KATIE ZERR:Listening, discussing vital in a democracy


With the temporary passing of the debt ceiling crisis and the government reopening, there was sigh a relief that could be heard across this country and the globe.

We may have averted another crisis for now, but there seems to be no end in sight for the deep divide in Congress that fuels these continuing dramas. This ongoing problem harms this country and our reputation as a nation.

It is nearly unfathomable and embarrassing to have Chinese officials questioning the sanity of our lawmakers, all the time smiling to themselves.

It is embarrassing that our lawmakers are willing to put their personal agendas before the health of our nation.

It is tragic that we went so far this time around and there is still no permanent solution.

As our nations lurches from crisis to crisis the airwaves are filled with so called “experts” proclaiming either gloom and doom, or poo-pooing the consequences depending on the issue and from which side they are speaking.

Anyone can get information to back their opinion if they know which news station to tune into.

There are always talking heads who will tell the listeners exactly what they want to hear. If one would open their ears and their minds, it might surprise them that those on the opposite side of the fence are of like mind and are discussing like issues.

If a listener hears only one side, whether it is conservative or liberal, they don’t get a true sense of what is really happening in the county.

There are multiple information sources available to anyone who takes the time to look for them. We have become lazy in our search for knowledge and if we don’t expand our horizons, we will find that there are only two ways to think: my way or the wrong way.

If a person would listen to more than just one source of information, they might find out that the Affordable Healthcare Act website debacle is a concern for all people. They might hear someone on a liberal or conservative news network voicing an opinion on an issue that is similar to their own. They might find out that a discussion of issues does not involve one side yelling over the other while they are trying to present a differing opinion.

They might find that what makes entertaining TV is not necessarily factual nor does it offer complete information.

Democracy is based on the exchange of ideas in which all people should have an equal say. The supreme power in our government is the people. If our lawmakers refuse to hear the people, and listen only to those who have the most money or power, our democracy fails on the most basic of principles.

If we as the people refuse to listen to both sides of the issue, we fail as voters in our democracy.

If we refuse to listen, discuss and consider there is merit in what another might say, we completely shut down the democratic process.

Both Democrats and Republicans are guilty of this, and their refusal to listen to each other is harming this country. When those we elect as leaders refuse to consider there may be another manner in which an issue can be viewed, we shackle the democratic process and damage our credibility on the global stage.

As we face a debacle of a healthcare law that needs to be fixed and mounting problems in the Middle East that need to be handled with both strength and diplomacy, our elected leaders still to refuse to work together.

Both Democrats and Republicans must understand that by refusing to discuss all sides of an issue, nothing will be solved. We will continue as a nation to lurch from crisis to crisis.

We as the people of this democracy must understand and accept that those who think differently than we might have a right to that opinion. That is what it means to live in a democracy.

If we the people, the driving force of this democracy, show our leaders that we can accept our differences, maybe we can get our country back to being a working form of government.





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