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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Common ground

Man, this stuff is getting waaaay beyond tiresome:

BELLINGHAM - A fragmented nation and a fragmented audience for news is making the country more difficult to govern, PBS News Hour co-anchor Jeffrey Brown said during a weekend talk at Western Washington University.

A generation ago, before cable news channels and internet news sources, most people got their news from the same small collection of sources: three major TV networks and a hometown newspaper or two, Brown said. People gathered around their televisions for the assassination of a president, a walk on the moon, and other major events.

"It was an age of mass media news, one audience sharing a common experience," Brown said. "For the most part, the mass audience experienced such things together.

Translation: Members of the center-left commentariat, who once got to dictate the boundaries of that "common experience," dosn't have a monopoly on the conversation any more. They have to put up with all that annoying dissent, with irritating people who dare to have different opinions. And they actually want to express them out loud! The nerve of those fragmenting, gridlocking, roadblocking morons. Why don't they just shut up and listen to the right advice from their betters?

Sorry. Did I say tiresome?

Over the years, I've heard some naive observers of the criminal justice system argue that the goal of everybody in the courtroom should be justice and the search for truth, as if everyone can drop their assigned roles and embark on the same mission. The prosecutor can stop vigorously arguing for the state. The defense counsel can stop singlemindedly defnding his client. The judge can make everybody do what he knows is right instead of simply making them follow the rules of courts. But the end is achieved only by each person exactly fulfilling his assigned duties -- that's the only way to arrive at true justice.

And there's no magic "common ground" we can all achieve it we'd just stop all the arguing. Maybe we could do a better job of presenting cogent arguments and be quicker to recognize when we have bad ones and somebody else has good ones. But it's only through the arguing that we can chip away the lies, find the missing facts and clear up the misapprensions that prevent us from seeing little bits of the truth. Make me defend my arguments, but don't ever tell me to abandon them or even to stay quiet.