A call for civil debate | AspenTimes.com

A call for civil debate

North Korea’s nukes. Iran’s nukes. Chinese domination of the Western Pacific. Runaway government regulation and spending. Ballooning entitlements and public debt. Immigration. Extra-legal judicial and administrative actions. New Lift 1.

When I boarded the city bus recently and said to a neighbor, “I’m reading Grant’s biography,” guess what he said. Not, “how’s that book?” Not, “what do you think about (insert issue from above)?” Instead he spewed a verbal fusillade at President Trump (who wasn’t on the bus and whom I hadn’t even mentioned). Not about any substantive policy; my neighbor hates the president’s personal conduct.

I know a lot of people in Aspen like my neighbor. They’re (almost) uniformly great people; they’re uniformly politically unproductive. Personal attacks on a president, any president, make the haters feel great. But they’re lazy substitutes for substantive analysis and discussion. They don’t help solve even one of our many policy challenges.

I abhor much of President Trump’s proved and alleged conduct. But it doesn’t affect me personally. His administration’s actions do affect me. I applaud the ones who help me or the country. I criticize those who don’t.

Some locals have figured out it’s more productive to engage in civil, issues-based debate. More should do so.

Maurice Emmer


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