Guest editorial: We don’t have to always agree, but Park City should be a place of tolerance
Three Cheers to Jonathan Mount for his recent guest editorial calling out the bullies of our town who would shout him down, or have even physically assaulted him, for expressing a viewpoint differing from their own. Bless him for standing up to defend his mother from those who would deny her the right to her own viewpoint even though, I’m certain, the two of them do not agree in everything. He is mature beyond his years and exemplifies good citizenship in action.
I have not met Jonathan but he restores my faith for the future of our nation. If I were to meet him, I know that we would not share a lot of the same values and beliefs, but I do know that we could have a discussion about things important to us, probably agree to disagree, and perhaps even become friends in spite of our differing viewpoints. How do I know this? Because he has consistently stressed areas of common interest with others. He has defended freedom of speech, talked of civility and has not stooped to condemning his detractors for their ideas, only for their intolerance.
Our community is currently involved in a heated argument over an education program addressing bullying itself. Why do we even need a program to educate school children about bullying? In my family, we were taught to be kind, considerate, respectful and tolerant even to those we disagreed with or did not care for. Basic manners – how to get along with large numbers of diverse people in our melting pot nation. If children were taught those correct behaviors in their homes by their parents, who seem to have abrogated that responsibility to the school system, then we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. Perhaps we really need a course in responsibility and good manners for the “adults” of this community, so that we don’t have any more parents fighting at kid’s soccer matches, anonymous cyber-bullying or physical assaults over group affiliations.
Our founding fathers, the 55 framers of the Constitution of the United States, formed our government by locking themselves in a room and talking through their ideas and differences until they came to a consensus. Was it perfect? No, but there was something for everyone and the basis for further conversations to correct its flaws. Our nation has evolved and survived, until recently, through statesmanship and debate on the floor of Congress, and through discussions among citizens in town squares, all looking for common ground.
In our modern day of identity politics and cancel-culture, too many of us, those who were taught to be civil, allow ourselves to be shouted down for our opinions by having labels and names attached to us. Thank you Mr. Mount for being adult enough to stand up for what you believe in, to stand up for others, so that they too can share in the democratic experience, and for reminding the rest of us that we shall lose our right to freedom of speech if we allow ourselves to be deterred from exercising that essential privilege.
Will I now become the next person to be trolled and shamed for voicing a contrary opinion? Perhaps, but that is the price of freedom in our country today. Thank you Jonathan for leading the way.
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