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By Lacey Gardner

Column: Don’t forget that opposing views are essential to maintaining a democratic republic


You can’t think critically without understanding other perspectives

By Andrew Harris, pictured is Socrates

One of the goals of the Sun has always been to provide a platform for as many ideas as possible. I don’t think we have ever rejected a column, opinion, feature, or letter to the editor on the merits.

Why would we?

The best diet for the brain is diversity, and the lack of is arguably the downfall of our entire media/news world. The last thing we want is to be labeled like FOX, or CNN, or even the New York Times as right, blue, conservative, left, red, liberal, Democrat, or Republican. If we are anything, we want to be considered purple.

In 2023, most Americans still consider themselves independent, or at least moderate in their political views. To maintain that position in the middle requires being educated by the fringe elements, to be able to understand the whole picture. We all know folks caught in a bubble, they only watch MSNBC or NewsMax, and they come away with a warped perspective: “The sky is falling!!”

If you think liberals or conservatives are ruining the country, you are falling for a marketing swindel.

If you think that drag queens or second amendment supporters are ruining the country, you need to diversify your media diet. You are being manipulated for the sake of profit, not politics.

A recent column by an admittedly right-of-center Bob Lonsberry took umbrage with drag queens and put his commentary into a religious context. Bob is a proud member of the Church of Latter Days Saints and a veteran journalist.

Even if you think Bob is way off the edge of reality, reading his perspective should be valuable, especially if it makes you upset. How do you refine and improve your own positions and beliefs without understanding those who differ?

You can’t. You can only reinforce, recycle, and solidify your personal “platform.” This cycle leads to extremism, an abandonment of pragmatism, and political tribalism.

As clearly witnessed by anyone who bothers to pay attention, that tribalism extends past politics. I’m sure you’ve had friends, family, co-workers who assume you aren’t on the same team because you voted for Trump, or you are a member of the Democratic Party.

Nothing could be more “un-American.”

If you love the idea of a democratic republic, you should embrace the opposition whenever possible. The entire idea of the United States of America depends on the notion of engaging the opposite perspective in Socratic debate.

Our failure embrace and engage and respect the opposition is a true danger to our country and soceity.

The best analogy I’ve found is a sharp knife. You need to maintain that blade or a cleaver becomes a butter knife.

“Hard-core” Republicans and Democrats have become a butter knife. They stopped using the opposition, the friction of the stone, to maintain an edge. Without that efficiency of a sharp blade, neither can get the job done. The term “hack job” comes to mind.

Regardless of your opinions or positions or tribe, you need the other side. You can’t use the vital process of “critical thinking” unless you have all the information.

None of us can employ critical thinking unless we have the full spectrum of information and opinions. The founders of this country created a system based on a process which demanded debate and compromise. They understood, like Socrates did long before them, that ideas without opposing ideas are destined to fail.

Readers of the Sun should expect, rather demand, a diversity of ideas, ideologies, and perspectives. We will not refuse to publish an opinion or news story just because it presents a popular or unpopular position.

We hope you will read it all, sharpen your “knife,” and grow to appreciate that which you totally disagree with.

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