Civility is not dead! And more good news


No problem has caused more trouble in this country in the past 50 years than that of abortion. Let’s face it, the stakes couldn’t be higher. Some opponents of abortion consider it murder. They call their movement “pro-life”. And who can dispute being pro-life? Others do not regard abortion as murder and rather frame it as a matter of a woman’s right to her own body. They call their movement “pro-choice”. And what freedom-loving American isn’t pro-choice?

Today’s media and political climate is not conducive to a reasonable discussion of even less important issues, much less those that have the immense moral and ethical implications of abortion. Urged on by flamethrower politicians, news commentators and social media trolls, the average citizen is encouraged to demonize those they disagree with rather than engage in thoughtful dialogue. Something like, “Democrats want to kill the voiceless. Or again: “The Republicans want to plunge women back into the dark age of clandestine abortions.

Rising above this horrific cesspool of venom, two recent essays have articulated positions on the issue of abortion while expressing a reasonable understanding of opposing views. Suzette Hackney’s guest essay appeared in the Daily Messenger on December 4. Ms. Hackney is pro-choice and in her essay, she explains why. She also gives space for the opinions of people who disagree with her. She does not describe them as ignorant or monstrous. And because of this, a reader of any opinion is more inclined to respect their essay.

On the same day, Peggy Noonan’s opinion piece was published in the Wall Street Journal. His essay focuses on the Roe v. Wade of the 1973 Supreme Court which established a constitutional right to abortion. Clearly, Ms Noonan is among those who consider this decision to be deeply flawed. And she argues that in dealing with a case now before it (Dobbs v. Women’s Health Organization), the court has an opportunity, inconvenient as it may be, to correct a flawed precedent. The essay is measured in tone, presenting opinions contrary to her own without demeaning those with whom she disagrees. She concludes with this mark of respect for the reader: “If you want to understand Roe better before the decision comes, read it.

On December 5, the Daily Messenger ran an editorial for the USA Today Editorial Board. The point of the editorial was that the United States needs to play a leadership role in ensuring that all regions of the world receive enough COVID-19 vaccines. What I found unusually refreshing was that the editorial didn’t turn into a political rant. He advocated a course of action without unnecessarily alienating half the public. In fact, he pointed to an already existing action plan “created under George W. Bush and re-authorized under Barack Obama and Donald Trump”. When was the last time you heard from the media about the reassuring reality that George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump offered more continuity in the exercise of government than we generally think?

We could all be encouraged by the above reminders that we can have differences without hating each other. That editorial pages can be informative without being inflammatory.

The news from Geneva (New York rather than Switzerland) is also encouraging, according to which strong citizen opposition persuaded the Geneva Industrial Development Agency (yes, Geneva has its own IDA) to defer its vote on a “tax incentive. “of $ 8 million. »Package for a seaside resort project. The “incentive” appears to be similar to that given to our own Lake House by the Ontario County Industrial Development Agency. The inquisitive taxpayer notes the irony of the developers of Lake’s Edge Seneca citing the tax breaks from Canandaigua (for the Canandaigua-Finger Lakes Resort and the Lake House) as a rationale for their need for a cornucopia of tax breaks.

I guess even though two wrongs don’t do one good, three wrongs can. As you may remember, the developers at Lake House have made a commitment not to ask for public money; However, when the Canandaigua Finger-Lakes Resort received its giveaway (wrong number 1), they claimed they deserved a comparable price in order to maintain “a level playing field”. Going back on their commitment, they obtained their tax relief (error n ° 2). Working logically, or perhaps illogically, from these two wrongs, a third now wants to enter. Sure ! But when will the rules of the game be leveled for all restaurants, guesthouses and other local traders in Geneva and Canandaigua? And when is that leveled for the often hard-pressed homeowner whose tax payments subsidize these profitable, non-essential tax breaks for wealthy developers?

In any case, so much the better for the Genevans who took the floor, and so much the better for the IDA of Geneva (I reserve the right to withdraw this bravo) for having listened.

Overall, it’s heartening to remember that we can disagree on issues without throwing verbal grenades. Encouraging to see concerned citizens speaking out on local issues. It may be that the calm can drown aloud. This reason can replace personal attacks. That the citizen who takes the time to ask “What is going on here? can see his voice is heard. Lots of good news in this season to believe.

Joe Nacca of Canandaigua is a frequent contributor to Daily Messenger.


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