Letter to the Editor: We can’t solve problems without discussion

Published 12:00 pm Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Dear Editor,

In today’s society, people lament a lack of decency while failing to extend that courtesy to others. We can’t solve problems if we can’t discuss them together. Societal solutions are found in the middle ground, but we seem to no longer have the will to explore that realm together. We’d rather tune in or press play, and have someone tell us what to think. JFK referred to this as “the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.”

The algorithm that funds pundits and influencers, incentivizes them to highlight our differences, not to inspire actual solutions. Solutions require a diverse, collective effort. It is time to bite down on our sharp tongues and to come to the collective table in good faith. We can only find solutions that serve the greater good together. Our children are watching. You may think failing the next generation is leaving a country run by “those republicans” or “those democrats.” But failure is handing down a country at war with itself, weakened by our adversaries’ digital manipulation, and ripe for a fall.

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It is time to engage in something more meaningful than sneers and cynicism. President Teddy Roosevelt’s lead-in to his heralded ‘Man in the Arena’ speech touched on this very subject. It’s not new. He said, “The poorest way to face life is to face it with a sneer. A cynical habit of thought and speech, a readiness to criticize work which the critic himself never tries to perform, an intellectual aloofness which will not accept contact with life’s realities — all these are marks, not — of superiority but of weakness.”

This is a time for strength, not weakness. As a community, a commonwealth, and a country, we are all in this together. Our greatest success comes from embracing our differences and rising to our common ideals and principles.

Brian Vincent

Mayor of Farmville