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Carson is right: Let's be civil

Johns Hopkins University

The silver lining in this cloud of controversy regarding Johns Hopkins University and Dr. Benjamin Carson may be that Dr. Carson's eloquence concerning the debacle of political correctness will get our undivided attention ("Dr. Ben Carson steps down as speaker at Hopkins graduation," April 11).

"Someday in the future, it is my hope and prayer that the emphasis on political correctness will decrease and we will start emphasizing rational discussion of differences so we can actually resolve problems and chart a course that is inclusive of everyone," he wrote.

There is a foundation for this principle which is addressed in the preamble of our Constitution: "We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

Before we can sort out important issues and legislative policy regarding guns and taxes, we must address how to maintain civility in our public forums. To ensure a polite dialogue it would be nice, even heavenly, if everyone would stop to consider before speaking (or typing), if their words are contributing to a solution or merely putting "spin" on the messes perpetuated by social and mass media. The opportunities for individual self-expression, and contributions and creative solutions to the problems we face, have never been greater or more critical. Our communities are global, yet we need to accept that we cannot govern the world, we may only govern ourselves.

All forms of bullying and harassment need to be recognized as such and to cease. Name calling and belittling are the tactics of bullies. Cultivating civility will require the collective practice and endorsement of individuals. Through a concerted effort, we can attain and maintain domestic tranquillity to an extent never before realized. There are enough resources for everyone to live well and to live without fear.

Before you dismiss my words as "Pollyanna" or "unrealistic" or "naive," I ask you to consider what our founding fathers intended when they wrote the preamble which so clearly includes the intention to "...promote the general welfare" and to "secure the blessings of liberty."

We need not wait for Armageddon to begin cultivating heaven on Earth. Controversy for the sake of controversy benefits the bullies and it is an extremely powerful change of philosophy and practice that Dr. Carson is advocating. I believe in the power of prayer. I am joining Dr. Carson in praying, "... that the emphasis on political correctness will decrease and we will start emphasizing rational discussion of differences so we can actually resolve problems and chart a course that is inclusive of everyone..,"

And I pray this prayer will become a mantra for us all in order to achieve and to protect the greatness of America and to build a better nation for everyone under God.

Virginia W. Kerr, Chestertown

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