Letter to the Editor RTSA

Restore honesty and integrity in social discourse

Tracking federal, state, and local issues has been a deep dive into intolerance, lies and ugly behavior.

While there’s overwhelming support for free and fair elections and the right to vote without restriction, where every vote and voter counts, there’s a vocal and violent minority with jaw-dropping rants and open threats. We’ve seen divisive tactics in Washington, Minnesota, and in Red Wing. Some cast aspersions on our election system, on those we elected to represent us, and use destructive disinformation campaigns to inflame politics to a war zone, which threatens democracy’s foundation.

We’ve seen declarations of “fraud” without evidence, storming the Capitol to prevent election certification, insufficient recall attempts, driving donuts middle-finger-raised on the state Capitol lawn, filing bogus lawsuits to overturn elections, flags and memes with unprintable language, branding of immigrants and refugees as terrorists and criminals, claims that racism doesn’t exist, and declaring COVID a hoax and rebuking public officials about vaccination, masking and virtual meetings in a pandemic.

That’s not “free speech.” It’s irresponsible, at best misinformed, and at worst, insurrection, sedition, the actions of traitors. Challenging this orchestrated and cultivated effort isn’t easy, but each of us must act when we encounter it, because it cannot stand the light of scrutiny.

Calling out this behavior is often deemed “bullying” by gaslighters and distractivists, invoking threats, a clue that critique is on target. This ugliness may cause some to throw up their hands in despair, but instead, we need to dig in.

The overwhelming majority believes in our democratic republic, supports free and fair elections, and voter access. All votes and voters count. The overwhelming majority rejects efforts to disenfranchise voters by limiting access or overturning elections. We must recognize stand up and support our democracy. We’re at a critical time in history, and we all have work to do.

We need to preserve our democracy before it slips further into apathy and disfunction by paying attention and standing up. We need societal education in the basics of principled argument, discernment of facts, and logical thought, and we need to see and disarm rhetorical traps.

We need to restore the basic concepts of honesty, intellectual rigor, critical thinking and integrity to social discourse.

Carol Overland

Red Wing

(1) comment

Joan Halgren

Carol, you make good points. Americans must look inside their hearts and decide: do I want to live under a thriving democracy or authoritarian rule.

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