Joseph Cadette: Conversation breakdown widens chasm between left and right

  • Birds fly around the Peace Monument, Friday, Jan. 8, on Capitol Hill in Washington. AP

Published: 1/12/2021 11:27:25 AM

The group of opinion letters in the Jan. 8 Gazette about the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol is understandable, but the letter by Robert G. Traynor (“Shut up and admit you were wrong”) is exactly why most on the right will not “sit down, shut up, and admit they were wrong.”

Just the mention of it is in and of itself informally demanded censorship! The issues between us run far deeper and for far too long than the generic belief from the left that all 74 million people on the right who voted for Donald Trump espouse exactly and only the tenets of white supremacy. For that matter, to believe that “only” white Americans are among the 74 million is ludicrously incorrect and biased. That not one person Native American, Asian, Black or Latino had even considered or voted on the right shows extreme myopia to even beginning to understand real or perceived differences between us.

As I point this fact out, there will already be those who will look to find the exact statistics of just how wrong I am, or to show the numbers are too insignificant to be of value, as well as perhaps another flurry of articles berating me for having the audacity to write this (our modern day version of The Villagers coming to my door with pitchforks and torches).

I find it revealing that Traynor points out that the Gazette “occasionally published letters and op-ed pieces from Trump supporters,” almost as if they did so as a token favor and occasionally as if there is not a consistent support here in The Happy Valley for the right. There are no winners in this. We are all losers in this nationwide chasmic separation . Any continued judgment and demands for silence of any and all opinions will only serve to widen that gap and deepen that chasm.

Along with that widening gap, understanding will continue to be the real fatality and at its core, our nation.

There are many reasons for our divide. Among those are disenfranchisement from both sides, but for varying reasons; First and Second Amendment rights, and abortion issues, too only name a few.

In spite of the tragedy of last week’s events (or perhaps even because of it), it would serve us all well to remember that our freedoms of expression don’t end where someone’s righteous anger begins. If that expression isn’t released through sincere conversation, it will find another way. That goes for all of us! It’s not even a stretch to assume more events like last Wednesday are only more probable from either side, as lack of real conversation breaks down further .

You cannot legislate or demand change from long-standing deeply held beliefs or sequester the opinions you dislike, they will only go underground. The more you demand silence, the more you will hear. The path may be painful and long, but it must be inclusive to all.

I voted right in this election, different from other elections, but it is important to know that these and other issues have been tenets of my belief for many years longer than when “The Donald” ran with the Republican ticket. This is not intended to distance myself, but to point out many of these concerns are long-standing, deeply felt existential, as well as moral, beliefs.

You can disagree with my believes, even point out their flaws or biases (perceived or real), but until we learn to listen to and take one another more seriously, we are only doomed to continue down the same dangerous and tragic path.

May 2021 truly be a happier year for all of us, and may God truly bless us.

Joseph Cadette lives in Northampton.

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