As part of the recent Providence Journal sponsored “Publick Occurrences” panel discussion at RI College, I’d like to share some thoughts I prepared, but did not have the chance to put forth. The event’s premise – “Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?” and the polarization of public discourse – leaves us two factors to consider:
1) Disagreements over the role of government.
2) Level of civility debating that role.
Polarized and passionate, yet civil, debate is healthy for our democracy, no matter the topic or how deep the divisions run. But sadly, our nation’s history is riddled with violent incidents – even war – over some of those debates.
There are highly personal, core differences that make today’s debates so emotional. Dividing us are polar-opposite philosophies. The founding principles, where citizens yearn to live in a free society, with limited government intervention and progressive principles are on one side. The other is where government controls more of our personal and professional lives in the name of social justice. Americans no longer enjoy the once-unifying themes of “love-of-nation,” and “fear-of-God.” To the jeers of the left-leaning audience, I spoke about how it angers many on the right when the extreme-left unpatriotically seeks to desecrate and erase our nations great (albeit imperfect) symbols and history, and when it ever-encroaches upon and disrespects our religious rights.
These are serious divisions, but we still should debate them in a civilized manner. Yet, public discourse has devolved into a ‘search-and-destroy’ mentality. Click here now to watch the new video clip from Publick Occurrences.