To reach common ground, we need more dialogue, less debate
Re “In a time of political crisis, reach for coarse-grit sandpaper” (Opinion, Feb. 23): While I applaud Joan Wickersham’s column suggesting that we seek common ground to improve the act of governance, the present challenge is just getting to the point where we can agree to begin that process. A first step to political and national recovery will require our acknowledgement of the difference between debate and dialogue regarding issues based on ideology and those based on philosophy.
In a debate, two sides present opposing arguments in a competitive environment, while in a dialogue, two sides engage in an effort to reach some accommodation. Content in such interactions differs as well. Ideologies are immutable beliefs; a philosophy is a set of ideas serving to formulate opinions. The former is impervious to change, while the latter is flexible, open to new information, and subject to continual refinements. As examples, one needs only to observe our current discourse over immigration and guns.
To reach common ground, we needs more dialogue, rather than debate, concerning differing philosophies, not ideologies.
Term limits would go far toward fixing our broken government
Joan Wickersham has the right premise — the government is broken — but the wrong methodology. She wants to fix the problems by focusing on the problems, but it is the system that is broken.
Our forefathers did a remarkable job in designing a system that would survive the test of time, but they missed one thing. They never envisioned that elected officials would ever become permanent fixtures in the system; they perhaps thought that, like them, members of government would do their good work and then go back to their real lives of family, farms, businesses, etc.
Instead we now have the career politician at every level, unduly focused on the need to keep what should have been their “second” job, and we have all the corrupting influences that impair their ability to simply do the right thing. One solution is term limits for all. That is a change that could make fixing the problems in government easy.