Readers React: What’s the point of civil discourse when one side refuses to accept the truth?

Trump supporters argue with protesters decrying the administration's immigration and refugee policies on June 30 in Los Angeles.
(David McNew / Getty Images)

To the editor: I appreciate your July 4 editorial’s point that when the people stop arguing, that’s when the trouble begins in a democracy. The arguments that we have been having are ages old and will not leave the public sphere. That’s why the three branches of government and the Fourth Estate were all part of our founding.

But we don’t have argument anymore; we have dogmatic opposition instead. An article printed in the same day’s paper as this editorial reported that the Senate Intelligence Committee analyzed the facts of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and came to an entirely different conclusion than its House counterpart. One body is right, and one is wrong.

Truth is in peril, and many in the country are tired of having to deal with this kind of dogmatism. Many are ready to abandon democracy in favor of a strong leader who will make all the decisions.


Is this like the lead-up to the crossing of the Rubicon? Will the republic cease to exist, and are we now seeing the rise of dictatorship?

James Severtson, Reseda


To the editor: I understand we all want to be civil in our political discussions. However, history and decency sometimes lead us in other directions. Tertullian, an early church father from third century Carthage, famously said: “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.”

We fought a bloody civil war to erase the horrible effects of slavery, and we continue to have massive dislocations because of it. The Civil War was justified and right.

At times we must feel free to criticize ignorance, hatred and acts such as separating children from their parents seeking asylum. The attitudes behind these actions must be challenged as inhumane and sociologically ignorant.

There are principles for which we go beyond civil discourse.

Ralph Mitchell, Monterey Park


To the editor: This editorial tells us that when political discussion is no longer worth it, when people stop arguing, trouble begins.

Look at the climate of polarization today. The news media are no longer just the news. Comedy is no longer comedy, it’s political commentary. Celebrities like Kathy Griffin, Samantha Bee, Robert De Niro and Peter Fonda cross the line but are greeted with winks rather than repudiation.

What are the effects of this polarization? Imagine what would happen to someone who wore a “Make America Great Again” cap in public or what would happen to a car that had a pro-Trump bumper sticker. What effect does this have on political discussion?

The Republicans I know have gone underground. They don’t talk about politics in public anymore. Political discussion is no longer worth it and, as The Times Editorial Board predicts, the troubles begin.

Bill Gravlin, Rancho Palos Verdes


To the editor: When the “pluribus” become an “unum” of evil, I certainly am not going to hang together with my fellow “good Germans,” much less their leader.

It’s an option I hope I never have to exercise.

Paul L. DuNard Jr., Cypress


To the editor: What an outstanding editorial on the need for civil discourse to maintain American democracy. It brought tears to my eyes.

It should be read by every living, breathing soul in America.

I hope all Americans were able to celebrate our nation’s birth. May our country live forever.

Charles Van Cleve, Tehachapi

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