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Letter: Take time to engage people with opposite viewpoints

Take time to engage people with opposite viewpoints

Election season makes me argumentative, and I tend to butt heads with people close to me. My grandmother, the late Thelma Jenkins, was a frequent submitter of letters to the editor.

At age 93, she was sharp and fiercely opinionated. Thelma wrote to the editor about her distrust of Hillary Clinton, her doubts about President Barack Obama’s national allegiance and her diehard support of Catholic leaders. Her contributions were united by strong conservative beliefs and traditional values.

By contrast, I am a liberal, gay atheist who sees health care as a human right and believes we should welcome immigrants to the best of our ability.

Nearly every time we spoke, my grandmother and I acknowledged the vast divide in our ideals.

Differences may never be reconciled, but it is incredibly important to engage with family about the issues that compel us and shape our world. It is everyone’s loss when people who love each other stop debating these issues, particularly when their views are so divergent.

When people who understand climate science stop talking to those who don’t, we all lose. When people who see rampant racial injustice cease to identify and explain it to those who don’t see it yet, we all lose. When women stop explaining to the men in their lives why they still feel unequal, we all lose.

Take time to discuss political issues with your loved ones, even when it feels like a lost cause. The value is in keeping our minds open to better understanding.

Colleen Roberts


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