Miriam Pensack: Argue with facts

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— It was bright fall afternoon. Strolling toward my Jeep in the high school parking lot, I noticed from yards away an unfamiliar addition to the back of my car. With each approaching step, it became abundantly clear what had gone awry: a fellow student had drawn a giant phallic symbol over my bumper sticker! This would have been nothing more than your typical high school prank, except that the defaced sticker was advocating my presidential hopeful.

I tried to shrug the event off, pointing more to humor than to politics as its cause. But when, the next day, I found the sticker, balled up and stuck to my windshield, comedy was not what came to mind. I asked myself what it is in politics that makes people so ugly toward one another. How is it that when it comes down to McCain or Obama, I am no longer a fellow classmate, but rather an enemy.

Whether we are Democrat or Republican, conservative or liberal, any argument for Decision 2008 simply is invalidated when we throw trite personal attacks at one another. Come on, America. Can we please act like adults? Can we read about the policies of our candidates before negating them? For most citizens, this is asking a lot. Beyond improved international, domestic, and economic situations, I hope that the future America may be a country where people are informed enough to argue politics with facts, not weeners.

Miriam Pensack

Steamboat Springs

Comments

Neil Rosen 5 years, 11 months ago

Ms. Pensack speaks as a wise young woman whom adults and her peers would do well to heed. Unfortunately, reasoned dialogue seems to be waning with both right and (more recently) left leaning radio shows whining a lot while liberal and conservative newspapers seem to be defining what IS news differently. The polarization's been fomented by, market forces pulling media to reinforce what people already believe because it's reassuring to "know the truth", and a presidential race that's gotten nasty. If our elected officials and press slide down the evolutionary ladder, how can we expect our kids to do better? Finally, how many parents use language discussing politics that likewise oversimplifies and puts down rather than demonstrates critical thinking to kids who are trying to learn about the world? After all, most high schoolers get their views at home and if they're hateful, it's our fault. Thanks, Ms. Pensack, for speaking up.

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Steve Lewis 5 years, 11 months ago

A good letter. Thanks.

I only had my yard sign cut up. A second visit to deface signs in my yard would have been more disturbing.

The division is bad for us all. Post election it will still be hard to talk about the issues because of this static. I think the worst that has shown up in the campaign rallies actually imports the anger that is being incited elswhere, such as on "hate radio". Bill Moyer did a very interesting piece on that:

http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/09122008/profile.html

Unfortunately there is $$ in selling simplistic bias, as Neil noted.

The Pilot helped our local conversation by changing the policies of this site. Anonymity is invitation to irresponsibility, a lesson I learned about myself during the 07 city council campaigns. The new policy lets us have a compromise that seems to be working well.

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Terry Noble 5 years, 11 months ago

It is so good to see some civilization and hope for us all. I hope the guilty parties read this and felt the shame they cast upon themselves.

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