The case for civil discussion

To the Editor:

Thank you, Claudette Sortino, for an excellent rebuttal to a recent Letter to the Editor wherein the writer expressed disagreement with President Obama's policies, seemingly rooted in a convoluted connection to the Commander-in-Chief's racial background.

It's pathetic when people who sense they are losing an argument resort to name-calling in a last ditch effort to persuade.

I am not overly enamored with the Obama administration's record thus far; but my upbringing and critical thinking skills restrain me from invoking the duly elected (twice) leader of our nation with barely disguised code words in order to make a point.

The writer should reconsider disparaging folks, with whom he disagrees, by suggesting that a racial or ethnic purity bench mark has been breached. After all, who among us is 100 percent anything? And why is being Caucasian the gold standard?

Societal progress is often spurred by constructive disagreement; but being disagreeable, just for its own sake, tends to have the opposite effect.

The writer should take a deep breath, sip some herbal tea and ask himself why he is so agitated; and equally as important, how can his negativity be channeled peaceably, intelligently and civilly?

As a native of St. Johnsbury, I have generally looked fondly upon my years growing up there in the '50s and '60s.

Unfortunately, I have noticed of late that the Caledonian-Record sometimes seems to reflect an underlying mean streak in the letters, cartoons and columns it prints. It's not resonant of the Northeast Kingdom that I remember.

And is it possible that people from outside the State of Vermont, reading the paper and thinking about visiting St. Jay, might reconsider their plans wondering if these dissonant tones are representative of more than a vocal, misguided minority?

Bruce L. Davis - SJA '66, UVM '70

Mt. Pleasant, Wis.

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