Tone It Down, Please

I echo Patricia Spicer’s recent call for civility in the public discourse on vaccinations (Letters, 1/13). It would be wonderful if this were the norm in all civic dialogue. There are (almost) always reasonable, rational individuals on any side of a debate. A focus on deep listening in order to truly understand the perspective of others, as well as the use of respectful and thoughtful persuasion when you disagree, would go a long way toward advancing a healthy and stable civil society.

I fear where the current norm of ranting and raving is leading our democracy. Is civic life destined to unravel in this way? I hope not. We should ask ourselves what we can do to improve our individual and collective public conversations, and then act upon it. The health and viability of our communities and, by extension, our very democracy may be at stake.

Tom Happy