If our children behaved privately like our politicians behave publicly, I would imagine many would run the risk of violating school district policies against bullying. Bullying is all about exerting power or influence at the expense of another. This is exactly what we see every day in the unfettered bickering of politicians.
One might argue that political candidates share information about their opponents as a civic duty, so that the voting public can make informed choices.
If it were only a matter of sharing factual public information, then why would fact-check organizations be needed to determine who is telling the truth, partial truths or “pants on fire” tales? These political strategies are not much different from the social media character assassinations conducted by teens who want to beat down their opponents.
Bullying should be connected to the behavior of people we elect to public office. I am waiting for stricter anti-bullying legislation to go into effect, and for a noble lawyer to charge a high-profile politician and his or her election campaign team under these new laws.
Letters to the editor
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Rick Varner; Catonsville, Md.
Parents are responsible for kids
With all the headlines about how to solve the bullying problem, I would like to suggest a solution. Let’s assign responsibility where it belongs: the parents!
Poor parenting is often the root cause of bullying. Until the bully turns 18, let the parent share the legal responsibility. This would be a sure way to focus the attention where it is most needed.
Knowing that they will eventually be held responsible for the behavior of their children might motivate parents to do a better job in raising more tolerant children.
David M. Lipkin; Pittsburgh
Embrace respectful debate
The lack of civility in public discourse in the United States is increasing the polarization of its leaders and people. We are failing as a country to listen with respect, understand others’ views, analyze and formulate constructive responses.
Sharp opinions and propaganda are not new in political rhetoric. However, today the methods to spread and promote divisive dialog have increased tremendously through media such as Facebook, Twitter, TV, radio and YouTube.
Many politicians are so concerned about promoting their own agendas that they feel a need to vilify and belittle their opposition, creating animosity on both sides of the debate. There may come a time when this country and its leaders will need to pull together rapidly and decisively, but they’ll fail because of the crippling foundation of resentment that has been laid through an enduring lack of civility.
I call for a conscientious effort on the part of all politicians, pundits and the general public to embrace the fundamentals of respectful debate, promote civility and preserve amicable working relationships. They should agree to disagree when necessary, so that we can work together to solve the major issues of our day.
Paul Hauwiller; Arcanum, Ohio