The civility of our political discourse has declined significantly over recent years, for which the current incumbent in the White House must bear a significant share of the blame, at least for the portion that has occurred since he declared his candidacy.
Polarization across partisan and ideological lines seems routinely to hit new heights. An element of the polarization — which combines cause and effect in a downward spiral — is polarization of news media, creating new heights of selective perception and confirmation bias.
If you rely heavily on Fox News, you dwell on almost a different planet from those of your fellow citizens who rely on MSNBC.
It is unhealthy for a nation striving to remain and to function as a democratic republic to continue down this path. We need to read and watch and listen to the most reasonable voices from across the partisan/ideological divide. And we have to do so with respect and a sufficiently open mind that we might occasionally read or hear something that makes sense to us and, perhaps more important, something that enables us to view those with whom we disagree with a soupçon of understanding and respect, necessary and sufficient to continue viewing them as our fellow citizens.
Hats off to the New York Times for a special feature it ran today consisting of 15 letters to the editor from Trump supporters. I encourage Trump-dislikers (among whom I number myself) to read them. You won’t agree with much of anything in them. You will want to dispute some of their facts and most of their conclusions. You may suspect these 15 calm epistles are not typical of the tone and thinking of typical Trump supporters. But if you bring the right attitude to your reading assignment, the letters will promote the hope that we can get through three more years of this together.