Not so great expectations
Reactions to political debates are reminiscent of the story of the three blind men and the elephant. Each observer hones in on different parts and consequently ends up with a different impression of the candidate. A lot depends on expectations. In her letter on Aug. 8, Mary Plunkett indicated she had negative expectations regarding congressional candidate Sean Casten in his debate with Peter Roskam, so what she heard seemed negative.
For example, when Casten talked about local police and the center for disease control saying they need to build trust in their immigrant communities so that people won't be afraid to come forward to report crime and rare viruses, she heard "we shouldn't ask who is coming into our country because they could be carrying a 'rare virus.'" When he said "historically we have attracted the best and brightest to our shores," she heard, "it's a blessing that the United States is faced with more undocumented immigrants than we can accommodate." When Casten said he "couldn't imagine the pain [a woman] would go through [when deciding to terminate a pregnancy], an extremely invasive procedure that she's going to grapple with for the rest of her life with her own morals," she heard, "he scolds anyone who opposes personal 'choice.' "
The Daily Herald is providing a great service by publishing these letters, which so clearly illustrate that words are in the ear of the beholder.
Stephanie Certain Matz