Saturday, April 29, 2017     Volume: 31, Issue: 40
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Should oil companies be allowed to drill off the coast in SLO County?

Who are we to stand in the way of a company's profits? Drill away!
Yes but we should be sensitive to environmental concerns and only allow a few drilling operations.
No. It's environmentally destructive and the costs of a spill would be disastrous for SLO County.
No. I'd hate to see the view from our beaches spoiled by ugly oil platforms.

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New Times / Letter To The Editor

The following article was posted on April 19th, 2017, in the New Times - Volume 31, Issue 39 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from New Times [newtimesslo.com] - Volume 31, Issue 39

Self-reflection

By Donald Merrill - Arroyo Grande

In reading Mr. Fonzi’s latest missive (“When words become weapons,” April 13), I must admit that I totally agree with his premise. Words can result in events spiraling out of control and beget violent confrontations that become worse over time. The political left and right have always been at some level of conflict, but over the last decade or so it has become much worse. Where we once had disagreements over issues, we now demonize the other side. This behavior only creates more problems; it does not solve them.

Since we all engage in some level of self-deception, it may be hard for you, Mr. Fonzi, to believe this, but you are part of this problem and not part of the solution. Both sides, liberals as well as conservatives are just as guilty of this behavior. It perpetuates because of self-deception. Just as others can see our faults better than we can see our own, we can see this behavior in those on the other side of the political divide. But at the same time, we rationalize our own behavior as acceptable because we’re the ones in the right. Think about this. How can it be right, if this behavior leads to more rancor and intransigence on both sides, as it obviously has?

The cure is not to blame the other side exclusively, as this will only perpetuate the problem. If both liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, focus on cleaning up their own house, we just might regain the level of political civility of years gone past. One side cannot shame the other side into changing their behavior, but peer pressure is apt to be more effective if it’s exerted from peers who share the same side of the political divide as yourself, whichever side that is. This country is built upon a great many different cultures and points of view getting along. The hard work our ancestors have put into this endeavor is at risk if we don’t try to be a little more self-reflective and work together, focusing on what worked before. Remember, bipartisanship is not a crime, so let’s not treat it like one and stop demonizing others who think differently than ourselves.