Reader's View: Resist urge to demonize ‘the other side’

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As we enter the final months of the 2020 political campaigns, there is cause for alarm. The pot is beginning to boil: Language is less restrained, and truth is less respected. Let’s take a deep breath and remember we are all neighbors, colleagues, family members, and Americans — and we will remain so after the election.

It’s tempting to focus on the looniest or most absurd antic of any member of “the opposition.” In fact, we are encouraged to do so by political commentators and even some candidates. We are encouraged to paint everyone on “the other side” with the same broad “lunatic” brush.

We should recall that liberals are not, by and large, communists, and that liberals tend to be inspired by respect for justice, love of community, compassion, concern for the environment, and commitment to our shared humanity.

We should recall that conservatives are not, by and large, fascists, and that conservatives are motivated by respect for family, concerns about crime and security, the need for fiscal restraint, and personal responsibility.

In fact, we can — and should — recognize and respect each other’s values.


We should be particularly careful about language, and thoughts, that demonize our opponents. Neither liberals nor conservatives are intent on “destroying America” or “coddling criminals.” Few liberals or conservatives “hate America,” no matter what you see on TV or hear on talk radio. It’s important to keep in mind that regardless of who wins the election, we will be living together.

When we hear political language based on fear, hatred, or demonization — whether the target is liberals, conservatives, whites, Blacks, immigrants, or others — we should reject it. We should look beneath the surface and rededicate ourselves to truth, facts, science, and seeking a shared understanding of the problems we all face.

Barbara Stark


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