Readers React: Think we’re more politically polarized than ever? Then you don’t know about Jefferson and Adams

People hold signs while waiting for President Trump to speak at a campaign rally for South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster in West Columbia, S.C., on Monday.
(Richard Shiro / Associated Press)

To the editor: This idea that partisan politics is so much more toxic than ever before flies in the face of American history.

John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, two highly intelligent and enlightened men, brutally feuded for years and spoiled a tremendous friendship in the same name of partisan politics and philosophical differences. The history of our republic is full of many more periods of strife over politics rather than times of peaceful coexistence.

Our constitutional republic was structured as a nonstop contest of political ideas. It is a bit naive, based on this structure and original design, to decry passionate expression of diverse ideas. What made and continues to make America great is the merit-based system that prizes the best ideas and allows for them to be contested in perpetuity.


When this passionate clash of ideas is extinguished, so will America’s greatness be extinguished.

William David Stone, Beverly Hills


To the editor: Columnist Jonah Goldberg addresses the differing public reactions to the 2011 shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the 2017 shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise. He observes that in 2017 there were fewer calls for civility and fewer warnings about violent rhetoric than there were in 2011.

One reason for this disparity is obvious to him: Giffords is a Democrat, and Scalise is a Republican.

Nonsense. The main difference between the two is that Giffords is an outspoken proponent of gun control laws, and Scalise continues to oppose gun control even after he was gravely wounded. Additionally, because of the proliferation of gun violence, we are more desensitized to it now than we were seven years ago. That is part of the tragedy.

It’s easy to make this about Democrats and Republicans, but it is disingenuous and untruthful.


Richard Shafarman, Santa Clarita


To the editor: Goldberg’s column is well written and dead on. Whose is the voice that will recognize all views and bring us all together at the table to solve our issues?

Including President Obama’s quote about talking to each other in a way that heals instead of divides was perfect.

Wayne Pearl, Westlake Village

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