Opinion: Abandoning 3 key principles threatens the soul of the United States

As the tumultuous year of 2023 comes to an end and we look forward to a potentially even more raucous 2024, it seems like a good time to remind ourselves what are the foundations of a functioning society. I call them the three C’s: civility, compassion, compromise. I would argue that, in many corners of this country, we have abandoned those three principles in recent years. What is at stake is the very soul of this nation and what it means to be the “United” States of America. Civility begins and ends with the simple act of treating other people the way in which you would like to be treated. This applies equally to how we act toward one another and how we speak with one another. The anonymity of the internet and the pervasiveness of social media provides the opportunity for people to say things to one another they would never dream of repeating face to face. Anyone who has engaged in a social media discussion on a social, economic or political topic knows only too well how quickly passions flare and civility disappears. Reliance upon echo chamber rants fomented by media personalities overshadow any effort to focus on evidence-based facts. The likes of the late Rush Limbaugh and Donald Trump have normalized personal ad hominem attacks on those with whom they disagree rather than debating the intellectual merits of their respective positions. The “United” in our national identity presumes a common agenda to pursue that which benefits the country as a whole. This cannot be achieved if the civility of the day casts those who disagree with us as enemies of the state rather than sincere intellectual sparring partners. Compassion commands us to put ourselves in another’s shoes and recognize that everyone is carrying some burden, be […]

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By Donato