Editorial: We must learn to listen to each other
We have to start somewhere, so we'll start here, although the beginning sadly extends much farther:
In the latest of several recent episodes in which President Donald Trump's surrogates have been the subjects of protests in their personal lives, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is refused a meal at a restaurant in Virginia.
In a tweet, Trump responds by calling the restaurant "filthy."
Saying "God is on our side," Rep. Maxine Waters of California says there should be "no sleep, no peace" for those who would separate children from their parents as part of a zero tolerance immigration policy.
"If you see anybody from that cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station," RealClear Politics quotes her as saying, "you get out and you create a crowd. You push back on them. Tell them they're not welcome anymore, anywhere."
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer object to Waters' comments and call on fellow Democrats to engage in more civil discourse.
They are immediately blistered by the far left, but challenged also even by some establishment progressives.
Trump calls Waters "an extremely low IQ person."
Waters says she's received death threats serious enough to prompt her to cancel two political events.
We could go on and on, because all of this unfortunately goes on and on.
We are a country of great abundance and high ideals, and yet you wouldn't recognize it from the national mood.
If we were going to choose one word to describe the climate these days, it would be "angry," Some of us have been around a long time, witnessed rancorous periods before, lived through the sharp divisions of the Vietnam War and Watergate eras, but no divide has seemed as deep and bitter as the one now.
We recognize the causes of that are complex, intertwined with economic disparity, culture wars, fragmented mass communication, technology with the power to manipulate, and, simply, differing ideologies and world views. All those complexities and more.
But ask yourself this: What causes anger? Cut to the core, it's most often hurt feelings. Most often, it amounts to three things: Feeling unheard, feeling demeaned, feeling mistreated.
Check out the Fox News talkers some night and tabulate how often the other side (The Left) is referenced with respect.
Check out MSNBC and tabulate the same thing (only this time in references to The Right).
Our point, today at least, isn't to bemoan cable TV news or the other ideological news franchises (although bemoan them we do).
Our point is to say their tone reflects the tone of America. We'll leave it up to others to decide which is the chicken and which is the egg.
If we don't listen to one another, if we don't respect one another, we'll never learn from one another.
And we'll never move the country forward.