We need to get everyone together by listening and respecting opposing opinions
By Alan DeBoer
How do we fix the growing problems in our society? Recent violence and horror beyond our belief, whether in Ukraine versus Russia or recent shootings in our own country, show growing trends. I will keep asking how we fix the further division we see growing in our country until we get to solutions.
The grand experiment of our country is being torn apart. I recently saw a T-shirt that said “Help Make America Nice Again.” When we think of this, we start to see the problem. Recent political ads attack and distort things in the hope of stealing your vote. Even our President, who ran on bringing us together, discounts the minority party repeatedly. We need to get everyone together by listening and respecting opposing opinions.
Solutions: First, bring mental health providers into all schools and have our CCOs (coordinated care organizations formed several years ago) take over the health clinics. They have the experience to help all of our students and take that responsibility from school employees and educators and let them focus on teaching,
Take the money out of politics: campaign finance reform is pretty simple. Personal checks only with a limit, no corporate money, no union money; political action committees (PACs) must clearly state their top five donors. We can all agree that the money spent is out of control.
Let’s fix Wall Street; our stock market is out of control and has become legal gambling. Manipulating the market is an art, and small investors are being taken for a ride.
Education is not going in the right direction. Schools are separating students by beliefs. We have stopped teaching how to solve problems and suppress independent thinking while having less tolerance for opposing opinions. Shouldn’t we teach how to have a positive conversation while respecting different opinions?
A message to all teachers: Your union is out of control, and before you discount that statement, look at the loss of new teachers from the profession to private education and burnout. Let teachers teach; they are professionals!
Guns? There are so many guns in our society and such strong opinions that we may never be able to control them. The issue makes a lot of money (as with all controversial topics) for both sides. I am not sure they want it to be solved, as people are motivated on both sides, and the donations flow! We need to enforce the laws and work together to solve the problems. We do come back to the original problem, mental health, inclusivity, helping people, and listening.
We have become a very intolerant society with a terrible message to our youth. Let’s turn that into an inclusive one that enables discussion, differences of opinions, and friendship. Our leaders need to work on the big problems and simple, practical solutions while sending a positive message that there is always hope and your future is bright. Please don’t call me a RINO (Republican In Name Only) or, for that matter, call anyone names. Put yourself in their shoes and listen to their thoughts!
Alan DeBoer is a former mayor of Ashland and state senator. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Submit Viewpoints (suggested word length: 500-700 words) by email to email@example.com.