Letter to the Editor: Self-reflection needed in today’s politics

Self-reflection is a tough pill to swallow. Pausing to take notice of your actions and the perspective that drives these actions can be a difficult chore. I know for myself, self-reflection is especially difficult regarding the political positions in which I feel strongly.

However, our American society is dependent upon this moment of self-evaluation in our discourse. We must all tame the tempers that run rampant in political discussions to preserve the founding American principle of respect.

My name is Matthew Hesterman, and I am from Magnolia, currently a freshman at the University of Nevada- Las Vegas. Recently, on Nov. 4, I wrote a letter to the editor titled “Respect is missing from the political discourse of the left.” In this letter, I shared my observations of the lack of respect that is exuded by a vast majority of those on the left, most especially in the age of President Trump.

On Nov. 11, Steve Caporiccio of Magnolia responded to this letter (“How soon they forget”) along with Elaine Straughn of Harrington on Nov. 14 (“Earning respect should start with President Trump”).

Ms. Straughn shared her many criticisms of President Trump. As I stated in my first letter, respect is lacking from both sides of the political spectrum. As a conservative, there are times that I get angered at the level of respect that President Trump exudes to his fellow public servants. The instances of disrespect that were listed by Ms. Straughn are most likely correct. These actions of disrespect are just as toxic to our political system and should have no presence in our American society.

However, these are the same instances of disrespect that are consistently aired by a liberal-dominated cable news industry. The American public, most specifically the everyday Delawarean, is not afforded the opportunity to hear the other side of the story. My ultimate purpose in the first letter was to highlight the same level of disrespect that so many on the left display in their response to President Trump.

Now, I assume the liberal-minded observer reads this and thinks “Whatever I may say about President Trump or any conservative cannot be comparable to the words President Trump speaks (or tweets),” however this reactionary way of thinking is just as dangerous to our political system. Opposition to a boisterous President Trump does not give the left carte blanche to act in whatever way they please.

While he may act in an unorthodox style that has its apparent moments of shameful disrespect, an entire group — the Democratic party — is consistently responding to the actions of one man. This check of our president is a much-needed practice in our political system, and I would urge the left to continue to do so just as the right would do with President Obama. While there is persistent media scrutiny of our president, there has been almost no check of the blatant disrespect in the responsive actions of the left.

This is what I intended to convey in my first letter. Since oversight of liberal rhetoric is almost nonexistent in contemporary America, I believe everyone should undergo their moment of self-reflection to see what they can do to promote respect in their daily lives. I have conceded many aspects of my argument including negative attributes of President Trump. No such concessions of the left were made through the perspectives of Mr. Carporiccio and Ms. Straughn, a clear indication that the primary purpose of the original letter was lost on these respective individuals.

However, before typing a response letter to this one, I ask the simple favor that each person merely complete this moment of self-reflection. Only until each person is willing to concede the potential wrongdoings of the side of which you identify, can we have a conversation that is meaningful for both mindsets.

One of the greatest fears that the members of my generation face is the apparent inability of previous generations to show respect to the other side. This disheartening practice is widely visible with our governing officials and seen throughout everyday society.

I genuinely hope my generation will not fall victim to the lack of respect that has been perpetuated in our upbringing. And while Ms. Straughn may “forgive” me for being young, I did not need to be around through the “decades of political shenanigans” to understand that respect is currently missing from our political system. Intellect is contingent on one’s experiences, not a numerical value of age.

While Ms. Straughn and others can continue to judge intelligence based on age, I believe the simple message of respect should not be bound to any age, sex, ethnicity or economic standing.

Respect. This fundamental quality needs to be existent everywhere in our American society.

Matthew Hesterman

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