Letter: Listen, engage and debate

I must admit my jaw hit the deck when I read the headline for cancellation of the Munk Debate [“Federal NDP call for cancellation of Munk Debate,” November 2]. Full disclosure, I am right wing and conservative.

That said, I don't consider myself rabid or far right. I try to treat everyone I meet with respect and consideration, regardless of politics, race or religion. I am not at all religious, but very pro-Jewish, and my children have a mixed-race heritage.

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Before [North Island-Powell River MP Rachel] Blaney goes off the deep end about right wing, fear-mongering voices, I suggest she take a look at the unhinged left. Admittedly, things are not as disturbing in Canada as they are in the United States, but I would agree that things here are progressing in the same direction.

It is not, however, the far right that is engaged in this current “Antifa movement” that has mobs of violent masked thugs destroying property and beating up anyone who disagrees with them. It is not the right that have foaming-at-the-mouth professors in places of indoctrination, sorry, I meant places of education.

To hear calls for cancellation of any civil debate is indeed sad, but also frightening. Have we reached the point in civil discourse, where, instead of discussing issues, we just shut the opposition down, and refuse to even engage?

I do not know Steve Bannon personally, but I do follow US and Canadian politics closely. I see, hear and read of many accusations about him being racist, but on the few occasions I have seen him speak, I have not once seen anything close to racism or hatred.

Regardless of your political stripes, if you call to shut down someone with opposite views, even to and beyond the point of violence, then you are the problem, not them. The Tea Party was portrayed as being hateful and violent by the left-leaning news outlets. Yet not once did I ever see them riot or shut the opposition down, spew hate, or make racist remarks. Heck, they even cleaned up their garbage after each rally they had.

You know, it seems like a big world, but in reality, compared to the cosmos, we are but a tiny speck. We all live on this one planet, and it's all we have. We should take the time to listen, to engage, to debate, and to come to respectful agreement on the issues that face us all.

Because the right does not agree with the left, it does not make them subhuman. I would suggest that those who scream racism and hate, violently punching and kicking their opposition, and shouting them down on every issue they do not agree with are far closer to being subhuman than those people on the right.

Gerry Kirkham
Egmont Street

Copyright © 2018 Powell River Peak

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