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LETTER - It is possible to have opposing views without name-calling

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Dear editor,

We are living in a time when our families and communities have been acutely divided by differences of religion, sexuality and politics.

In light of this, I have a couple of questions for the writer of a letter on Feb. 28 (Pseudoscience believers share common characteristics).

First, what is so frightening and/or distasteful about others with different opinions or those that reference other sources, experts or data? Why the need to belittle, mock and marginalize them? Using words like “cranks,” “crankpots” and “nonsense” spreaders sounds like schoolyard vocabulary when we are insecure about our own values or beliefs. If there truly is such an established consensus on some of these issues, among the majority of “rationally” minded citizens, researchers and politicians, surely there is some confidence to be able to discuss differences instead of slurring and slandering fellow humans.

Second, what if there is something to learn from someone with another opinion, some truths from their human journey, possibly not even on the specific topics of argument? Would you be willing to hear another’s experience, in the interest of unity and inclusion?

A couple of years ago our PM committed a strategic and ethical error when he referred to a sizeable group of Canadians as “fringe” and then questioned their right to be “tolerated.” But he underestimated the impact that would have on another, larger but less vocal group who not only supported them but had become less and less accepting of the corruption and hypocrisy in Ottawa.

It’s likely too late for the current federal government to mend its ways and remain a viable administration past the next election. However, we as individuals are not bound by their example. We can take a higher path, especially when it comes to issues we need to solve in order to move forward as a country and, internationally, as a society.

Barak Obama told Americans as he was leaving office in 2017, “…find someone you disagree with and have a conversation with them face to face…” He hoped people might draw closer, not further apart.

What if more Canadians followed that advice?

Dale Peters,