, the News Tribune does not publish poetry; letters that are anonymous, libelous or attack other writers; consumer-complaint letters; thank-you letters; or letters generated by political or special-interest campaigns.

We will consider exclusive Local View columns of 600 words or fewer. Authors should possess unique insights, and their commentaries should demonstrate greater knowledge of their subject than letters.

Email submissions to: letters@duluthnews.com

Mail to: Readers' Views, Duluth News Tribune, 424 W. First St., Duluth, MN 55802.

Fax to: 218-720-5120.

Include a full name, address and daytime phone number. Only names and hometowns will be published.