Civility, please

I was just reading a weekly market commentary from one of my most respected money managers and he was urging caution. Yet one of my other most-respected managers recently published an article citing numerous reasons why the markets won’t decline anytime soon.

Earlier this morning, one of my more liberal Facebook friends shared how he had “severed a friendship” with his best friend and college roommate (from 30 years ago) because he “could not understand how someone could ever vote for Trump one year ago with the information we knew then.” I am equally certain that many of my right-leaning friends can’t fathom how someone could have not voted for Trump.

It dawned on me that the key concept in both of these examples is “with the information we knew then.” Few Americans actively seek information on both sides of most issues. Instead, we call each other “ignorant” (one of the nicer names I can repeat here) and conflate disagreement with hatred, friendship with unlimited approval.

One of the brightest professors I had in college was David L. Boren — Yale graduate, Rhodes Scholar, governor and U.S. senator from Oklahoma and currently president of the University of Oklahoma. While he was a state representative, he also taught political science at my alma mater.

One day during class, Boren and one of my fellow students debated an issue. After the debate, Boren asked us if we had changed our minds. Being a typical “I-know-more-than-you” student, I vigorously shook my head. To my surprise, my classmate admitted that Boren’s arguments had convinced him to change his mind! My aim since that day has been to listen to more than one opinion.

As we approach the upcoming holidays, I pray that Americans will take some time over the next few weeks to increase their level of tolerance for those with whom they disagree and to be more committed to polite discourse.

Steve Sappington, Co-Founder & Registered Principal, Trinity Wealth Management, Waco

Political backlash

In response to Ms. Case’s Nov. 1 letter, she is horribly off base. The amount of land that’s colored red on an electoral map does not mean that candidate won any sort of fair, democratic vote. Donald Trump did not win any popular vote.

In most countries, Clinton would have been president. However, due to an archaic and outdated system, we unfortunately received a person whose combination of offensiveness and incompetence has not been seen in any developed country in centuries. Ms. Case may be annoyed by the constant bashing of Trump, but I and many more were disgusted by the GOP’s dog-whistle racism that continued for two terms. President Obama clearly received political backlash because he was African-American. President Trump now receives it because he is vile.

Jim Ernst, Waco