Don Clement: Listening key to morality

July 22, 2013 

Listening key to morality

Gov. Pat McCrory wants us to have “respectful discourse” about the issues dividing us (“Abortion advocates join ‘Moral Monday’ effort,” July 9 news story). Don’t we all?

Politics today drip with irony. The governor objects that calling the protests “moral” implies that the other side is immoral – this from a member of the party that once called itself the “moral majority.” “Moral Mondays” have gained traction precisely because legislators are unwilling to talk with those who disagree.

If the governor wants respectful discourse, he could start by coaching majority members of the General Assembly, especially those who have labeled protesters “morons.” He also could initiate respectful discourse himself with those who disagree with him.

Honest, respectful debate in politics has become a nonstarter. We’ve elected too many ideologues who think their job is to merely market and impose their viewpoints. Public discussion is just a formality to be tolerated.

Democracy thrives when people trust that differing points of view receive fair hearings and honest evaluation and that outcomes really can be influenced by debate. When those elected to power have no intention of listening to the other side, it’s fair to ask whether they are acting morally.

Don Clement


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