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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 5/8/10

Meeting Half Way Could Make Roadkill

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Message Margaret Bassett
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Recently the President gave a speech to a graduating class about civility. Betcha they heard it before. However, no harm in advocacy for good manners, even in politics. Name calling has hardly ever settled a point so maybe the Senators have a solution. Except while one commands the floor, referring to "my good friend from whichever State.' he/she may be skewering the opposition with lack of understanding, intelligence--or a floor vote. Perhaps that is how Barack Obama got into his mode of bi-partisanship. He can be the judge of his success. To me it seems like he should avoid lectures in earshot of the public and those contrived party summits where he sits in the tallest chair.

While I am speaking my mind I would also offer advice to those in the media who claim to be giving news. Others who admit they are analyzing it are on their own. As someone who reads a lot of wire service reports I run across many items where the very tone seems to invoke "let's you and him fight." Political party spokespersons carry on dueling allegations and that gives the E-commenters a chance to weigh in. From that level all that it takes to be civil appears to be cleaning up the slurs.

How can we be civil?

This is a very old-fashioned notion, but it's worth a try. Stick to the issues. On a scale of reactionary to radical there are many slots where a person can define real interests. So I suggest that presidents, congresspersons, and other elected officials lead us in civility. To start, how about avoiding the phrase "the other side." Public policy is seldom an either/or proposition.

Issues! Try questions with suggestions of possible compromise. Should total appropriations be limited? What part of a budget may be allocated to domestic, as opposed to foreign, policy? How can existing "entitlement" programs be brought up to current needs? Which of the United States should we look to for energy, educational, defense manufacturing, etc., leadership?

When we sum up the hours we spend on finding new information on hot button issues, there is satisfaction--I assume. When we count the hours we waste on hearing the same tirades against a political department, "the Beltway" or perhaps someone else's article, what to do? Turn it off I say. Civil, I'm not sure, but honest statements count. If they really count perhaps benign neglect is honest.

As Saturday evening approaches with solemn thoughts of Mothers' Day, I'm gratified at the excellent pieces I've seen at OpEdNews concerning the importance of the occasion. A hearty thank you to all. It's so refreshing to read about something which touches all humanity. Keeping such in mind, maybe we can wade through volcanoes, oil well accidents and a smashup at the Staten Island pier.
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Margaret Bassett passed away August 21, 2011. She was a treasured member of the Opednews.com editorial team for four years.

Margaret Bassett--OEN editor--is an 89-year old, currently living in senior housing, with a lifelong interest in political philosophy. Bachelors from State University of Iowa (1944) and Masters from Roosevelt University (1975) help to unravel important requirements for modern communication. Early introduction to computer science (1966) trumps them. It's payback time. She's been "entitled" so long she hopes to find some good coming off the keyboard into the lives of those who come after her.
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