Columns/Opinion, Guest Editorials

Need for civility has to come from both sides of political spectrum

By Barry Lee Wendell
I keep hearing from so-called “conservatives” about the need for civility, to accept people with different ideas and remain friendly, if not friends.
That seems to be more difficult as time goes by, especially when letter writers to The Dominion Post call liberals “idiots” and say they are “losing their collective minds.”

I don’t know what world that letter writer lives in, nor do I understand another in a recent Sunday’s newspaper who says. “… our politically controlled education system now ensures that students understand sexuality and their right to abortion, but cannot teach students to read, write or count change properly, God and patriotism are no longer tolerated.”

Where do these ideas come from? Does that second letter writer have recent experience in a pubic school environment? Does the first one know any actual liberals?
As to losing our minds, on the front page of another Sunday’s news paper was an article about a 1-year-old child separated from his parents at the border with Mexico, coming before a judge and expected to plead his own case. This past Fourth of July, a group of Republican senators vacationed in Moscow, and Kim Jung-Un, one of the world’s worst Communist dictators, just made a fool of our president.
As to students, after many school shootings this year, no one on the Republican side, and few even on the Democratic side, will admit that we need to restrict the proliferation of firearms.

Another writer gloated over the victory of Donald Trump and the end of Obama-era government. I have not heard anyone give an adequate explanation of what they hated about Obama.
The closest was a “War on Coal” theme that ignores the poverty, the poor health effects and the environmental challenges Obama was trying to ameliorate. And now, thousands of people in West Virginia will lose benefits under the demonized Affordable Care Act, and expanded Medicaid could be cut off in the midst of an opioid epidemic.
The next Republican budget calls for cutting Medicare benefits, to pay for the tax cuts that benefit mostly the very, very rich.

The truth is, there is no “insurrection” unless you count Nazis and white supremacists who marched in Charlottesville, Va., last summer, or the people unclear on the concept of sporting Confederate flags and bragging about how many guns they have.

Do I sound angry? You bet I am. The current president did not win a majority of the vote, may have had help from our enemies in Russia, has rarely said anything that is not a lie, breaks the law with impunity, has offended our allies and befriended our enemies.
I won’t call these conservatives “idiots.” They can write a decent sentence in English, which is something today. Still, I suggest they get out more, maybe visit a public school and see what is taught, or get out more, even in Morgantown, the most open and interesting city in West Virginia.

My goal is not an insurrection, but to challenge people intellectually, hopefully with compassion, to help make Morgantown a city of no fear and open minds, and to find good, progressive candidates in the next election, which, if allowed to go forward fairly without interference from outside our country, could put our state and country back on the right track. I still live with hope.
Barry Lee Wendell is a member of Morgantown’s City Council. This commentary should be considered another point of view and not necessarily the opinion or editorial policy of The Dominion Post.