Sweet Tea & Common Sense: In Search of Civil Behavior

Letter to the Editor:

There is something missing in our society. People just don’t seem to care like they used to about things that are important to their community or our nation. I often wonder if some even care about themselves. We are in times when blame is being poured out on anyone whose thoughts or actions are different from our perceived goodness. With the coming of the political season I fear that things may get worse. We may find it all too easy to gather our fears, prejudices and selfishness and cast them all upon a political party, or to place our hopes and aspirations upon a party or a person. Having done that, we will be tempted to show a strong degree of dislike or contempt toward those who have differing views. This seems to be encouraged by the communications media that chooses to provide news that entertains rather than informs and programs that encourage hatred and distrust toward those who may be different. These rabble rousers can easily lead one to thinking that what they are saying is true or why else would “they” say such things? The primary reason is that they make big money and the more hate they can foster, the larger the audience and the higher their salary. Letter to the Editor Opinions always have more than one side. There is not an easy answer to our personal, community, or national problems. No one system or political party can lay claim to being able to conduct a perfect government, but no single system can govern without respect for the rights of those who differ. Democracy is not the establishment of a government that meets the needs of a select group. Our nation was not founded on the principal that the elite should govern. We believe that all people are created equal. To me this includes those of different races, levels of education, religious beliefs, countries of origin, political beliefs or other situations that may cause them to be different from me. Respect for their rights is not the same as acceptance. I know that my refusal to accept their rights may give them the privilege to deny me my freedom. When we have the type of government that makes one group’s concept of behavior the preferred pattern without respect for the rights of others, we have civil disobedience and anarchy. My understanding of Christianity is that Jesus summed it up by saying that we fulfill God’s expectations when we practice love for God and for others. Lest we misunderstand who is our neighbor Jesus explained that our neighbor is anyone we come in contact with who has a need. We show ourselves to be a neighbor when we take time to minister to that need. It is of interest to me that he chose a non-believing foreigner to illustrate his point. It has helped me to remember that my family came to this country as immigrants, and that I am not that for from struggling to meet my daily needs, and that I have to change my opinions on some important thoughts from time to time. I have gained by listening to others who have different views from my own. That gain has been in respect for their struggles, hopes, and views. I often don’t agree, but I try to be civil. Treat others as you desire to be treated. Democracy is founded on the principal of respect for the law and the right for others to have views that may be in conflict with my facts. Our nation is not a nation of hate and discord. We are a nation of diverse people each of whom is due honor and respect. You may not agree with me, but I sure hope that you don’t hate me. This letter to the editor is meant to reflect my views. It would be nice if you agreed with me, but I will not be angry if you differ. That is what democracy is about. Thanks for listening. Paul Walker Tulsa, Oklahoma

Tags: letter to the editor, Paul Walker, Sweet Tea & Common Sense

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