Opinion | Closing the Political Divide: Compromise, Don’t Demonize


To the Editor:

Re “My Fellow Republicans Need to Grow Up,” by Bob Inglis (Opinion guest essay, Oct. 3):

We are divided not by ideology but by a deep lack of willingness to consider ideas before party alliances.

I wasn’t paying attention to politics until 2015. But Donald Trump was so outrageous I was shocked into political activism. I speak out often because silence is not an option.

The MAGA followers I encounter on internet political sites call me Communist, Marxist, treasonous and fascist. I find their attitudes loathsome. I blame Mr. Trump’s constant attacks on anyone who speaks out against him — his most virulent and nasty attacks being against Democrats. We have become deeply divided because Mr. Trump models divisive behavior. I fear for our Republic.

But, if I am honest, it is Mr. Trump who has taught me something vital. I must be careful of rejecting someone just because they are on the other side. At least I must be able to define our differences and find our similarities. As a result I may expand my point of view to be richer, more inclusive and balanced. And that is what our system of debate and compromise demands.

Jo Trafford
Portland, Maine

To the Editor:

I appreciate Bob Inglis’s call for Republicans to stop with the mindless vilifying of their Democratic colleagues (and with them the millions of Americans who voted for them), and start engaging on substantive issues that really matter.

Elected Republicans prioritize demonizing and scapegoating and temper tantrums over concern for the challenges of the lived lives of their constituents. Those challenges are shared, to varying degrees, by most Americans. Look for legislative common ground there.

When elected Republicans at all levels of government start noticing the specifics of their constituents’ suffering, and then start using their offices to do something about it — that’s when we’ll know they’ve really grown up.

Jeri Zeder
Lexington, Mass.

To the Editor:

In “Giuliani’s Drinking Is Subplot in Trump Inquiry” (front page, Oct. 5), I was quoted as saying:

“It’s no secret, nor do I do him any favors if I don’t mention that problem, because he has it. … It’s actually one of the saddest things I can think about in politics.”

While I don’t deny the quote — Rudy Giuliani had a drinking problem that he has dealt with, and I believe he is no longer drinking — I also said a lot of good things about Rudy.

He was one of our greatest mayors. He cleaned New York City up and made it livable. He was a national hero during 9/11, when the country needed leadership. He was “America’s Mayor” and beloved by many.

We should also not forget that he was a great U.S. attorney for the Southern District and prosecuted many people who committed heinous crimes.

I have the greatest respect and empathy for this man, who did so much good.

Andrew Stein
New York
The writer is a former president of the New York City Council.

To the Editor:

Re “Prozac Nation, Meet Lexapro Sweatshirts” (Style, nytimes.com, Oct. 2):

I cringed when I read this article about using the names of antidepressants on shirts. I personally think it trivializes the seriousness of depression. Having suffered from manic depression for 50 years now, I don’t see that as reducing the stigma of mental illness. It reflects privilege if anything.

Too many moan about being depressed or anxious, but some of us are battling a chronic illness. And we see no point in publicizing our conditions. We are too busy taking care of ourselves.

Nancy C. Langwiser-Kear
Wellesley, Mass.

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