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Civility and Strength Go Hand in Hand

The Advocate

http://www.theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/opinion/letters/article_06313478-924b-11e7-9c99-7b2446b37947.html

September 7, 2017

These are troubling and challenging times for our country. Turmoil throughout the world and anti-American attitudes pose a real threat to all of us and our way of life. A united, focused and effective effort must be maintained by our government to protect our country and our citizens.

This same effort is essential to meeting the economic, health care, infrastructure, education and budgetary responsibilities.

To effectively address the awesome tasks both here and abroad, our country must first deal with the enemy from within: an enemy we have created ourselves. If we give credence to the proverb “A house divided cannot stand”, then all of us, and certainly our elected officials and media, must stop promoting division, distrust and even hate.

Elected officials must be civil in their speech and actions. They must debate the issues with statesmanship and cease personal attacks on those of opposing views. Talk show hosts must abandon personal attacks and broad-brush characterizations. These hosts all walk in the light and must assume accountability for the content of their programs. When we abandon truth, civility and responsibility for our words and deeds, we create an uncivilized society where distrust, anger, hate and violence fester and grow.

President John F. Kennedy said in his inaugural address to the nation, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” Today, unfortunately, it would be more appropriate to say, “Ask not what you can do for your political party and your personal political career, but what can you do for our country and all of our citizens depending on you to provide safety and meet our needs.” Allegiance to the common good of our people is being lost to partisan and self-serving politics.

Our time tested constitution allows for freedom of speech, which gives all the right to disagree, debate and present differing views, but that right must be accompanied by the historical, overriding sense of decent, civil and responsible conduct.

Our strength as a country has been the belief that we are one nation under God. We must not divide our house to the point we diminish that strength.

Randy Ewing

former president, Louisiana State Senate

Ruston

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