Please keep the discussions civil

Please keep the discussions civil

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A lot of people respect and value law enforcement. And a lot of people have been dismayed that Minneapolis and other cities haven't done enough to eliminate race-associated abuse.

To hear much of the public discussion around this, you might think that these are two distinct groups, or that holding one of these views comes at the expense of the other. The loudest voices seem to be the ones that would reduce the situation to a simple either-or proposition. They pit their own values against the most extreme opposing views that they can find (or invent) and, with both sides doing that, there's plenty to attack.

Intentionally or unwittingly, they misrepresent the views and intentions of others with clever insults and sweeping judgments, as if they were more interested in winning a contest than helping to advance the discussion.

But please forgive the pontificating.

And forgive a clumsy attempt at verse; here's a couplet entitled "Pseudoadvocacy":

Co-believers are impressed

Not so much all the rest

Belief in a cause may be foremost in their thinking, but it seems likely that some mix of group influences, ego and personal interests is at play. Or maybe they just enjoy feeling sanctimonious (don't we all?). Whatever the motivations, unhelpful voices are wasting a lot of bandwidth. We could be making better choices if more of us spoke up about the need to keep the discussion civil and give others the benefit of the doubt.

Ron Brunswick

Deer Park

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