I confess: I’m unhappy about Susan Collins’ reelection.
But I’m far more distressed by Edgar Allen Beem’s column in the Nov. 18 edition of the Phoenix (The Universal Notebook: Congratulations, Sen. Collins) than I am about Collins’ latest electoral success.
Full disclosure: Bill Green is a neighbor of mine. He’s hard-working, thoughtful, and genuinely kind; in short, the sort of person I want living in my community.
I was disappointed when Green endorsed Collins. But after taking a deep breath (or maybe several deep breaths), it occurred to me that the interests, beliefs, and values Bill and I share are far more significant than a political difference of opinion.
Green and Beem both have the right to free speech. But that shouldn’t include launching personal attacks on anyone, whether it’s over the airwaves, on the Internet, or in print.
Beem is entitled to hold his passionate views. But publicly showering Green (or anyone) with personal insults accomplishes nothing of value; in fact, it merely encourages the sort of divisive tribalism Beem professes to abhor.
When it comes to civility in public discourse, bomb-throwing provocateurs, whether on the left or the right, do far more harm than good.
Andrew D. Young