The week of July 8-15 saw at least two good op-eds published on the need for civility in our public conversations. The first was Jim Fossel’s column in the July 8 Maine Sunday Telegram: “A gentle reminder: Civility matters in politics, life.” The second, five days later in The (Belfast) Republican Journal, came from columnist Tom Seymour: “Uncivil discourse a growing menace.”

Put these two pieces side by side and look at the differences. Fossel gives us a basis for thinking more deeply about the need for – and threats to – more civility, whatever our political orientation. Seymour lays most of his blame for the mean and nasty nature of public discussions on “the left” and spends the bulk of his argument trying to scare his readers with dire warnings about “the Democrat Socialists of America.”

Fossel’s piece is helpful. Seymour’s is not.

Andrew E. Stevenson


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