Political discourse today threatens our security

info@islandpacket.comOctober 4, 2012 

I recently responded to another political "hate e-mail," referring the sender to a nonpartisan resource that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in politics. I felt compelled to respond because the number (and absurdity) of such e-mails has increased as election day approaches.

As a Marine officer, I long ago swore to defend our country from "all enemies, foreign and domestic." I no longer wear the uniform, but I still take that oath seriously, and I believe that the lack of intelligent political discourse (from citizens, members of the media and elected officials from both parties) is the gravest threat to our national security today.

I recall the example set by President Ronald Reagan and Democratic Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill: Their disagreements over the country's direction were often impassioned and sincere, but these political giants recognized and honored their shared humanity. Their political cooperation and personal friendship are a real testament to both men's character and patriotism.

Imagine for a moment that we all stop watching our usual "news" channels and instead turn to C-SPAN and the debates. We could then make informed, intelligent decisions about casting our precious votes Nov. 6.

If enough people stop watching "news" shows that are really opinion pieces (and stop forwarding fictitious e-mails), media outlets and advertisers would eventually realize there's more money to be made in intellectualism than in sensationalism. Sound impossible? Hey, it has to start somewhere. How about here and now?

Roxanne W. Cheney


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